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Two heads are better than one

Separating the presidential candidate from the party leader could smooth division in both of Mozambique's two biggest political parties

A Renamo event in Maputo on Saturday 13 January. Credit: Facebook

Good afternoon. The ongoing turmoil in opposition party Renamo over who should be that party’s president, and who should be its candidate at Mozambique’s presidential election in October, has brought to the surface another question: should the party’s leader, and its candidate for president of the republic, be the same person?

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It has always been thus, since the days of Samora Machel at ruling party Frelimo, and Renamo’s long-time leader Afonso Dhlakama. But there’s no legal reason that it has to be that way; and there are good reasons to argue that the convention should be ditched.

Frelimo, indeed, regularly runs a candidate who is not the president of the party. Nyusi was not yet president of Frelimo when he won the national presidential election in 2014; and whoever is nominated Frelimo’s presidential candidate this year will not be the president of the party. But the expectation is that they will take that post from Filipe Nyusi at the next meeting of the party’s Central Committee after that.

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