Saturday, October 30, 2010


The US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) has reduced its estimate of how many Mozambicans in rural areas are in need of food aid to meet their basic needs until March 2011. It now estimates that 350,000 people need assistance until the next harvest, a large drop from its June estimate of 460,000 people.The key finding of the FEWS NET report published on Thursday is that the majority of rural households will be able to meet their basic food needs. This is despite below normal harvests in parts of the south and centre of the country, due to late rains, long dry spells and drought.The long range forecast for Mozambique carried out by the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF) for the period October to December (the first half of the rainy season) predicts from near normal to above normal rainfall for much of the country. However, it warns that in the far north, the rainfall could vary from normal to below-normal.For the January to March period (the second, and usually much wetter, half of the rainy season) SARCOR expects the south of the country to have an increased chance of receiving near-normal to below-normal rainfall, while the rest of the country has an increased chance of receiving near-normal to above-normal rainfall. The FEWS NET report warns that the La Nina weather phenomenon could lead to flooding along the Zambezi basin. In the past La Nina has been associated with an increased number of cyclones and excessive rain in the south and centre of the country.La Nina is the opposite of the better-known El Nino phenomenon. El Nino refers to higher than usual surface water temperatures in the eastern central Pacific, whereas in a La Nina period, the surface water temperature in the Pacific drops by three degrees or more. Both events can have major impact on rainfall patterns.


The management of the Mozal aluminium smelter announced on Friday evening that it is delaying the “bypass” operation whereby emissions from the smelter’s carbon plant will be sent straight into the atmosphere instead of passing through filters.However, the rebuilding of the Fume Treatment Centres (FTCs), of which the filters are an integral part, will begin, as scheduled, on Monday.The delay in starting the bypass, the Mozal statement continued, is in order to give the company time “to respond to additional requests for information from the interested parties”.The statement adds that “Mozal remains concerned with the risks concerning the structural integrity of the FTCs associated with delaying the project beyond the agreed plans. All options to speed up the process are being considered”.“We are confident in our processes so far and we shall continue to guarantee that the project is in accordance with national and international directives”, the short statement concluded.The two FTC’s handle the emissions from the plant where the carbon anodes, used in the electrolytic process that reduces alumina to aluminium, are baked. The base of these buildings has become dangerously corroded, and unless they are replaced, they could collapse.The engineering work is now scheduled so that the filters are not immediately shut down. The Mozal statement does not indicate for how long bypassing the filters can be delayed.The total period envisaged for the FTC rebuild is 137 days.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


The strike at Mozambique’s largest food processing factory, the Companhia Industrial de Matola (CIM), went into a third day on Wednesday, with the management claiming it could not afford to meet the workers’ wage demands. After initially refusing to talk to the media, the company held a press conference at which the CIM financial director, Alfredo Lopes, claimed that there was no room to raise wages any further, because CIM, like other milling companies, is under pressure from the government to hold down the price of flour.Lopes said that the strike was triggered by a group acting unilaterally and contrary to the management’s efforts to ensure the welfare of the work force, by paying wages that are 28 per cent higher than the statutory minimum wage for the sector. He denounced the strike and called on the workers to resume production immediately.The current minimum wage at CIM is 3,200 meticais (89 US dollars) a month, and the workers initially demanded a rise of 62.5 per cent, to bring the minimum monthly wage of 5,200 meticais.When the management flatly rejected this, the workers lowered their demand to 4,000 meticais a month, the sum that Lopes said is impossible for CIM to meet.But the secretary of the CIM trade union committee, Claudio Muianga, said that the workers will only resume work when their demands are met. “We want better wages, overtime payment and equal treatment”, he stressed.


