News and Information

Guebuza leads in Moz election - report
December 3, 2004
By Mateus Chale

Maputo - Businessman Armando Guebuza is leading in Mozambican elections to succeed President Joaquim Chissano, who is retiring after 18 years in office, state-run Radio Mozambique reported on Friday.

Guebuza, a member of Chissano's ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), had about 60 percent of the votes counted so far, while main challenger Afonso Dhlakama of the former rebel Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) had 40 percent or less, the radio said.

It did not say what percentage of the vote had been counted from the December 1 to 2 ballot in the former Portuguese colony, laid to waste by a civil war that ended in 1992, and there was no independent verification of its figures.

The election is not expected to affect key policies
"From a compilation of data from our reporters in the provinces, Guebuza is leading broadly," the radio said.

The Electoral Commission says it will take at least seven days to get all the results and that the final outcome will be announced on Dec. 17.

The radio's data showed Guebuza led in 10 of Mozambique's 11 provinces while Dhlakama was ahead in the remaining one.

Guebuza and Dhlakama said on Thursday they were pleased with the conduct of the election, in which Mozambicans also voted for a new parliament.

But former US President Jimmy Carter, the leading figure among several hundred international observers, said his team was not allowed access to voter tabulation centres, raising questions about independent verification.

Carter is heading a team of 60 observers from his Atlanta-based Carter Centre. Observers from the European Union and African groups were denied access to a centre where polling data is fed into computers.

The election is not expected to affect key policies in impoverished Mozambique, where the World Bank has launched one of its biggest programmes in Africa to rebuild the country.

Economic growth is among the highest in the world, averaging 10 percent over the last decade, but half of Mozambique's 18 million people are very poor and unemployment is at 50 percent.

Although eligible to stand, Chissano said he had decided to step aside to create political space for democracy to thrive.

"I did not want to wait until I am thrown out," Chissano, 68, told Reuters in an interview at his Ponte Vermelha seaside palace in the capital Maputo. "I feel good about leaving office when I am still appreciated."


    Support Caprivi Freedom
Fill out the form below to become a member of this site and receive our regular newsletter.

First Name
Last Name