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Comoros Democratic Front Spliter Group Creates New Party

By Ali Moindjie, PANA Correspondent, 25 July 2000

MORONI, Comoros (PANA) - A splinter group of the Comorian Democratic Front has finally transformed itself into a new political party known as the Movement for Socialism and Democracy or MSD.

At least 400 delegates attended MSD's general constituent assembly in Moroni last Sunday.

The new party's leader is Abdou Soefo, a former minister who is currently director of the National Hydrocarbons Company. Fatma Toilal is its executive secretary.

A crisis emerged within the DF after Soefo's recent expulsion for allegedly supporting the 30 April 1999 coup d'etat in contravention of DF's official position.

Soefo and his supporters accuse the DF leadership of being authoritarian, ignoring the aspirations of people at grassroots level and maintaining an ambivalent outlook "in our relations with France."

Several leaders in the new party told PANA in Moroni that divergent views concerning the relations between the Comoros and France were behind the Democratic Front's split.

The rift had been growing among certain members who backed a softer line approach towards France and radicals who advocated the "fight against imperialism" stance.

The MSD sympathises with Col. Asoumani Azali's regime because it has tried to "restructure public finance and to recover looted state funds, as was the case with the rice Board".

The DF was originally formed by France-based Comorian students in the 1970s and 1980s and waged a vigorous resistance campaign against the government installed in the Comoros with the backing of Bob Denard's mercenaries.

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