The Malawian High Commissioner to Mozambique, Martin Kansichi,  accused the Mozambican authorities of breaking agreements on making a “trial run” to prove the navigability of the Shire-Zambezi waterway, from the Indian Ocean to the Malawian inland port of Nsanje.Kansichi was responding to Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi who on Tuesday said that Malawian vessels traveling up the Zambezi were impounded because they had no authorisation for the trip.Baloi insisted that, while Mozambique was not ruling out the Shire-Zambezi waterway project, any decision could only be taken after a full viability study, including an environmental impact assessment. Addressing a press conference at the Malawi High Commission, Kansichi said that Malawi agreed with this, but in January when a Malawian ministerial delegation visited Mozambique, “our Transport Minister said, while we are awaiting the feasibility study, can’t we have some trial run, a possibility to use a barge to see how navigable the river is?”.He said that during the meeting a “trial run” was indeed agreed, although the Mozambican side insisted that “appropriate steps and procedures must be followed, so specific requirements were given on how Malawi should proceed”.He claimed that when Malawi hired the company ETC-Marine to take barges loaded with fertiliser up the Zambezi, it followed those procedures. “To say Malawi did not follow procedures is untrue and probably provocative”, he declared. Then, when the barges were on the river, “we hear statements that were not made at the meeting”, he continued. “The Malawian delegation was not told that the previous arrangements were changed. What makes us confused is that we discover unilateral decisions are taken, as if Malawi has invaded Mozambique”.After the barges had been intercepted, said Kansichi, the Malawians tried to present their case to Mozambican Transport Minister Paulo Zucula and to Deputy Foreign Minister Eduardo Koloma, who told them “there will be no trial run until the studies are concluded. But we have the documents and we presented them”.“What is happening is something we don’t understand”, protested Kansichi. “People are being victimized. We are trying to find out why”. He was also indignant at the way the Mozambican police had confused the Malawian fertilizer with cocaine. He said the fertilizer was loaded onto trucks at Beira, and then driven to Marromeu, on the Zambezi, to be loaded onto the barges. Kansichi said the whole operation was supervised by Mozambican customs who sent two of their officers with the trucks to Marromeu. But at Marromeu the trucks were met by heavily armed police, who claimed they contained cocaine.“I can’t understand it”, said Kansichi. “Can’t they trust their own customs officers who accompanied the cargo to Marromeu?”Although Kansichi said he had documentary evidence proving that Malawi is in the right in this dispute, he did not distribute any documents to the reporters.Asked about Malawi’s unilateral decision to launch a tender for an oil pipeline from Beira to Malawi, and Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika’s suggestion for a railway from Lilongwe to Harare, running through the middle of the Mozambican province of Tete, Kansichi claimed that both proposals had already been discussed in the Mozambique-Malawi Joint Cooperation Commission.Mozambican officials deny this, and claim that the Mozambican authorities had not been consulted in advance over either proposal.As for the claim by the Malawian information minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda that fuel shortages in Malawi were caused by the ongoing repairs to the bridge over the Zambezi in Tete city, Kansichi said he could not comment because this was a “political” and not a “diplomatic” issue.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


A unit of the Mozambican police seized a shipment of fertiliser, imported by a Malawian business, because it believed it contained cocaine, reports Saturday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.A source in the Mozambican customs service told the paper that a Malawian transport company asked the Sofala Provincial Transport and Communications Directorate for authorisation to take the fertilser by truck from the port of Beira to Marromeu, and then by barge up the Zambezi river towards Malawi. This was accepted but when the truck arrived in Marromeu it was met by a heavy police apparatus. Not only were the normal police there, but so were members of the riot police, and even members of the state security service, SISE. They seized the fertiliser, on the grounds that it was cocaine, and took it back to customs in Beira.Experts from customs headquarters in Maputo were brought in, and a joint team from the Maputo and Beira customs inspected the 300 sacks of supposed cocaine. Samples were analysed in laboratories in Maputo and Beira – and the results showed that the consignment was indeed nothing more sinister than fertiliser.The truck driver was released – but nothing has so far been said about any compensation for wrongful arrest, or for the hundreds of extra kilometres the truck travelled, and for the days spent waiting for confirmation that fertiliser is indeed fertiliser.Contacted by the ”Noticias” office in Beira, the press attache of the Sofala Provincial Police Command, Mateus Mazive, said that the police were still discussing the matter.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Mozambique’s National Council of Demobilized Soldiers (CODEG) has rejected calls for demonstrations to demand money which the government allegedly owes the former soldiers.Herminio dos Santos, a man who heads a forum of demobilized troops that is part of CODEG, has called insistently for such protests, but CODEG says there is no reason for demonstrations since the Government is aware of their demands.Cited in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Adelino Cebola, deputy president of CODEG, said dos Santos has no right to speak on behalf of the Council, and accused him of attempting to politicize the demands of the demobilized soldiers.Cebola criticized dos Santos for using “foul language” in his speeches. He said such behaviour undermines the efforts of both CODEG and the government to find solutions to the problems of the former soldiers.'We disagree with the behaviour of Herminio Dos Santos”, said Cebola. “We call on the associations affiliated to the Council, and to demobilized soldiers in general, not to be guided by Herminio Dos Santos, because he does not represent their legitimate interests”.Cebola said that the fund recently approved by the Government of 4.1 million meticais (about 115,000 US dollars) for the various associations of demobilized soldiers was a result of efforts made by CODEG not by Dos Santos. He said the fund was set up to strengthen the associations of demobilized soldiers and also solve other problems submitted by them to the Government.These include revising their pensions, the future of demobilized soldiers who spent more than two years in the army, the future of demobilized soldiers recruited illegally when they were less than 15 years old and the rights of orphans whose parents died during the war of destabilisation. (The law on military service stated that soldiers should be demobilized after two years, but many recruited during the war spent much longer periods in the army).“Most of these points are being addressed by the Government. What we must demand, in a peaceful way is a calendar indicating the period within which these problems must be solved”, said Cebola. “Violent demonstrations will not solve anything. Instead, they will just slow down the search for solutions to our problems”.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


