Momade elected as Mozambique’s opposition leader ahead of polls

Thursday January 17 2019

Ossufo Momade

Ossufo Momade was elected as Mozambique’s main opposition Renamo party president and presidential flagbearer on January 17, 2019. FILE PHOTO | AFP 

ARNALDO VIEIRA
By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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Mozambique’s main opposition Renamo has picked Mr Ossufo Momade as the party president and presidential flagbearer ahead of the October election.

Mr Momade takes over the party’s reins, replacing veteran leader Afonso Dhlakama who died on May 3 last year with his party saying he succumbed to an unconfirmed heart attack.

Mr Momade was elected during Renamo’s sixth national congress held on January 15 to 17, garnering 410 votes.

Mr Elias Dhlakama, a war veteran and Afonso’s brother, was second with 238 votes.

Renamo fought a 16-year guerrilla war against the ruling Frelimo party until 1992 and then emerged as an opposition party that still retained armed fighters.

Clashes erupted again from 2013 to 2016, forcing the party founder Mr Dhlakama to hiding in the remote Gorongosa mountains, in the centre of the country.

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He later held meetings with President Felipe Nyusi to discuss disarmament and reintegration, after earlier agreeing on constitutional reforms that would decentralise power.

Mr Momade, 58, has pursued talks with President Nyusi though relations between Renamo and Frelimo remain tense.

Like his predecessor, Mr Momade, a guerrilla leader during the civil war, lives in remote Gorongosa.

He has been a Member of Parliament since 1999 and served as the party secretary general between 2007 and 2012.

Mozambique is scheduled to hold its elections on October 15 this year.

Frelimo has ruled the country since independence from Portugal in 1975.

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