After casting his vote in Mozambique’s election on Tuesday, President Felipe Nyusi said his country had decided to follow peace, but that peace in a country that’s set to become one of the world’s main gas exporters could be in jeopardy, depending on the outcome of the poll.
Two months ago Nyusi’s Frelimo party agreed a peace deal with its old civil war foe turned opposition rival Renamo.
The presidential, legislative and provincial election is widely expected to extend Frelimo’s decades-long rule.
Renamo, meanwhile, is hoping that electoral changes agreed under the peace pact will mean it wins back control of its traditional heartlands in central and northern provinces.
If they do, it’ll be the first time since the country’s civil war ended in 1992. Since then sporadic violence has flared, including after Renamo challenged election results in 1992.
The fear is, according to analysts, that a failure to make such gains will cause unrest and undermine the former rebel group’s incentive for sticking to the peace accord.
For most of Mozambique’s 13 million registered voters, Frelimo has been in power since they were born and for some that’s a good thing.
However, a corruption scandal over government borrowing has hit the economy and damaged Nyusi’s popularity.
A low-level Islamist insurgency in the north, on the doorstep of billion-dollar gas projects being developed by the likes of Exxon and Total, has also taken the shine off his presidency.
Mozambique’s laws allow 15 days for the results to be announced, though they may come sooner.