Artist and businessman Virgilio Mpfumo, 34, is tight-lipped about who he will actually vote for. But his main wish is clear. “We have a lot of people without job, without work. So we need a special thing, we need government, we need change,” he said.
For market vendor Constantino Basilio Manhice, his fat stack of hard cash earned selling potatoes and onions - is all the proof he needs that Frelimo is on the right course. He says because the government has enabled the people to have more farming plots, they can grow more local products and don’t have to import food from South Africa. But not everyone is prospering. The largest trade union says unemployment stands around 23 percent. That’s a difficult number to pin down, since the nation’s economy still depends on subsistence farming and on informal labor. But that disheartening situation has prompted some Mozambicans to swear off Frelimo, which has handed the mantle of power from outgoing President Armando Guebuza to the relatively obscure Nyusi, who formerly served as defense minister.
A shop worker, who gave his name only as Alfonso, said he prefers the populist rhetoric of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, who has drawn huge crowds despite having hidden in the remote northern bush for many years.“Guebuza no, no, and I don’t know Nyusi," he said. "Dhlakama’s very good... No money, it’s a problem.” It’s a familiar refrain here: no money, many problems. Many Mozambicans agree that things have improved since the civil war ended. But many say that they vote now with their wallets in mind. There have been several clashes during campaigning between Frelimo and the MDM, with Mr Simango's motorcade being attacked in the south, an area regarded as a Frelimo stronghold.
There have also been skirmishes in Nampula in the north between Frelimo and Renamo supporters.