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Mozambique’s Frelimo Elects Daniel Chapo As Leader

IN a pivotal move, Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo party has named regional governor Daniel Chapo as its new leader, setting the stage for him to potentially succeed President Filipe Nyusi if Frelimo secures victory in the forthcoming elections, announced Nyusi late on Sunday.

Following two days of intense deliberations and amidst a high number of spoiled ballot papers, Frelimo’s central committee elected Chapo over three other internal candidates, in a surprise decision that reverberated through political circles.


Nyusi hailed the selection of Chapo as a crucial step towards securing victory in the upcoming October elections, addressing reporters at the conclusion of an extraordinary party congress near the capital, Maputo. ‘With the election of its candidate for president, Frelimo took an important step to prepare for victory in the October elections,’ Nyusi remarked.

The move comes as Nyusi, 65, is barred by the constitution from seeking a third term in office. He urged Frelimo members to rally behind Chapo, particularly after Chapo’s closest contender, Roque Silva, withdrew from the race at the eleventh hour and resigned from his post as Frelimo secretary general.

Chapo, 47, a former political science lecturer and radio presenter, has served as governor of the central province of Inhambane since 2016. In a bid to foster unity, he pledged to work collaboratively with all segments of society, emphasising inclusivity. ‘We will work … with all layers of society — young people, women, men, and war veterans,’ Chapo affirmed.

The development comes amidst lingering tensions between Frelimo and the largest opposition party, Renamo, a former rebel group. Renamo contested Frelimo’s landslide victory in the 2019 general elections. The history between the two parties traces back to a civil war from 1977 to 1992, which devastated Mozambique’s economy and claimed nearly one million lives.

Mozambique, ranked seventh from the bottom on the United Nations Development Programme’s human development index, had pinned high hopes on vast natural gas reserves discovered in northern Cabo Delgado province in 2010. However, progress has been hindered by an insurgency led by militants in the region, underscoring the challenges facing the nation’s political landscape and economic aspirations.

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