Friday, May 24, 2024

Mozambique: Commission Advises Against Holding District Elections in 2024

The Commission set up by the Mozambican government to reflect on the pertinence of holding elections for district assemblies has recommended that district elections should not be held in 2024.

When a package of decentralisation amendments was inserted into the Mozambican constitution in 2018, they included a commitment to set up district assemblies and to hold the first elections to these bodies in 2024. At the time, nobody asked whether this was feasible. Could 154 district assemblies really be elected at the same time as presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections?

The Constitution merely said that the district assemblies would be elected. It did not state what powers they would have, how they would be financed, or even how many members would sit in them. This was all left for future legislation.

For the past year, President Filipe Nyusi has been calling for reflection on the viability of holding district elections – much to the fury of the opposition parties who argue that, since the 2024 district elections are written into the Constitution, they must be held.

The Commission, known by the acronym CRED, was set up to advise the government on the district elections. Right from the start, the main opposition parties, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), denounced CRED as illegitimate and refused to have anything to do with it.

CRED was to consist of “cadres with recognised competence and experience in local government and public finance”, but its membership has never been publicly announced. With the opposition boycotting CRED, politically the Commission is dominated by the ruling Frelimo Party.