The parliamentary group of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has called on the government to cut the number of ministers, as a cost-saving measure.Speaking in a debate on the cost of living in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, MDM deputy Ismael Mussa suggested reducing the ministers from the current 28 to just 13.This could be achieved, for example, by merging the Ministries of Culture and of Education, the Ministries of Defence and of Veterans’ Affairs, the Ministries of Mineral Resources and of Energy, and the Ministries of Health and of Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare, among other mergers.The MDM wanted all Deputy MinisterS to be downgraded to Secretaries of State (who are paid less), and to abolish the highest post in the civil service, that of Permanent Secretary (currently Permanent Secretaries exist in ministries, in provinces and in districts).Further savings could be made, Mussa argued, by scrapping the positions of Governor of Maputo City, and of the state representatives in the other 42 municipalities. (The government has resisted similar calls in the past, on the grounds that not all state functions have been handed over to the mayors and municipal councils, and there must be somebody in charge of those areas which are not municipal responsibilities).Muss also wanted to reduce the ostentatious use of escorts by senior state figures, pointing out that many fewer vehicles were used in escorts during the days of the country’s first president, Samora Machel.These were hardly inflammatory proposals, yet one deputy from the majority Frelimo Party, Isidora Faztudo, herself a former deputy minister of agriculture, immediately branded them as “populist, demagogic and tendentious”She declared that the government had already taken measures to deal with the cost of living which had been assessed as sustainable, and she was sure that “other measures will be taken at the opportune moment when the process so requires”.Mussa retorted that there was nothing demagogic in the MDM’s proposals. Far from trying to embarrass the government, the MDM wished to support its austerity drive. “We are proposing measures that will help the government!”, he declared. But the MDM admits it has not calculated how much money its proposals would save. Mussa told AIM that the MDM did not wish to sack any Ministry staff – so despite the mergers, the number of people employed by the government would remain much the same. Savings would therefore be minimal.For the largest opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, Saimone Macuiana protested that the government freeze on wage increases for senior state figures could not be monitored when nobody knew how much they are currently earning.“What’s the point of a wage freeze, when we don’t know how much the ministers earn?”, he asked. On this point, Macuiana was right – the salaries of senior state figures (including the President, the Prime Minister, the ministers, deputy ministers and provincial governors) are not published in the official gazette, the “Boletim da Republica”, and are not specifically mentioned in the state budget. Macuiana thus demanded that the government bring its own wages table to the Assembly.Of course, not a single deputy suggested that perhaps savings might be made by cutting their own wages. 54 per cent of the total Assembly budget approved in May consists of wages and allowances of the deputies. The average basic monthly wage of a deputy is 45,314 meticais (1,265 US dollars) – which is 13 times the largest of the current statutory minimum wages. But deputies also receive an attendance allowance, an entertainment allowance, allowances for rent, water and electricity bills, and an allowance for working in their constituencies. When these are all included, the average deputy receives payment of over 90,000 meticais per month. This is very generous indeed, given that the Mozambican parliament is a part time body with just two ordinary sittings a year (March to May, and October to December). When parliament is sitting plenary sessions are only held two days a week, from 08.30 to 13.00. Cutting the deputies’ payments by 50 per cent would provide an extra 135 million meticais for the state budget per year. It is, of course, most improbable that any such proposal will be made.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

