Building vibrant and tolerant democracies
FRELIMO is not used to losing elections but it will have to get used to the feeling if this week's by-elections are anything to go by.
On December 7th, three by-elections were held in Cuamba, Pemba and Quelimane municipalities. While Mozambique's ruling party managed to hold on to Cuamba and Pemba municipalities, FRELIMO lost control of the crucial Quelimane municipality to the new Movimento Democratico de Mocambique (MDM – Democratic Movement of Mozambique), which has now firmly established itself as the third force in Mozambican politics.
Quelimane is the fourth largest city in Mozambique and had been run by FRELIMO since 1998, when local elections were first introduced in Mozambique.
MDM fielded a former Amnesty International human rights officer, Dr Manuel de Araujo as its candidate. He won with 62 percent of the vote.
FRELIMO will have a lot to consider now that the voters have spoken. Despite using its financial and political muscle, including access to state apparatus and media, the ruling party failed to lure young voters who identified themselves with Araujo - and his simple message of hope, change and progress.
Mozambique has 43 municipalities. Until this week, FRELIMO ran all of them bar one. But now it finds itself out of office in two of the four biggest cities in the country - Beira, which is the second largest municipality and is run by MDM’s President Davis Simango, and Quelimane.ShareThis