Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Background Mozambique's presidential candidates

Three men are vying for the Mozambican presidency in Wednesday's elections.
FILIPE NYUSI, 55, is the candidate of the Frelimo, the former independence movement which has governed Mozambique since 1975, and which he joined at age 14. The mechanical engineer held managerial-level posts at the national ports and railways authority before being appointed defence minister in 2008.

His critics see him as a weak candidate bent on continuing existing policies. But he has promised to focus on rural development.

AFONSO DHLAKAMA, 61, was a soldier in the Portuguese army during the 1964-74 independence war. He joined the independence movement Frelimo in 1974 and two years later became one of the founders of Renamo, an anti-communist movement backed by white minority regimes in the then Rhodesia and South Africa, which waged a 16-year civil war against the initially Marxist Frelimo.

Dhlakama has lost presidential elections four times, accusing Frelimo of fraud. In 2012, he launched a low-level guerrilla campaign that ended with a peace deal in August. Many Mozambicans hold him responsible for atrocities committed during the civil war. But he has drawn huge crowds during the electoral campaign, apparently benefiting from discontent with Frelimo rule.

DAVIZ SIMANGO, 50, is the son of a former vice-president of Frelimo. He joined Renamo in 1997 and was elected mayor of Beira, Mozambique's second-largest city, in 2003. He founded his own party, Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM), in 2009. Engineer by training, Simango has been elected several times the best mayor in the country by the Professional Management Review of Africa. He has rapidly gained support especially among young people tired of the two traditional parties.


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