Good afternoon. It is unusual to see state-owned Rádio Moçambique take an interest in opposition party Renamo, but the broadcaster has decided to report on the controversy over the party’s choice of candidate for this October’s presidential election (see below). It looks as though it is in the interests of ruling party Frelimo, who control the broadcaster’s editorial line, to draw attention to the dispute.
Party spokesman José Manteigas is continuing to provoke both party supporters and people outside the party who would like to see its leader, Ossufo Momade, replaced with a more effective presidential candidate. As we reported on Monday, Manteigas caused disquiet when he said that Momade would be the Renamo candidate, despite the fact that Renamo’s congress had not yet met to decide the issue. In his latest intervention, Manteigas does not really deny that the party should have a vote this year, as its rules require; the real issue is whether that should be a real vote or whether it should rubber-stamp Momade’s candidacy.
Quite clearly, Momade has not been a very convincing opposition leader. He has dealt little damage to Frelimo, despite frequent opportunities to call out the ruling party on its corruption, authoritarianism and mismanagement. His social media presence is also amateurish. Momade’s critics accuse him of wanting to remain in his comfortable life as leader of the largest opposition party, which entitles him to payments and benefits from the state. This was the view expressed in an unflattering article in newssheet Mediafax on Monday, which listed his benefits under the headline “The reason why Momade wants to maintain the presidency of the party”.