By Dastan Kaunda in Maputo (Mozambique)-Election officials in Mozambique say they had adequately prepared for today’s national elections.
Over nine million registered Mozambican voters are expected to elect their president, parliament and provincial assemblies in what is seen as an important test for opposition parties.
In the press statement issued Tuesday in the capital Maputo, official said all voting materials have been distributed to all the country’s 13,000 polling centers.
Several thousand candidates from 19 political parties have been campaigning for weeks, promising to fight poverty, create jobs, build infrastructure and improve health and education services.
The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), which led the struggle for independence, has dominated politics for the past 35 years.
Its candidate, President Armando Guebuza, is seeking a second, five-year term.
He is being challenged by Afonso Dhlakama of the opposition National Resistance Movement, or Renamo, which fought a 16-year civil war with Frelimo.
But other analysts say Renamo has been weakened by a split that led to the formation in March of a new party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement led by Daviz Simango.
Simango is the mayor of the country’s second city, Beira. He was expelled from Renamo, but ran for re-election as an independent in municipal elections last year and won.
A political analyst Paul Faubet told Mozambican News Agency that the elections do not appear to be generating much excitement in the capital area, a Frelimo stronghold. But he says the contest is intense in central and northern parts of the country.
“There certainly seems to be great interest in areas of the country that are more competitive, in the most populous provinces, Zambezia and Nampula, where the three candidates put most of their effort,” Faubet said.
But the campaign has been largely violence-free and well-covered in the news media.