Quelimane mayor not invited to meeting of Renamo national council

Quelimane mayor not invited to meeting of Renamo national council
Quelimane mayor not invited to meeting of Renamo national council

Africa-Press – Mozambique. The mayor of the central Mozambican city of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo, said on Thursday that he has not received a formal invitation to attend the meeting of the National Council of the country’s main opposition party, Renamo, scheduled for Sunday, even though he is a member of the Council.

Speaking to AIM on Thursday in the northern city of Pemba, where he is attending a National Meeting of Municipalities, Araujo said that he was surprised not to have received any invitation, even though the meeting was only three days away.

The National Council is the body that prepares the Renamo Congress (scheduled for14-15 May), and should draw up the profile of the party’s candidate for the presidential election of 9 October.

“I think it is strange that, as a member of the National Council, I have not yet formally received an invitation”, said Araujo. But he was prepared to give the organisers of the meeting the benefit of the doubt, believing that the lack of an invitation was just a bureaucratic oversight.

But he warned that, with or without an invitation, “I shall go to this meeting, because I have the right to attend. I was elected by the Congress (in 2019)”.

Araujo added that, if he does not receive any correspondence related to the meeting in the next 24 hours, he would contact the Chairperson of the Board of the National Council to demand an explanation.

“I have the phone number of the chairperson, and I shall phone him on Friday to ask why I have not yet received the invitation”, said Araujo.

He did not exclude the possibility of running for the President of Renamo, a position elected at the Congress. Whoever becomes leader of Renamo will almost certainly be the party’s candidate in the October presidential election.

“If there is a group of citizen who think I am the right person, then we shall see”, said Araujo. “We shall go to the National Council which will define the profile of candidate for President of Renamo. If I fit that profile, then I can stand. But if not, life goes on”.

So far four people have declared that they are candidates for the Renamo presidency. One is the current leader, Ossufo Momade, who wants a second five year term of office.

His leading challenger is Venancio Mondlane, who was Renamo candidate for Mayor of Maputo in last year’s municipal elections. Two people whom Momade defeated at the 2019 Congress say they will stand again. They are Elias Dhlakama, brother of the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, and Juliano Picardo, a former Renamo parliamentary deputy who is a member of the Council of State, a body that advises the President of the Republic.

Asked about whether he supports Venancio Mondlane’s tactic of using the courts against the Renamo leadership, Araujo said he thought it was a mistake. Mondlane took out an injunction against Momade for his failure to convene a congress when his term of office expired on 17 January. Quite possibly it was this injunction that pushed the Renamo leadership into setting a date for the May Congress.

Mondlane has now taken out a further injunction, accusing Momade of violating the Renamo statutes by not respecting the period of 15 days between calling and holding the National Council meeting.

Araujo thought this was a bad idea. “From the legal point of view, any member can seek an injunction”, he said. “But from the political point of view, I disagree, because we have to start with our own internal bodies, and only if we are not satisfied, resort to other bodies”.

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