MAPUTO, Veterans of Mozambique’s national liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial rule, unhappy at the current state of the ruling Frelimo Party, has urged the party to wake up.

The call came from Fernando Faustino, General Secretary of the Association of Veterans of the Liberation Struggle (ACLLN), at the opening of an extraordinary meeting of the Frelimo Central Committee here Friday.

In easily the most electrifying moment of the morning’s proceedings, Faustino declared that nowadays Frelimo only comes to life on the eve of events such as elections and party congresses. Frelimo must wake up from its sleep and emerge from the situation of apparently only being alive when major events approach,” he demanded.

It is obvious that Frelimo has become an electoral machine, since for some Frelimo cadres, politics means seeking positions in the government, in Parliament, in the provincial or municipal assemblies, or seeking favouritism in business with the State, he added.

He claimed that many Frelimo members feel ashamed to wear T-shirts with the Frelimo symbol outside of electoral periods.

And the electoral machinery was no longer working particularly well. There had been a time when Frelimo won elections fairly easily, said Faustino. But the results of the coming elections are an unknown, particularly in the central and northern provinces.

Where are the four million members who are in the Frelimo statistics?,” he asked. This is a highly embarrassing question. For many years, the Frelimo leadership has claimed that the party has many millions of members, but the results of national elections do not support this claim.

In the 2014 parliamentary elections, Frelimo won 2.58 million votes, and in the presidential election 2.78 million votes. This is a far cry from the four million members claimed. It seems that Frelimo branches and committees have persistently exaggerated the number of members they have when reporting back to the party’s headquarters in Maputo.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, speaking in his capacity as Frelimo president, said the extraordinary meeting was the highest form of strengthening internal cohesion and consolidating the Party’s gains.

He called for openness, frankness and understanding in the debates that will take place during the two-day meeting. This was an opportunity for Central Committee members to align their thoughts prior to the Party’s 11th Congress, scheduled for September. Hence there will be many different ideas during the debates and they are welcome, declared Nyusi.

This is the moment to discuss the best form of renewal and continuity of the internal bodies of Frelimo,” he continued. We didn’t come here to discuss what we’ve heard others say, or to anticipate what we think might go wrong in the coming stage. We came to think, and to build a modus operandi for the new and future challenges facing the Party.”