Mozambique to hold pivotal elections amid an uptick in violence

Mozambicans will head to the polls today to elect their next president. Incumbent Filipe Nyusi of the FRELIMO party, who

mozambique elections

Photo: Reuters/Grant Lee Neuenburg

Mozambicans will head to the polls today to elect their next president.

Incumbent Filipe Nyusi of the FRELIMO party, who has been in office since January 2015, will likely face his biggest challenge from RENAMO party leader Ossufo Momade. The RENAMO party is campaigning against Nyusi’s inability to crack down on corruption, exemplified by his administration’s prosecution of a faulty IMF loan.

Despite a peace agreement signed between both parties last August, there has been a drastic uptick in violence ahead of the vote. Members of RENAMO have accused the FRELIMO party of controlling the electoral machine and misusing security forces. Due to internal fragmentation, elements of RENAMO have responded with violence. An Islamist militancy group in the Cabo Delgado province that broke off from RENAMO has carried out targeted attacks on voters and FRELIMO supporters.

This election will mark the first time provincial governors, previously appointed by the president, will be elected. While the RENAMO party is expected to win certain provinces, few believe Nyusi will cede control of any part of the country to the opposition. Many nations have warned citizens traveling to Mozambique to expect violence during and after the election.

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