December 1, 2004


Mozambicans Vote to Choose Chissano's Successor (Challiss McDonough, 1 December 2004, VOA News)

Voters are going to the polls in Mozambique to choose a successor to longtime President Joaquim Chissano, who led the country to peace after a long, brutal civil war. Five candidates are vying for the presidency, but most people see it as a two-man race. [...]

This is only the third time that Mozambicans have gone to the polls for multi-party elections since a peace deal ended their civil war in 1992. Two of the men who hammered out that treaty on opposite sides of the negotiation table are opposing each other again today, on the ballot papers.

Ex-rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama turned his RENAMO rebel group into a political party, and is running for president for the third time. His main opponent is Armando Guebuza, a wealthy businessman and liberation struggle hero who is running on the ticket of the ruling party, FRELIMO.

They are vying to succeed outgoing president Joaquim Chissano, who after 18 years in power decided not to run for a third term.

At a polling station in one of Maputo's rougher neighborhoods, a voter named Vicente made it clear that even though the war ended 12 years ago, it is still the major factor in deciding his vote.

"We want peace, not war, not killing people," he said.

Voting for peace is shorthand in southern Mozambique for voting for FRELIMO. Many people in this part of the country still blame RENAMO for the war that brutalized the country for 16 years and left up to a million people dead.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 1, 2004 12:53 PM
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