Mozambique’s ruling party chooses new leaderMon, 06 May 2024 10:51:59 GMT

Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo party has chosen a relatively unknown regional governor, Daniel Chapo, as its new leader making him the successor to President Filipe Nyusi if the party wins this year’s elections.Frelimo’s central committee elected Chapo over three other internal candidates, in a surprise move late on Sunday that followed three days of intense wrangling, a high number of spoiled ballot papers and the withdrawal of his closest rival.Chapo, a former academic and journalist, has been governor of the central province of Inhambane since 2016. At 47, he is presented by Frelimo as a youthful candidate who could attract young voters to the party, which has been in power for nearly five decades.His election as Frelimo leader follows an internal struggle between factions of the party, notably between supporters of Nyusi and those of his predecessor as president and party leader, Armando Guebuza.”With the election of its candidate for president, Frelimo took an important step to prepare for victory in the October elections,” Nyusi said on Sunday night at the end of an extraordinary party congress near the capital Maputo.Frelimo has won every national election since the end of the war for independence from Portugal in 1975 and also controls a large majority of local authorities.The main opposition party, Renamo, accuses it of rigging recent national and local elections.- Youth vote -Nyusi, 65, is prevented by the constitution from seeking a third term when Mozambicans vote on October 9 to choose their president, parliament and provincial authorities.On Sunday, the president urged the divided Frelimo to “give Daniel Chapo all our support”, after an internal election that saw Chapo’s closest rival, Roque Silva, withdraw from the race at the last minute and resign from his post as Frelimo secretary general.Chapo won with 225 votes out of 240 in the second round of voting after initially garnering 103 votes in the first round.The former political science lecturer and radio presenter, who has a law degree, is the first Frelimo presidential candidate to be born after the southern Africa gained independence from Portugal in 1975.All four presidents since 1975 have been Frelimo veterans of the independence struggle.The party congress was marked by reports of party infighting and disagreements.Silva, rumoured to be Nyusi’s preferred candidate, resigned from his position during the debates after failing to garner sufficient votes. Speaking to reporters after his election on Sunday, Chapo pledged to be a unity candidate.  “We will work… with all layers of society — young people, women, men and war veterans,” he said. – Disputed election results -Frelimo’s landslide victory in the last general election in 2019 was contested by the largest opposition party, Renamo, a former rebel group. After independence, Renamo and Frelimo fought a civil war from 1977 to 1992 that devastated the Mozambican economy and left almost one million people dead.In October, at least two people were killed in protests over the results of local elections, which saw police open fire on demonstrators in several cities.Renamo called the protests after Frelimo was declared the winner in 64 of 65 local authorities.Mozambique ranks seventh from bottom on the 191-country human development index compiled by the United Nations Development Programme.It had high hopes for vast natural gas deposits — the largest found south of the Sahara — that were discovered in northern Cabo Delgado province in 2010. But an insurgency waged by militants linked to the Islamic State group in the region has stalled progress.