Upcoming Elections and Return of RENAMO Opposition Leader Afonso Dhlakama

Mozambique will hold nationwide elections on October 15.  All U.S. citizens are reminded to take necessary security precautions and be aware of the potential for large gatherings and disruptions of local transportation and other services.  While there are no specific indications that this year’s campaign will become violent, past elections have witnessed localized violence.

Opposition party RENAMO presidential candidate, Afonso Dhlakama, will return to Maputo on Thursday, September 4, after more than a year in hiding, during which there were sporadic hostilities between armed RENAMO men and government forces.  In order to conclude a peace deal between the two parties, the Government of Mozambique has invited Dhlakama to participate in the upcoming election campaign.

Violence and political unrest are not expected upon Dhlakama’s return.  However, RENAMO has publicly invited residents from the city and province of Maputo and all RENAMO supporters to turn out at the Maputo airport to welcome Dhlakama to the capital.  The crowd is expected to be peaceful, although the numbers expected are unclear.

Dhlakama’s flight is expected to arrive on September 4 at 14:00, although it is possible that large crowds may assemble from 12:00 onwards and could remain for some time afterwards.  U.S. citizens are urged to avoid travel in and out of the airport and the immediate vicinity during these times.  Road congestion along the major routes leading to and from the airport could cause significant delays.

We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens to review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mozambique enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov.  STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Mozambique.  For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

The U.S. Embassy is located in Maputo at 193 Avenida Kenneth Kaunda, telephone (258) 21 49 2797.  Non-emergency American Citizens Services are offered via the online appointment system.  The after-hours telephone numbers for use in emergencies are (258) 21 49 0723 and 21 49 2797.  The Consular Section’s e-mail address is consularmaputo@state.gov. The U.S. Embassy’s website is https://mz.usembassy.gov/.