“It has ministers that they enrich to the cost of the suffering of the people”

The old minister of the Information of the government of Samora Machel says that the Frelimo of the past was utopian e, for this saw, committed errors. As an example, he cites the “law of the Chicotada”. Equal proper itself, I rebel launched critical vehement to all those (over all of the governing classroom) that, in its opinion, they live to the cost of the suffering of the people. I  Rebelo was pronounced in these terms in reply to a fidget of a young, that it looked to know which age the opinion of the former-ideologist of the Frelimo around the corruption that if it installed in the highest spheres of governação. “The Government is an entity abstracta. Inside of the government ministers exist, national vice-ministers, directors (...). some of these are to enrich to the cost of the people. But it also has serious people. It worries what me is to see these serious and honest ones to be run of there. I know, for example, the Dr. Ivo Garrido and I know that he is not corrupt and nor is associated with the corruption, but was run of the Government. I do not perceive reason? I also know the Dr. Eneas Comiche and know of the fight that developed in the City council aiming at to finish with corruption projects (...), but it also was run”, lamented Jorge Rebelo. For I Rebelo, in the lecture promoted for the Youthful Parliament for the ticket of the 24 years after the air accident that vitimou the first President of independent Moçambique, Samora Machel, and more 33 members of its delegation, when returned of plus a mission of peace in the SADC., the country lives a crisis of values and lack of integrity references. Therefore, it has who search the reference for the combat to the corruption in religious confessions. However, the solution next is the figures of Samora and Eduardo Mondlane, therefore they had left lições and they defined the corruption as one badly to fight. “Vocês, youth, today faces a serious crisis of values. In part, they say, vocês proper, that is due to references. They look at to the return, they see or they hear to say that 14 million dollar in the BCM had been stolen, that Carlos Cardoso and Siba-Siba Macuácua had been assassinated because they knew and they could identify the outlaws, that a minister used money of its ministry to pay scholarships in the foreigner for its children (...)”. Still in the scope of the alleged absence of a worthy behavior of imitation in the actualidade, it says I rebel: “the young questions itself, but they do not find beacons for its behavior. It is as a field without beacons, each one mark golo in any part of the field and golo is valid”. However, the obsession for the enrichment inside of the pictures of the Government and old combatants are, as I rebel, a shunting line in relation to the initial behavior. “During the fight, nobody was worried in being rich, but we move”. To only give an example, Jorge I Rebelo says that in the death of  Samora Machel, the Central Comité of the Frelimo said, in a message fúnebre, that it swore to fight the corruption. The message was: “We commit to also point it the weapons with respect to inside. We will know to neutralize those that enrich with the misery”. In the optics of I rebel, the lack of reference in corruption substances and degradation of values is not alone that must worry the young, therefore also the politics drawn for the country, that are not efficient. “In agriculture, mainly, the food production is a disaster. Exactly the potato, onion and tomatoe that we eat daily are imported. The industry is practically inexistent e, as consequência, the prices are insuportáveis”, said Rebelo for who the politics for the sector are to fail. Jorge I Rebelo also recognized that, during the years of the “samorismo”, many errors had been committed. More ahead, I Rebelo said that mine they had been committed because the young governing had “utopian” ideas in the anxiety to make the country a referencial of development and social justice. Jorge Rebelo pointed three: Samora Machel, faced for the raised index of crime, arrived to convince the Assembly the Popular Republic for approval of a law, foreseeing chicotadas for the people who were accused in determined crimes. This proposal, in accordance with I rebel, created serious divergences of opinion, but it disciplines it partisan led, finally, to its approval, even so without congregating consensus. Therefore, in little time, the proposal would come to originate critical mutual in the seio of the sections of the Frelimo. I Rebelo left clearly that, even so Samora Machel was the leader of the party and by the Republic, the decisions were taken by a collegiate and solidary form.