Oktober 2, 2003

President Chissano warns of Renamo's "Anti-Democracy"

Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has declared that threats made last week by Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former movement Renamo, that he will not allow Frelimo to go on governing after the 2004 elections, reveal his anti-democratic nature. Speaking in the central city of Chimoio, Dhlakama declared that the ruling Frelimo Party "can never be victorious", and that even if "Frelimo steals our votes again, Renamo will form a government, and we're going to govern".

Asked about these remarks at the end of his visit to Tokyo, President Chissano said these were "the statements of an anti-democrat", who wanted to replace the usual rules of democracy. "You can't know in advance the outcome of elections that haven't taken place", said Chissano. "At the most, you can hope that you're going to win, but you can never have absolute certainty, as Dhlakama and his party have been claiming. Only the electoral bodies, and in this case the observers, can determine who will be the winner once the electorate has cast its votes". "You don't know who's won in advance", insisted the President. "That's why I say these statements are simply anti- democratic".

Dhlakama had cited approvingly the conflict in Madagascar, when the country was split in two and there were briefly two rival governments. Chissano retorted that "what happened in Madagascar is not something that you can wish happens to a country. It's something that resulted in unnecessary death and destruction, which we in Mozambique should avoid at all costs". Chissano expressed his surprise at Renamo's insistent allegations that its opponents are committed fraud. He did not understand how Dhlakama "always sees fraud in elections that have not yet been held".

In a separate development, Raul Domingos, the former head of the parliamentary group of Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, who was expelled from that party in 2000, announced on Wednesday, Oct 1, in Maputo that he is to lead a new party that will pursue centre-right policies. Domingos expected the meeting to be attended by about 120 delegates and 100 guests, including politicians, religious and traditional leaders, and business people.

No name for the party has yet been announced. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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