THE 1998 LOCAL ELECTIONS IN MOZAMBIQUE
THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF A MUNICIPALITY
"In the early times, as soon as men, impelled by the instinct of sociability, or brought together by defense necessities or by entrepreneurial tasks of common interest, congregated into villages, small towns, lineages and, therefore, the need arose to start that comon interest, they organized and elected a group of authorities and to this organization and to the place itself they called 'municipality' (from the Latin 'municipium,' from 'munus' - function, and 'capere' - take, occupy), and the respective inhabitants became known as citizens... The municipality or council is, therefore, like a miniature of the State, because is composed of similar elements, like: a) one exclusive territory; b) a population living in that territory congregated by common interests; c) a political power; d) administration bodies. [However] The quality of 'citizen' or inhabitant of the municipality is acquired in a different manner than that of a State citizen. To this end, it's not valid to be born in that territory (jus soli), or to be affiliated with people living in that territory (jus sanguinis), but it's indispensable to be a resident there - living permanently in that territory [municipality]." (From: "Grande Enciclopédia Portuguesa Brasileira"). The fundamental objective of the Municipality (Council) is to well serve its population. Its main purpose is to help, safeguard, maintain and defend the good operation of the structures in its territory, as well as to ensure the prevalence of its citizens' dignity.
The 1998 Local Elections were the first of its kind ever to take place in Mozambique, with the people having free access to the polls and voting or not voting as they wished. Notwithstanding the large number of abstentions and the lack of a more imposing opposition, the people of Mozambique demonstrated an electoral maturity worthy of praise. Mistakes did happen and some components of the electoral process did fail during these elections. However, considering that these were the first local elections to take place in a country in reconstruction, with great antagonisms among its political forces, one can only admire the dedication of all those involved in this electoral process. This dedication was specially striking regarding the work carried out by the Registration Agents during the Electoral Registration Update and the members of the Polling Station Posts during the polling.
THE FIRST 33 MUNICIPALITIES (or COUNCILS)
For the first Local Elections 33 Municipalities or Councils were created. By the Law 3/94 of September 13, 1994, the Assembly of the Republic approved the "Institutional Framework of the Municipal Districts," which created a legal basis for the implementation of the State local reform program as well as the creation of the municipal districts of Maputo City and the Province capitals, totalling 11 cities. These districts were changed into municipalities by the Law 2/97 of February 18, 1997 (Article 116). Soon after, the Law 10/97 of May 31, 1997, extended the number of municipalities to another 22 towns in the Provinces.
THE 33 CITIES AND TOWNS COVERED BY THE 1998 LOCAL ELECTIONS (and also by the 2003 Local Elections)
PROVINCE --- CITIES AND TOWNS
CABO DELGADO - Pemba (Capital city), Montepuez (city), Mocimboa da Praia (town)
NIASSA - Lichinga (Capital city), Cuamba (city), Metangula (town)
NAMPULA - Nampula (Capital city), Angoche, Ilha de Moçambique, Nacala-Porto (cities), Monapo (town)
ZAMBÉZIA - Quelimane (Capital city), Gurué, Mocuba (cities), Milange (town)
MANICA - Chimoio (Capital city), Manica (city), Catandica (town)
SOFALA - Beira (Capital city), Dondo (city), Marromeu (town)
TETE - Tete (Capital city), Moatize (town)
INHAMBANE - Inhambane (Capital city), Maxixe (city), Vilankulo (town)
GAZA - Xai-Xai (Capital city), Chibuto, Chókwè (cities), Mandlakazi (town)
MAPUTO - Matola (Capital city), Manhiça (town)
MAPUTO-CIDADE - Maputo (Maputo-City, country's capital)