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Monday heard two radically different versions of the riots that struck Maputo and Matola on 1-2 September.Speaking at the formal opening of a parliamentary sitting, Margarida Talapa, head of the parliamentary group of the ruling Frelimo Party, condemned the violence used by the rioters. But her opposite number in the former rebel movement Renamo, Angelina Enoque, claimed the disturbances were “demonstrations” by “the people”.“Instability and violence are not good counselors”, warned Talapa. “They frighten and drive away foreign and national investors, they disturb production and the creation of wealth, they damage the image of the country, and in the end they cause losses to the Mozambican people”.She condemned the violence which had led to “loss of human life, heavy material damage, a halt to the normal functioning of schools, hospitals, factories, filling stations, shops and transport, and consequent absenteeism from work”.Talapa blamed the international financial crisis for the country’s current difficulties. “Globalisation”, she said, “has generated considerable inequalities between states and between individuals, with effects on the generalization of poverty”. No one state on its own could solve the problems that had arisen.“This is certainly a difficult moment for us”, she said. “To overcome it, we need to believe in ourselves, in our capacity, our labour and our intelligence”.She praised the measures taken by the government immediately after the riots “in search of sustainable, equitable solutions, and respecting our traditions of social justice”.These measures include a bred subsidy and a freeze on wages and allowances for senior state officials. These are temporary measures, and Talapa urged the government “to take structural measures, seeking to reposition the country’s economy, and to alleviate the pressure on many households caused by the current cost of living”.All stakeholders in society, and not just the government, had a responsibility to reduce the cost of living – essentially by increasing production. “Only by increasing production and productivity will we be able to lower prices”, claimed Talapa.For Enoque, however, the riots were the price the government paid for “lying” about the economy and for a “fictitious” balance of payments. She claimed that “social inequality, the lack of clear social policies, arrogance, abuse of power, and lack of respect for human dignity”, had all contributed to the disturbances.“The people said ‘enough!’, the people came onto the streets, seeking assistance to be heard”, she claimed. “The people found in the demonstrations a way of solving their problems”.She even claimed that the riots occurred because the people had been denied the right to strike. Renamo thus seemed unaware that only people who work can go on strike – and the bulk of the rioters were unemployed. Enoque attacked the police for using real bullets, rather than rubber ones, “not to repress the demonstrators, but to kill them”. She claimed this showed that the government does not want a competent, properly equipped police force that can defend the public.“The police should be held responsible for the deaths”, she said. “The government should at least compensate the victims of the police behaviour, which results from lack of training in the use of lethal weapons”.Enoque claimed that, through the riots, “the people fought and won. The government retreated because the people’s action was strong. The strength of the people is invincible”. In fact, the vast majority of the citizens of Maputo and Matola did not riot, and their lives were severely disrupted by those who did. Enoque appeared to disqualify them from forming part of “the people”. The second opposition force in parliament, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), did not romanticize the riots. The leader of the MDM parliamentary group, Lutero Simango, argued that the government’s anti-poverty drive is not having the desired effect, and that poor households are getting poorer.This, together with rising unemployment, and the lack of policies to stimulate food production, was among the reasons that led to the September disturbances, Simango said.As for the bread subsidy and other government measures taken in response to the riots, he said the government should not act “as if it were a fire brigade”.Furthermore, these have costs “not envisaged in the state budget”. Simango therefore wanted Prime Minister Aires Ali to explain how the government intended to pay for them. If the government was altering the 2010 budget approved by the Assembly, said Simango, then it had the responsibility to communicate this to parliament by submitting amendments to the budget.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


