Monday, February 28, 2011

A bylaw passed by Maputo City Council, banning heavy trucks from driving in Maputo between the hours of 06.00 and 20.00, comes into effect on Tuesday, 1 March.The measure, introduced to tackle traffic congestion in the capital, applies to vehicles weighing over 22 tonnes, with the exception of trucks entering or leaving Maputo port which are authorised to follow a fixed route laid down by the Maputo City Council.Trucks will be able to use the national highways into or out of the city at any time since the Council has no authority over these roads.Any truck drivers caught breaking the ban will face an on the spot fine of 10,000 meticais (about 320 US dollars).


There were “about 28 cases reported” of torture and other forms of ill-treatment of prisoners in Mozambican jails between 2006 and 2009, according to Justice Minister Benvinda Levi.Speaking in Maputo at a follow-up meeting to the review of Mozambique’s human rights record in Geneva on 1 February, under the Universal Periodic Mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council, Levi said that torture in the prisons was not as widespread as sometimes claimed.She said it was a problem that deeply concerned her ministry, and that measures are taken against any prison official involved in such abuses.However, Alice Mabota, chairperson of the Human Rights League (LDH), who headed the delegation from Mozambican civil society organisations to the Geneva meeting, pointed out that the worst abuses take place, not in prisons, but in police stations.She praised Levi for cracking down on abuses in the prisons – but the police are not under the jurisdiction of the Justice Ministry. Mabota claimed that torture and even summary executions are continuing – but in police stations.Mabota urged Levi to make other members of the government aware of the need to enter into dialogue with human rights bodies. The LDH, she said, has a good relationship with the Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs – but not with the Ministries of the Interior, Health or Education.The review meeting in Geneva produced 169 recommendations for Mozambique, made by 53 countries. Levi said her delegation immediately accepted 131 of these, because they are “in accordance with our plan of government. Basically 92 of them are already under implementation”.Eight of these recommendations concerned gender equity, a further eight domestic violence, while five concerned the fight against corruption. The government was in agreement with these recommendations, and “we want to advance”, said Levi.There were several calls on Mozambique to make its National Human Rights Commission operational. Levi said this is in motion and over the next few months the government, the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, and civil society bodies should appoint or elect members to this new body.The delegation took no position on 28 recommendations. “We did not have information to take a decision”, said Levy. At the next Geneva meeting, in June, “we may be able to give a position”.Only 10 recommendations were rejected outright, one of them for the insulting language it used, which Levi regarded as “an affront to our sovereignty”. Levi did not say which country was responsible for this, but, judging from the UN record of the meeting, it can only be the United States, which had taken the opportunity to harangue Mozambique about the misdeeds of the National Elections Commission (CNE) in the 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections. The US representative then made, not recommendations, but demands that Mozambique “draft, enact and implement legislation that provides greater protection for political rights”.Two of the rejected recommendations, from Slovenia and Ghana, called on the Mozambican government to make greater efforts to reintegrate former girl soldiers into society. Levi pointed out that the war of destabilisation ended in 1992, and “anyone who was a girl then, certainly isn’t a girl now”.Switzerland called for access to health insurance for people on low incomes. Levi said the government is in no position to provide health insurance for anyone, regardless of their income. Alice Mabota thought there had been a misunderstanding and that what the Swiss delegation really wanted was an expansion in the social security systemSeveral of the recommendations (from France, Holland and Spain) called for the repeal of laws supposedly criminalizing homosexuality. These countries were clearly misled by a UN claim that the Mozambican Penal Code outlaws gay sex. In fact, neither the Penal Code, nor any other law makes any explicit reference to homosexual activity, and nobody has ever been prosecuted for same sex relations in the history of independent Mozambique. Levi explained at the meeting that, in reality, gay sex is not a criminal activity in Mozambique.An association representing gays and other sexual minorities, LAMBDA, exists and nobody has tried to stop it from holding meetings or publishing its newsletter. However, LAMBDA is angered at the refusal of the Justice Ministry to grant it registration as an NGO, an issue which Holland took up at the Geneva meeting, without success.


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Friday night urged veterans of the country’s liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial rule to continue fighting so that they may also be seen as “heroes in the victory over poverty”.Guebuza was speaking at the closing session of a meeting of the National Committee of the Association of Veterans of the National Liberation Struggle (ACLLN), in his capacity as ACLLN President.“We recognise that we fought and defeated foreign rule in order to continue fighting to overcome the new challenges that poverty imposes on us”, said Guebuza. “We recognise that we have to honour the obligation that falls on our shoulders to realise the dream of 25 June 1962, the dream of a prosperous and united Mozambique, always at peace, and with a growing prestige in the community of nations”.(The date mentioned, 25 June 1962, was the date of the foundation, in Tanzania, of the national liberation movement, Frelimo, out of a merger of three earlier nationalist organisations). Just as happened in the past, Guebuza said, the members of the ACLLN should have “faith and trust in ourselves and in the capacities of our people, demonstrated over the years, to be able to defeat poverty and build our well-being”. Overcoming poverty depended on generating more wealth, he added, and he was sure that these targets “are within our reach’. He repeatedly stressed that this year has been declared “Samora Machel Year” in homage to the country’s first President, Samora Machel, who died 25 years ago, on 19 October 1986 in a place crash at Mbuzini, just inside South Africa, a disaster widely believed to have been provoked by the apartheid military.“Once again we urge all veterans of the national liberation struggle to commit themselves to designing and participating in activities that exalt the life and work of the first President of our free and independent Mozambique”, declared Guebuza. Also throughout this year preparations will take place for the Tenth Congress of Frelimo. This event is scheduled for 23-28 September 2012, coinciding with the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the foundation of Frelimo.


