Country Risk

Convincing re-election of Mozambique’s president as ruling party leader signals party’s endorsement of peace process

04 October 2017

Key Points

  • President Nyusi has increased his influence in the party, giving him more leverage in driving policy, including peace talks with the armed opposition RENAMO group.
  • FRELIMO is likely to make concessions to RENAMO on decentralisation and integration into the security services, but is likely to restrict its access to key security units.
  • An agreement between RENAMO and the FRELIMO government is likely only in the first half of 2018.


Mozambique’s ruling party has re-elected President Filipe Nyusi as its leader during its 11th congress with 99.72% of the vote, paving the way for him to contest the presidential election in early 2019 as the party’s candidate.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi delivers a speech during the ruling party’s 11th congress on 2 October. (Mauro Vombe/AFP/Getty Images)Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi delivers a speech during the ruling party’s 11th congress on 2 October. (Mauro Vombe/AFP/Getty Images)

President Filipe Nyusi’s election by the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique: FRELIMO) congress as the ruling party’s president is the first time he has gained official endorsement from the party’s base, after having become FRELIMO president in March 2015 by way of a central committee vote after the resignation of former president Armando Guebuza. Guebuza was forced to resign by the central committee in favour of Nyusi. President Nyusi’s choice at the congress for FRELIMO secretary-general was Deputy Minister for State Administration and for the Public Service Roce Silva, who scored an impressive 96.4% approval from members of the party’s central committee.

During the congress, President Nyusi promised to focus during his tenure on the fight against corruption, including wrongdoing within the ranks of the ruling party, and to secure a lasting peace with the armed opposition group Mozambican National Resistance (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana: RENAMO). Nyusi acknowledged that some senior party leaders and military commanders continue to oppose his peace talks with RENAMO. He told delegates that he had met RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama on 6 August in Gorongosa, Sofala province, despite such opposition, in the interest of peace, stressing that he intended to achieve a lasting peace agreement in the coming months.

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