The Supreme Council for Sports in Africa (SCSA) on Saturday expressed satisfaction at the preparations so far for the 10th edition of the All Africa Games, due to be held in Maputo in September 2011.At the end of the second joint meeting between the SCSA, representatives of its member associations and the organizing committee for the Maputo games (COJA), the SCSA issued a communiqué indicating that its inspection team was satisfied with progress so far, but warned “there is still a lot of work to be accomplished, particularly on the Games village and other new projects”.The inspectors, said the communiqué, “recommended that there be strict monitoring of contractors so as to complete projects within the set deadlines”.The inspection team included members not only from the SCSA Secretariat, but also from the association of African Sport Confederations (AASC), the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), The SCSA Medical Commissions, and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).COJA reported to the meeting “that mechanisms were being put in place to provide for transport, protocol, accreditation, catering, medical and doping tests that will meet international standards”. The meeting urged COJA to ensure that “strict deadlines be observed for the construction of new sport infrastructure as well as for the rehabilitation of existing sport and other infrastructure”.To cut out red tape, the meeting suggested that the accreditation card for the games should also be used as an entry visa, and as a transit visa for teams crossing neighbouring countries.The SCSA and CPOJA also reminded any member countries who have not yet confirmed their participation in the 2011 games “to do so immediately”. At the closing session, the Mozambican Minister of Youth and Sport, Pedrito Caetano, admitted that the current international situation, in the wake of a major financial crisis, might be a challenge, but was not an impassable obstacle.“We recognise that the macro-economic environment that the world, and our country in particular, are passing through is to some extent a constraint. Nonetheless, it can be overcome”, he said.


The Mozambican and Malawian governments claimed on Friday that there has been “much progress” in bilateral relations in recent years, thus downplaying the signs of coolness and friction in their relations.Speaking at the end of a meeting in Maputo of the Mozambique-Malawi Joint Cooperation Commission, Malawian Deputy Foreign Minister Steven Kamwendo said that bilateral cooperation “how made a lot of headway, but there are challenges ahead of us”.He claimed that there has been “tremendous progress” in trade between the two countries, and that there have also been “some advances in transport, as in the project for the navigability of the Zambezi river”. Landlocked Malawi hopes for a new exit to the sea for its trade along the Shire and Zambezi rivers. Mozambique is also interested in the navigability of the Zambezi as a possible route for coal exports from Tete province.Kamwendo’s Mozambican counterpart, Eduardo Koloma, was also upbeat about the meeting, claiming that “very positive results” have been achieved in cooperation with Malawi.Among the challenges that Kamwendo envisaged is the establishment of a dry port in Mutarara, in Tete, on the Mozambique-Malawi border, and speeding up the Zambezi project.This friendly attitude contrasts vividly with the wild claims made last month by some Malawian businessmen that the Mozambican government was “sabotaging” the Malawian economy, echoing the allegation by Malawian Information Minister Symon Vuwa Kaunda that the fuel shortage in Zimbabwe was due to repairs on the Samora Machel bridge in Tete cityTrucks carrying fuel to Malawi from Beira have to use the bridge. But, as journalists visiting Tete could see, although the rehabilitation of the bridge slows traffic down, it does not bring it to a halt, and no truck is stuck at the bridge for days or weeks. Mozambique’s National Roads Administration and the Mozambican High Commission in Malawi both denied Kaunda’s claims. So did the Malawian Road Transport Operators Association (RTOA), whose Executive Director Shadrack Matsimbe, pointed out that the repairs on the bridge have been under way for 18 months, but the erratic fuel supply only began in August.Matsimbe added that no problem in Tete could affect imports of fuel through Nacala, in northern Mozambique, or Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania. “The fact is that we as a country are short of foreign exchange”, he saidA further ugly incident happened last year, when a Malawian police unit attacked a post of the Mozambican frontier guard in Niassa province. The diplomatic row over this forced Malawian President Bingu Wa Mutarika to cut short the visit he was making to Mozambique at the time.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has been admitted as a full member of the Centrist Democrat International (CDI).This is the grouping of right-wing parties formerly known as the Christian Democrat International, which changed its name in 2001, to ease expansion into Islamic countries.Far and away the most significant members of the grouping are the ruling parties of Germany and France – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the UMP (Union for a Popular Movement) which is the power base for French President Nicolas Sarkozy.According to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the pro-MDM newsheet “CanalMoz”, the MDM’s membership of the CDI was announced by the party’s leader, the Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, at a press conference in Beira on Tuesday.Simango had just returned from a CDI meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. The Moroccan Prime Minister, Abbas El Fassi, leads the CDI affiliate in Morocco, the Istiqlal Party. Simango said the MDM hopes to develop partnerships with other CDI members, and will count on support from them in future election campaigns.


