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Old Foes To Take A Beating

On October 15, Mozambique will go to the polls for the fourth time in 20 years of democracy as the country forges ahead with its free market reforms. There is likely to be a shake up in the balance of power.

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The ruling Frelimo party, which has run Mozambique since 1975, is likely to struggle to hang on to its overwhelming majority, according to sources in Maputo, against opposition parties Renamo and Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). There is also a strong chance that Renamo, the former rebel forces long in Frelimo’s shadow, will drop to third place in the voting.

“I think this election could be tight and Frelimo is unlikely to win a two thirds majority,” says a senior advisor to the government, who wished to remain anonymous.

“Unless there is a miracle, I think Renamo will drop to third place behind MDM. People in this country do not want war and they were not happy with the semi-civil war that Renamo tried to start last year.”

The man who will take the reins of Mozambique is Filipe Nyussi, the anointed successor of President Armando Guebuza, who was nominated by the ruling part in March. He is the son of former guerrilla fighters and is also expected to carry on the free market of the Guebuza years. Nyussi has little experience in business, but is known for his efficiency in running CFM, the state-owned railways and ports.

Political analysts in South Africa agree the elections will run smoothly and victory is certain for the ruling party.

“Mozambicans are willing to participate in the democratic elections, there’s no place for the rebels. When Nyussi gave a public lecture at UNISA (in Pretoria) he came across as somebody who could take the growing country’s economy to another level. He definitely stands head and shoulders above the rest,” says Shadrack Gutto, UNISA professor and political analyst.

In the first week of September, Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, returned to Maputo for talks with president Guebuza. This was their first meeting after Dhlakama went into hiding at the end of 2013 after a political dispute.

“I am afraid that if Renamo doesn’t change leadership they will definitely fail in these elections. I think it is frustrations, I have seen the party doing desperate things such as going back to the bush. But they have recently committed to put the arms down and go to the polls. On the other hand, Frelimo has been holding regular elections. No doubt, Nyussi is the party choice and there’s confidence that he will grow the economy,” says Tawana Kupe, a professor at Wits University in Johannesburg.

Dhlakama, who has run in every presidential race since 1994, saw his support wane to 16% in 2009 polls.

The World Bank forecasts the Mozambican economy will grow by 8.1% this year and up to 8.6% in 2015.

In August, president Guebuza launched the 175MW gas plant at Ressano Garcia. It was a joint venture between Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM) and Sasol, a South African energy company with a 49% stake.

“Mozambique is set to become a global top ten gas player in the near future, if all the exploration and proven reserve results are taken into account… From an investment perspective, there have already been interests both from countries in the East as well as South Africa as off takers to products,” says Johan Muller, an energy analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

A peaceful election could help usher in a new era of prosperity in what was once one of the poorest countries in the world.

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IN PICTURES | Looking Back At The Vibe Of The South African Elections

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FORBES AFRICA’s photojournalists immortalize the tension and elation of the South African elections in May that saw the African National Congress win for the sixth time since 1994.


In what was a landmark 25 years since the first democratic elections, South Africa registered, voted and elected the African National Congress (ANC) for the sixth time to govern the nation again for the next five years. The 2019 elections saw many surprises and plenty more political action compared to the previous polls.

 In the run-up to election day, political parties (48 in all) emphasized the country’s socio-economic challenges such as unemployment, education, housing and the contentious issue of land expropriation.  

On May 8, the day the country cast its vote, voters woke early to congregate and line up at the 22,924 voting stations strewn across the country.

FORBES AFRICA’s photojournalists immortalize the tension and elation of the South African elections in May that saw the African National Congress win for the sixth time since 1994. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

I was among them, a citizen also doubling as a photojournalist on the quest to document this historic election, my camera strapped around my neck and my constant companion. 

This Wednesday morning was particularly cold but voters were in sweaters and armed with their identity books to have a say in South African politics with an ‘X’ mark on the ballot paper.

Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), was among those at the Presbyterian Church in Dobsonville, Soweto; the township where he was born.

Mmusi Maimane, the leader of the opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

His arrival created a frenzy as international and local media wrestled with each other for the perfect shot.

After casting his vote and walking out of the church, he addressed the public.

“On such a historic day, it is important to vote in Soweto with the people of Soweto to express hope and a future for our country. Soweto, to me, represents the home of where the struggle is and now we’re entering into a new struggle for jobs for many South Africans. I remember, vividly and well, when I played in these streets and I remember too well the release of Nelson Mandela, therefore today, I urge that we come and cast our votes,” Maimane said.

