Frelimo man promises change

2014-09-18 23:21
A woman displays her hands to show that she has not previously voted, during municipal elections held in the city of Maputo, Mozambique. (Ferhat Momade, AP)

A woman displays her hands to show that she has not previously voted, during municipal elections held in the city of Maputo, Mozambique. (Ferhat Momade, AP)

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Maputo - The man likely to become Mozambique's next president gave the clearest indication yet of his political goals on Thursday, vowing to redistribute wealth if elected this October.

Felipe Nyusi, the candidate of ruling party Frelimo, told a campaign event in the capital Maputo that he would bring "a programme of change, a reason for hope" to Mozambique.

Incumbent President Armando Guebuza is due to step down when the country goes to the polls on 15 October, as his two mandates allowed by the constitution are up.

His party managed a landslide 75% win in the last elections in 2009 and is widely expected to repeat the feat.

Despite growing coal and natural gas wealth and a rapidly rising economy, the country remains one of the most poorest on earth.

Many poor Mozambicans suspect the Frelimo elite, which has ruled since independence from Portugal in 1975, of pocketing the country's wealth.

"One thing we will dedicate ourselves to is the redistribution of wealth," the former defence minister said. "Resources need to unite us, not divide us."

Before being tapped as Guebuza's successor, Nyusi was a relative political unknown.

He is a member of the Maconde ethnic group from the far north of the country, the first time someone from that region has headed the party.

The former civil engineer had been running on a "continuity" ticket, promising to carry on the work of his predecessors.

On Thursday he seemed ready to carve out his own path.

"Many times when I say I will continue with the ideas of [Frelimo's founder] Eduardo Mondlane, [former presidents] Samora Machel, [Joaquim] Chissano and Armando Guebuza, immediately people say, 'Oh, nothing will change'."

But Nyusi said things would change, promising to redouble efforts to tackle mass youth unemployment, vowing to "create new opportunities" and a more equitable Mozambique.

"This project exists. It is working but we need to overcome new problems," he said.

Read more on:    frelimo  |  mozambique  |  southern africa  |  mozambique elections 2014

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