A court in the central Mozambican province of Zambezia has sentenced two men to 20 years imprisonment for the grisly mutilation of a 12 year old boy, in order to sell his body parts to a Malawian witch-doctor, reports Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.The attack on the boy, Ruben Carlos, took place on 5 May, in the district of Morrumbala. Ruben was alone in the house, since his parents had gone to work on their fields. 23 year old Isaias Domingos, the boy’s uncle, and 38 year old Horacio Jasse, knocked on the door, and invited Ruben to hunt bush rats with them.They offered him a packet of biscuits, and Ruben went with them. But in the middle of the bush, they held the boy down and cut out his eyes and his penis. Domingos and Jasse abandoned Ruben, doubtless imagining that he would die of his wounds. They made their way to Malawi, intending to sell the body parts they had extracted to a supposedly powerful witch doctor. The price for two eyes and a penis was 100,000 Malawian kwachas – about 650 US dollars at current exchange rates.But Ruben did not die, and the police set out looking for his tormentors. The two men were detained in Malawi, in a joint operation between the Malawian and Mozambican police forces.Handing down the 20 year sentence on Wednesday in the Zambezia provincial capital, Quelimane, the judge, Jorge do Rosario Langa, told Domingo and Jasse “I hope you recognise the crime of castration you committed, and that you understand you have brought misfortune to this child for the rest of his life”.Ruben has been undergoing medical treatment in the Zambezia Provincial Hospital. The hospital director, Juleca Sumale, told reporters he will soon be transferred to Beira, to be placed in an Institute for the Blind, where he can receive specialist care and rehabilitation.


Mozambique’s relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC), has warned that flooding may be imminent along the banks of the Maputo river in the far south of the country.Discharges from dams on the South African side of the border have raised the level of the river. According to INGC director, Joao Ribeiro, cited by the independent television station STV, on Wednesday morning the river was measured at 3.48 metres – just two centimeters below the flood alert level of 3.5 metres.Ribeiro said there would be no serious risk until the river burst its banks. “That’s when we would be come concerned”, he said. “But we are monitoring the situation as it develops”.The Maputo basin is heavily used for agriculture, he said, and there are few people actually living in areas at risk of flooding.“The resettlement of people on higher ground has greatly helped reduce their vulnerability to floods”, he pointed out.Asked about the current situation of hunger, Ribeiro said that about 200,000 people are receiving food aid in the Zambezi Valley. At the same time last year about 450,000 people were in need of food aid.


The Mozambican government expects around two billion U.S. dollars to be invested over the next 10 years in key tourism projects, said tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana on Wednesday, at a meeting with the national and foreign cooperation partners of his ministry.He said that the “Arco Norte” (Northern Arc) project in the centre and north of the country is at an advanced stage of implementation.As part of this project, tourist operators in Zambezia, Nampula, Cabo Delgado and Niassa provinces will be trained in matters that will allow them to have access to funds to invest in improving their establishments. The objective is to transform the north of the country into a major tourist destination.It is also expected that “Arco Norte” will allow the creation of 141,000 new jobs over a ten year period.In Cabo Delgado, “Arco Norte” covers three top level tourist resorts in the provincial capital, Pemba, and conservation of the historic centre of Ibo Island. In Nampula, the project covers unspoiled coastline from Lumbo to Sancol, near the country’s first colonial capital, Mozambique Island, while in Niassa, tourist infrastructures are to be built on the shore of Lake Niassa.Sumbana said that the idea of the meeting with partners was to establish a platform for dialogue and for sharing information about the development of the tourism sector.