He spoke about the new struggle.

“To me, there could be nothing more special, nothing more historic than being able to express our future. Vote for the future of this country and for the unemployed South Africans; it’s a new struggle and we are fighting for the protection of freedom and advancement of freedom.”   

Post the election results, Maimane was the first DA leader to not have grown more supporters, whereas the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), with the third highest number of votes, gained more in all South African provinces except the Northern Cape.

A few kilometers from Dobsonville is Mzimhlophe Hostel. A hostel among many others in Soweto that erupted with service delivery protests prior to the elections. On election day, it was more peaceful and locals were going about their daily lives.

Kwenzi Gwala standing outside what is left of his shack. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

In the same vicinity is a squatter camp (informal settlement) allegedly set on fire weeks before the elections.

Residents and brothers Mduduzi (32) and Kwenzi Gwala (22) came to Johannesburg looking for employment.

“This is my first time voting this year; I wish the economy could strengthen so we can move out of the squatter camps and live in houses. Our camp burned around the Easter holidays while we were at church. We used to sell African beer and our stock got burned along with the money and clothes that were inside. All we have is what we are wearing now,” Kwenzi says.

About 12 kilometers away was where national president and president of the ANC Cyril Ramaphosa cast his vote in his hometown of Chiawelo, at a local primary school.

National president and president of the ANC Cyril Ramaphosa cast his vote in his hometown of Chiawelo. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

The supporters of various parties, the media and voters were out in full force to witness their president in Soweto.

“The nation and the people are energized. They can see their votes are heralding a new dawn. This is a vote that reminds me of 1994 when the people were just as excited as this because they were heralding a new period, a new future for our country,” said Ramaphosa.

“Today, this is what I am picking up, our people are excited about what lies tomorrow and they want to vote for a government that is going to serve them, that is going to address their needs and aspirations. So, I am truly humbled by the turnout that I’ve seen here.

“There is a great vibe and it’s a vibe for democracy, it’s a vote also for our democratic system that we’ve been building over the last 25 years. So, 25 years later, we still have a nation that is breathing confidence and excitement casting their vote. Today, I will go home to sleep very peacefully like I did last night.

Brother of South African journalist Shiraaz Mohamed, kidnapped in Syria on January 2017, begs for government intervention. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla

“This vote is about confidence, it is about the future and it is about us that are going to be elected to work a lot harder, much harder than we have in the past to realize the ideals, wishes and hopes of our people, so this, to me, is like a rocket booster for democracy and we are going to build a great country because we will be doing so standing on the shoulders of our people,” Ramaphosa said.

Like the DA, the ANC lost more supporters nationally; Gauteng province was the gold prize, for the first time since 1999, the ANC had to battle to remain above 50% to secure the province.

Motlabana Monnakgotla

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May Will Be Gone In June Ending Months Of Political Battering And Speculation

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British Prime Minister Teresa May – just under three years into the job – says she will step down on June 7.

This follows a hammering, from both sides of the house, over her clumsy handling of the Brexit process. She has lost countless votes in Parliament over a Brexit deal and was seen by many in politics as weak and dithering. It is ironic that May herself voted to keep Britain in Europe, only to see her career expire as she struggled to make the opposite happen.

READ MORE | Chilling Words From The Man Who Broke The Bank Of England

Her heartfelt farewell speech on the steps of Number 10 Downing Street concluded that she had done her best to make Britain a better place not merely for the privileged few, but also for the whole population.

The supreme irony is that her shuffling off of the Prime Minister’s job will see the shuffling in one of Britain’s best known members of the privileged few. Eton and Oxford educated Boris Johnson is likely to step in as leader of May’s Conservative party ahead of what surely is going to be a snap election.   

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Poll Position: The South African 2019 Elections

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May 8, a landmark day for Africa’s second biggest economy. South Africans will cast their votes for the country’s sixth general elections since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

In the run-up to the polls, the country saw flagrant protests in some parts, as disgruntled citizens expressed disapproval of their stifling living conditions. 

In this image, a resident of Alexandra, a township in the north of Johannesburg, squats in the middle of a busy road leading to the opulent precincts of Sandton, Africa’s richest square mile.  

The dichotomy of socio-economic circumstances is an accelerant in one of the country’s poorest communities filled to the brim with squatter camps and the restlessness of unemployment.

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