Mozambique's opposition Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. Picture: Grant Lee Neuenburg

Maputo - Mozambique's Renamo opposition party will not take up its parliamentary seats in protest against the southern African country's election results, its spokesman said on Wednesday.

The ruling Frelimo party and its candidate Filipe Nyusi won presidential and legislative elections in October, a result certified in late December by the constitutional court.

But Renamo and its presidential candidate, former civil war rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama, have alleged widespread fraud and irregularities, including ballot stuffing.

The voting was endorsed as broadly acceptable by international observers

“We will not take our seats at parliament, which is due to be sworn in on January 12. Our party and president decided that we will not take part in a farce,” party spokesman Antonio Muchanga told Reuters.

The move is sure to stoke political tensions in the poor but mineral-rich country, which has seen sporadic flare-ups of fighting between Renamo and government forces since the end of the civil war in 1992.

Muchanga was detained for several hours on Tuesday by police, who accused him of inciting violence and leading an illegal demonstration - allegations he denies.

Renamo won 89 of the 250 seats in Mozambique's parliament. Frelimo secured 144 seats and a third party won 17.

Tensions are running high in Mozambique.

In the run-up to the election, Renamo partisans clashed sporadically with troops and police. The Renamo leader only emerged from a bush hideout in September to reaffirm a 1992 peace pact.

A former Portuguese colony on southern Africa's Indian Ocean coast, Mozambique is still one of the world's least-developed nations but is starting to tap huge coal and natural gas deposits with foreign investors. - Reuters