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Mozambique Opposition Accuses Ruling Party of Plot to Rig Upcoming Vote

By Peter Clottey
14 September 2009

Mozambique's main opposition Renamo party is expressing worry that the activities of the government will undermine the credibility of general elections scheduled for October 28.

This comes after official campaigning began Sunday in the country's fourth election since gaining independence in 1975.

Renamo is accusing the ruling Frelimo party of plotting to rig the election to thwart the change that Mozambicans are yearning for.

But Frelimo dismisses the accusations as worthless and without merit. Political observers believe that incumbent President Armando Guebuza is assured of victory in his re-election bid.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama said that his party will only accept the results of the vote if it is free and fair.

"People of Mozambique are supporting us and they need change. We know that government that we have in Mozambique has been in power since 1975…People are tired, corruption, bad government… no jobs for young people," Dhlakama said.

He said Renamo has the best policies for the country.

"We think that in terms of our program we can send a direct message for the people of Mozambique (because) they support us," he said.

Dhlakama accuses the government of using its incumbency to win the election.

"(The) problems in Africa, in particular Mozambique, are fraud, government will try to cheat… like what happened in Zimbabwe; is the same that can be in Mozambique," Dhlakama said.

He described as a sham, President Armando Guebuza's previous electoral victory.

"This is like publicity. He is lobbying votes (and) anybody knows. Observers from the international community, they saw (what happened). Even SADC (Southern African Development Community) regional organization they were here in 2004… they wrote about what happened," he said.

Dhlakama said previous elections have not been transparent.

"Since the war ended in Mozambique we have not had (any) election that was free and fair," Dhlakama said.

He said the government makes it impossible for the opposition to win Mozambican elections.

"You know the problem in Africa. Anytime we had elections in Mozambique, all institutions of state they were forcing us to be on the side of government," he said.

Dhlakama said the opposition's calls for electoral reforms have often been dismissed by the ruling party.

"We already reported even now before the elections for this year. (We said) it was necessary to do reform about the electoral law, but the government used the majority that they have in parliament (and) they rejected it," Dhlakama said.

He accused President Armando Guebuza of acting like royalty in a democracy.

"The president is like a king here… the president is like a royal," he said.

Dhlakama faults the international community for not intervening to ensure elections in Mozambique are free and fair.

The ruling Frelimo party has been in government since Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

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