Good afternoon. It is often said that a week is a long time in politics. Preliminary results from the local elections on Wednesday, which implausibly suggest that ruling party Frelimo won 64 out 65 municipalities, point to election fraud on an apparently unprecedented scale. This is arguably the greatest test of the opposition’s strength since the country’s democratic rebirth in 1994. However, Renamo, the country’s largest opposition party, seems divided on its strategy.
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Venâncio Mondlane, Renamo’s uncompromising candidate for mayor of Maputo, is threatening rebellion if his claim to victory is not recognised by the electoral authorities. At his second triumphal march through the capital on Saturday, Mondlane asked the baying crowd if it was “ready for war”. Today he campaigned in the Maputo suburb of Xiquelene and under the pouring rain appealed to citizens to go on strike tomorrow.