Maputo — The new mayor of the central Mozambican city of Beira, filling the position left vacant by the death of Daviz Simango, will be Albano Carige, who is currently the city councillor for construction and urbanisation.
Under the legislation governing municipalities, by-elections are no longer held in the event of the death or resignation of a mayor. Voters choose a party list rather than an individual, and whoever is the next name on the list becomes the new mayor.
Simango was the leader of the second largest opposition force in the country, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), and headed the MDM list for the Beira municipal assembly in the 2018 local elections.
The number two on the MDM list is the MDM General Secretary, Jose Domingos, but he is not eligible, since he has opted to take up a seat in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. No-one can simultaneously hold seats in parliament and in a municipal assembly.
So the next mayor will be Carige, who was number three on the MDM list. The current chairperson of the Municipal Assembly, Ricardo Langue, confirmed that Carige will be sworn in as Mayor on Friday.
Like many members of the MDM, Carige began his political activities in what was then the rebel movement Renamo, joining its clandestine network in Beira in 1990. According to a report in Wednesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", he was then taken from Beira to a military base in Gorongosa district where he impressed the then leader of Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama.
He became Dhlakama's private secretary and, after the end of the war of destabilisation in 1992, he travelled with Dhlakama on missions inside and outside the country.
When Simango first became mayor of Beira, as the Renamo candidate in the 2003 municipal elections, he offered Carige important municipal positions. In 2008, Dhlakama refused to stand Simango for a second term of office, which precipitated a major split in Renamo, from which the MDM emerged.
Carige was one of those Renamo figures who joined the new party, and he remained loyal to Simango for the rest of the latter's life.