Momade elected as Mozambique's opposition leader

Ossufo Momade, the former secretary general of RENAMO, the main opposition party in Mozambique was named the party's leader after the death of veteran chief Afonso Dhlakama.
Ossufo Momade, the former secretary general of RENAMO, the main opposition party in Mozambique was named the party's leader after the death of veteran chief Afonso Dhlakama.
Image: Adrien BARBIER / AFP

Mozambique's Renamo opposition party on Thursday elected Ossufo Momade as its leader ahead of a general election this year, replacing veteran rebel Afonso Dhlakama who died suddenly last May.

Momade had been acting leader of Renamo since the death of Dhlakama, who had led recent peace talks with the government.

Renamo, a political party that retains an armed wing, fought a 16-year civil war against the government until 1992, and clashes erupted again from 2013 to 2016.

Speaking to AFP, a party delegate said Momade had won with 410 votes at Renamo's national council compared to 238 for his main rival Elias Dhlakama, the former leader's brother.

Official results are expected later Thursday.

Momade, 58, was a guerilla leader during the civil war and has been a lawmaker in parliament since 1999. He served as party secretary general between 2007 and 2012.

As acting leader, he has pursued further talks on a peace deal with President Filipe Nyusi, though relations remain tense between the Frelimo-led government and Renamo.

Last year Renamo said election authorities had falsified results and robbed it of victory in five of the 53 municipalities.

Like his predecessor, Momade has chosen to live in the remote mountains of Gorongosa, in the centre of the country.

General elections are scheduled for October in Mozambique.

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