Armando Guebuza, President of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party, on Thursday criticized unnamed members of Frelimo who “undertook activities which disturbed the normal functioning of the party bodies”.Opening a meeting of the Frelimo Central Committee, Guebuza did not name these party members, but suggested their activities would only “generate division and confusion among us”.Despite this, Guebuza claimed that Frelimo had emerged “more cohesive and strengthened” from last year’s “internal democratic process” which chose Filipe Nyusi as the party’s presidential candidate, and from the general elections of 15 October, won by Frelimo and by Nyusi.He defended Frelimo’s claim to be “the force of change”, but warned against “change for the sake of change”. The changes that Frelimo must fight for, Guebuza stressed, were those that would improve the lives of the people, in, rural and urban areas, so that they would have good reason to continue placing their trust in Frelimo. “Our reference point is the Party’s bodies”, declared Guebuza. “We do what the Party’s bodies decide”.He also warned against accepting praise from Frelimo’s opponents. “When some people, particularly noisy ones, praise us, it’s because they want us to make mistakes”, he said.The main objective of Frelimo’s opponents he stressed was to weaken and eventually destroy Frelimo.
The party’s political adversaries “do not want a strong, omnipresent and popular Frelimo”, Guebuza said. “They don’t want to see a strong Frelimo government implementing, with speed and impact, our election manifesto. They don’t want to see our President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, strong and firm, giving his best in the leadership of the state, because they know that this will benefit not only him personally but also our glorious Frelimo”. It was up to Frelimo members, he urged “today as yesterday to battle, always united, cohesive and determined, so that this dream of our opponents becomes a nightmare”. Guebuza did not specifically mention the demand by the former rebel movement Renamo for the establishment of “autonomous provinces”, but he was clearly rejecting such calls when he stressed that Mozambique is “one and indivisible”.Before the Central Committee opened there had been some speculation that Guebuza might take this opportunity to resign as President of the Party, allowing Nyusi to unite the posts of President of the Republic and President of the Party in the same person once again – just as his precedessor Joaquim Chissano had resigned in March 2005 to clear the way for Guebuza.But Guebuza’s combative speech did not sound like the words of a man considering resigning. The issue of the succession is not on the agenda of this Central Committee meeting, and so far there has been no attempt to change the agenda and force the issue.If Guebuza serves out his full term as President of the party, he will not step down until the next Frelimo Congress, scheduled for 2017.