Mozambique - Maputo

In Mozambique, A New Player Could Complicate Electoral Landscape

Last week in Mozambique, charismatic politician Venancio Mondlane announced he would run in the presidential and legislative elections with the Democratic Alliance Coalition (CAD). This comes less than one month after he left Renamo, Mozambique’s largest opposition party, after extensive disputes with its leadership. 

In particular, Mondlane feuded with Renamo leader Ossufo Momade, who dismissed Mondlane as his advisor in January. Mondlane was excluded from the party congress in mid-May and disqualified from challenging Momade. 

Mondlane’s departure comes as his popularity grows and Momade’s fades, particularly within the party. Over 100 Renamo military veterans announced their support for Mondlane and demanded that Momade resign. Furthermore, Mondlane is especially popular among the country’s urban youth, who are souring on Momade.

A Fracturing Opposition  

Mondlane’s departure hurts Renamo’s outlook for the October elections. He will likely take a fair number of votes, particularly from young people. Party officials who have lost favor under Momade may also jump ship, further destabilizing an already splintered party.

The Mozambique Democratic Movement is likely also nervous. It followed a similar path to Mondlane, splitting from Renamo and rallying behind a charismatic leader, Daviz Simango. However, claims of nepotism have divided the party since Lutero Simango took over from his dad.

Frelimo and the October Elections

Normally, a fracturing opposition would be great news for a ruling party looking to retain its dominance. Frelimo, however, also has reason to be concerned about Mondlane’s departure and resulting candidacy. 

He can mobilize younger and more educated crowds. Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, his political clout will only grow in the coming years. Should CAD successfully enter the parliament, Mondlane may begin to break up Frelimo’s consolidated power.

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