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Battle looms over Frelimo presidential vote

This weekend’s Central Committee meeting will see a fight over how open the party’s selection of its presidential candidate will be

Today’s front pages in Maputo. Photo © Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good afternoon. A podcast to be recorded by the NGO the Centre for Public Integrity, discussing ruling party Frelimo’s upcoming selection of its presidential candidate, talks about the “mystery of the preliminary candidates”. They are not wrong. Less than three months remain before the deadline for political parties to submit their chosen candidates for October’s presidential election, yet it remains completely unclear who is going to be on Frelimo’s shortlist and how the candidates will be shortlisted. The final candidate needs to be elected by Frelimo’s Central Committee; that much is clear. But there are only two committee meetings left between now and the June deadline, and the vote will need to take place at the second meeting, in May. Thus this weekend’s committee meeting is the last chance that Frelimo rank-and-file activists will have to influence how the names for the shortlist are chosen before they can vote. Developments this week suggest that they may get their chance.

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Today’s front pages in Maputo. Canal de Moçambique leads with the controversial session of ruling party Frelimo’s Central Committee scheduled for the weekend, reporting that there are groups in the party that want to force the choice of pre-candidates onto the agenda. Another headline has to do with the High Court of Appeal ruling in favour of one of the defendants in the “hidden debts” corruption trial, overturning a decision by judge Efigénio Baptista that was not based on the new penal code. For Canal, the entire judgement could be at stake since Baptista ruled on the basis of the old penal code. O País leads with the manifesto by Samora Machel junior, the son of Mozambique’s first president Samora Machel, for how he would govern Mozambique as President Filipe Nyusi’s successor. Another article has to do with the poor supervision of the voter registration process due to a lack of funds, quoting a Renamo representative on the National Elections Commission. Notícias leads with yesterday’s approval by the…

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