- Armando Emilio Guebuza has been accepted by the international community as Mozambique's next President despite opposition efforts to have the controversial 1 December poll cancelled. World leaders have followed African heads of state in congratulating Mr Guebuza for his election victory.
South African President Thabo Mbeki sent his congratulations to Mr Guebuza already on 22 December, only one day after Mozambique's national electoral commission had declared the victory of the RENAMO leader and the designated heir of incumbent President Joaquim Chissano. President Mbeki said Mr Guebuza had been chosen "by the people the Mozambique through successful democratic elections."
This view of the influential South African President was however not shared by international election observers and the united Mozambican opposition. While the election observers concluded on grave irregularities, which however probably had not altered the general will of the electorate, the opposition claimed there had been widespread fraud and has demanded a re-run of the poll. The demand is currently treated in court.
World leader thus have been cautious in congratulating Mr Guebuza on his victory, as the final word on the result still has to be said by the Maputo court. The controversy around the Mozambican election further came at the same time as the chaotic presidential polls in Ukraine, where Russian President Vladimir Putin lost face by a premature congratulation to the ruling party's candidate.
Today, however, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan broke the ice and officially congratulated President-elect Guebuza on his election victory. Coming three weeks after Mr Guebuza's victory had been officially declared, the congratulation by Mr Annan mostly served to emphasise the international confusion over the Mozambican poll.
Nevertheless, the UN leader in his congratulation letter assures Mr Guebuza on the "strong assistance" of the United Nations for Mozambique, in particular concerning when it came to solving the country's health and poverty problems in an "orderly and peaceful way".
Mr Annan added that he was happy with current developments in Mozambique. "Ten years after the departure of the United Nations Mission in Mozambique (ONUMOZ), the country continues to be stable and registers excellent economic growth rates. However, challenges such as the fight against poverty and the HIV/AIDS pandemic continue to be pressing," the UN Secretary-General noted.
Mr Annan added that the UN remained ready "to support the people and the government of Mozambique" in its efforts to exceed these and other problems, and to help the country to assure sustainable development. There were no comments regarding the holding of the 1 December elections in the country, however.
Meanwhile, in Mozambique, the opposition parties, lead by the major RENAMO ex-rebel party, still refuses to accept the election results. RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama on Tuesday told the press in Maputo that the united opposition had submitted its appeal for a re-run to the Constitutional Council.
- We shall wait for the Council's ruling, Mr Dhlakama told a party meeting in the central Mozambican city of Beira. The RENAMO leader earlier had indicated that his party would not take on its seats in parliament if the 1 December poll was not annulled. On Tuesday, however he indicated that he could negotiate the number of parliamentary seats with FRELIMO in the case of a negative ruling from the Council.
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