The Mozambican government and the country’s Bar Association (OAM) signed an agreement on Thursday under which a building on Vladimir Lenin Avenue in central Maputo is to be used by the OAM as its head office.After signing the agreement, the President of the OAM, Glberto Correia, said he hoped the building, a former residence, could be made ready for the OAM to occupy it before the start of the 2011 judicial year.For the government’s side, the agreement was signed by the Director of Administration and Human Resources in the Finance Ministry, Luis Guambe.Speaking at the ceremony, Justice Minister Benvinda Levy said that handing over these premises was a major step towards solving the problem of lack of offices for the Bar Association.Levy added that permanent headquarters will later be built for the Association. But until that happened, she was sure that the OAM would be able to make good use of the facilities now being handed to it.Correia declared ‘We have solved a problem which should have been solved long ago. The grant of new premises is of utmost importance for achieving the aspirations of the association”.According to Correia, the rent of the premises where the association has operated up until now costs 56,000 meticais (about 1,500 US dollars) a month. He said the OAM will be relieved of this burden as soon as it moves into the new headquarters.Initially, the government had planned to give the OAM the Vila Algarve, a striking colonial building in the centre of the city that had once housed the Mozambican headquarters of the Portuguese secret police, the PIDE.But the building had not been maintained for decades. It had been squatted in, and was gradually decaying into ruins. Restoring it to its former splendour would have been extremely expensive, and the OAM could not afford it.So the Vila Algarve remains a shell, boarded up, and slowly disintegrating, inhabited by nothing but the ghosts of the political prisoners whom the PIDE once tortured there.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Mozambique's two mobile phone operators, the publicly-owned Mcel and the South African Vodacom, are negotiating with the Mozambique post office to use its services in the registration of sim cards demanded by the government. There have been no results from the negotiations so far, but the chairperson of the Post Office board, Luis Rego, said the company understands the importance of using the network of post offices to reach areas where neither M-Cel nor Vodacom have any shops. Cited in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Rego confirmed that his company has been approached by both operators for the use of its facilities to register the largest possible number of mobile phone users, since post offices exist in most of the country’s 128 districts.Though some details are still under discussion, notably how much the two mobile phone operators will pay for these services, the Post Office has already been seeing which of its branches possess the basic material needed for registration – such as photocopiers needed to take copies of the mobile phone users’ identity documents.Although the Post Office certainly has a larger network than either M-Cel or Vodacom, it is not present in every district, let alone every administrative post or locality. The minimum requirements to carry out the government’s registration demands are electricity, a photocopier, paper and toner. Finding these in sufficient quantities in all the districts is a considerable challenge And, of course, M-Cel and Vodacom must provide the Post Office with sufficient copies of the registration forms, which must then be transported to the districts.The demand for compulsory sim card registration was sprung on the mobile phone operators by a government decree published on 15 September. M-Cel and Vodacom were given just two months to register almost seven million clients. Both companies have warned the government that this deadline is almost impossible to meet, and that the registration imposes enormous costs that they have not budgeted for.Neither M-Cel nor Vodacom have announced how many of their clients have registered their sim cards so far.


Mozambique’s Defence Minister, Filipe Nyussi, declared on Friday that maritime piracy is a growing threat to human life and to the security of states, and possibly even to international security.He was speaking in Maputo at the annual meeting between the Defence Ministry and military attaches accredited in Mozambique. Piracy off the East African coast has spread southwards from Somalia, as far as Tanzanian waters and poses a threat to the Mozambique Channel. It is also a scourge in other parts of the world, such as South-East Asia.Sharing of experiences, Nyussi told the meeting, can lead to a better understanding of the phenomenon of piracy and its consequences for socio-economic development. Turning to the question of internal security, Nyussi stressed that, due to its geographical location, Mozambique is a corridor used by traffickers in drugs, guns and human beings. “Our national borders are long and porous, and allow easy and informal transit of people and merchandise”, he said.“We have the transfer of large amounts of money to Zimbabwe, we have refugees coming from Somali and from West Africa, we have informal cross-border sale of fuel from Malawi, and illegal fishing in Lake Niassa, not to mention the constant violation of our maritime borders”, said the Minister.Many of the illegal immigrants in Mozambique, he added, were using the country as a route into South Africa, while others, notably from West Africa, had obtained forged passports of SADC countries with which they hoped to enter the European Union.
There were also illegal immigrants from Pakistan and Bangladesh who came to work in unregulated artisanal mining, or in trade. The government, said Nyussi, was seeking partnerships to help modernize the police force and fight against crime.