Mozambique: Mayor of Nampula Promises to Hand Over Power

Maputo — The outgoing mayor of the northern Mozambican city of Nampula, Paulo Vahanle, has abandoned his threat that, because of the fraudulent nature of the municipal elections held on 11 October, he will not leave office.

Speaking at a press conference in Nampula on Tuesday, Vahanle promised to hand over municipal power to the candidate of the ruling Frelimo Party, Luis Giqueira.

All the mayors of the 65 municipalities elected last year will take office on Wednesday. Renamo seems to have abandoned its initial plans to disrupt these ceremonies, although it still maintains that the elections were fraudulent.

Cited by the independent television station STV, Vahanle thanked the citizens of Nampula “for collaborating with Renamo. We held a meeting in Renamo which instructed me to take office as a member of the municipal assembly, in order to avoid disturbances’.

Placido Pereira, the National Director of Municipal Development in the Ministry of State Administration, told reporters that Vahanle “has appointed a team that is working with us. So far there are no upsets’.

Vahanle’s position is much the same as that taken a few days earlier by the Renamo mayor of the port city of Nacala, Raul Novinte. He too had threatened that he would not leave office, but, after what appeared to be an amicable meeting with the General Commander of the Mozambican police, Bernadino Rafael, he changed his mind.

Novinte announced that, although he continued to believe he had been legitimately re-elected for a further term of office, he would hand over municipal power to Frelimo. He said that a determinant factor in this decision was that the two members of the Constitutional Council appointed by Renamo, went along with their colleagues from Frelimo in validating the election results.

At Wednesday’s ceremonies, the newly elected municipal assemblies will take office. An extraordinary session of each assembly will then take place, at which the head of the political party that won the most seats will resign from the Assembly, in order to take up his position as the new mayor.

Of the 65 mayors, 60 are from Frelimo, four from Renamo and one from the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).

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