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Vol 44 No 12

Published 13th June 2003


Mozambique

Guebuza blues

The prospect of a new president is forcing Frelimo's divisions to the surface

With the December 2004 elections now in sight and President Joaquim Chissano stepping down after 18 years in power, the long-running battle for power in the ruling Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (Frelimo) party is rising to the forefront. The party's candidate in the next election, and essentially Mozambique's president-in-waiting, is veteran politician Armando Guebuza, who is now on the verge of fulfilling his life's ambition to lead party and country. As he prepares to take charge, the balance in Frelimo is shifting to Guebuza and those he perceives as his allies. Chissano, with 18 months left in his mandate, is looking like a lame duck president. Those who owe their positions to Chissano are vulnerable, while Guebuza, a skilful political manipulator who forgets and forgives little, is already assembling his team. The fight is out in the open, with sniping against Chissano and his family from the pro-Guebuza Domingo newspaper while pro-Chissano articles and letters to the editor often under fictitious names have appeared in the government-aligned Notícias.

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