The Mozambican government and Mpauto Municipal Council will decide, over the next few days, whether to liquidate the current publicly owned Maputo Bus Company (TPM).TPM covers routes in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola, with some routes extending into the neighbouring districts of Boane and Marracuene. But it is now planned to set up two new municipal bus companies, run by the Maputo and Matola municipal councils, calling the future of TPM into serious question.The municipal transport companies, which could be operating as early as the second quarter of this year, result from the continuing decentralisation of services from the central government to the municipalities. Speaking to reporters on Friday, the Mayor of Maputo, David Simango, said the municipality and the government have yet to discuss the future of TPM, and are taking into account suggestions made by the consultancy and auditing company, Ernst and Young. “We are going to discuss whether or not TPM will co-exist with the municipal transport company, but the general trend is that, with decentralisation, the old companies die and the newly-created ones remain”, said Simango .Among other questions to be discussed with the government are the payment of subsidies to the transport companies and who will deal with TPM’s current debts to the banks. The study by Ernst and Young recommends not only maintaining TPM’s current 210 routes but opening new routes. It also recommends boosting the bus fleet from the existing 273 buses to 400 or 500. The figure currently cited is that TPM only carries about 10 per cent of the 900,000 daily passengers in the greater Maputo metropolitan area (though that figure was circulating before a recent increase in the size of the TPM fleet). Most of the passengers are left to the mercy of private operators. The minibuses they use (known as “chapas”) are often in a dangerous mechanical condition and are grossly overcrowded. The number of operational “chapas” seems to have declined, which may account for the re-appearance of pick-up trucks crowded with passengers in the back, riding in uncomfortable and unsafe conditions.Simango warned that it should not be imagined that simply acquiring more buses will solve the problem. “We need to think about trains, river transport, a metro and other forms of transport, and not just the TPM fleet”, he saidAlthough such forms of transport involve heavy capital costs, the mayor said planners must think about the growth in the city’s population, the limited number of roads into and out of the city, the growth in automobile traffic and other disadvantages arising from the exclusive use of road transport.


This year, it will become compulsory for fuel companies in Mozambique to mix biofuels (ethanol and bio-diesel) into the petrol and diesel they sell to their clients.According to Energy Minister Salvador Namburete, regulations on the mixture, establishing percentages and deadlines, have been deposited with the secretariat of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), and are expected to be approved shortly.Namburete made this announcement in Maputo on Friday, at the ceremony launching a viability study on the project for Sustainable Development of Bioenergy in Mozambique. With the new regulations, he added, the government intends to stimulate the production of biofuels.“We want to create a market, to show investors that a market exists”, he said. “The mixture of biofuels with fossil fuels will be compulsory from a certain moment and is intended to induce production. The regulations are a way of stimulating investment in the market”.Speaking at the ceremony, the under-secretary general for energy and high technology in the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, Andre Amado, said that in Brazil, one of the largest biofuel producers in the world, all petrol sold must be 25 per cent ethanol, and all diesel is five per cent biodiesel. Mozambique will be the first country to benefit from a project for the Sustainable Development of Bioenergy, resulting from a partnership between the Brazilian government and the European Union.However, both Brazil and the EU are calling for a prudent approach to developing biofuels, warning that such production must be sustainable and must respect the environment. Hence the need for a viability study, which will be undertaken by the Brazilian Getulio Vargas Foundation, together with Mozambican technical staff. The study is intended to ensure alignment of the new programme with the strategies and policies already defined by the Mozambican government, and to create national capacity for the sustainability of the initiative.The study enjoys financial support to the tune of 800,000 US dollars provided by Vale-Mozambique, the Brazilian company developing an enormous open cast coal mine in the western province of Tete. Work on the study will begin in March.Several biofuel initiatives are already under way in Mozambique. For example, the publicly owned fuel company Petromoc has set up ECOMOZ (Renewable Alternative Energy). Since 2007, the ECOMOZ processing unit has produced over a million litres of biodiesel, based on coconut oil.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Thursday announced that it has begun a dialogue with the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo – but declined to say what matters are under discussion.Renamo has long demanded “negotiations” with Frelimo over such matter as annulling the 2009 elections or rewriting the 1992 peace agreement that ended the war of destabilisation.Frelimo, however, has no intention of negotiating matters that are already completely settled. The Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Mobilisation and Propaganda, Edson Macuacua, told reporters “when Renamo came and asked for negotiations, we said we don’t accept negotiations, but we will hold a dialogue with them because Frelimo is a party that favours peace, and argues that only dialogue can lead to consensus and to the development of the country”.Asked about “renegotiating” the 1992 peace agreement, Macuacua said that was out of the question. Any alterations to be discussed must respect the political order in the country, he said.Renamo decided to seek “negotiations” with Frelimo at a meeting of its political commission held in late October last year. Following this meeting Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama set up a negotiating commission, consisting of Alberto Sabe, Meque Braz, and Jose Ferreira Muivai.Meque Braz was a member of the Zambezia Provincial Elections Commission in 2009, and in the subsequent disputes over whether Renamo deputies should take their seats in the new parliament, he was an unconditional supporter of Dhlakama who unsuccessfully demanded that all the Renamo members elected should boycott parliament. Braz publicly denounced the first 16 Renamo deputies to take their seats as “traitors”.Muivai was a member of the Renamo parliamentary group in the 2004-2009 parliament. Nothing is publicly known about Sabe.Frelimo also set up a team for the discussions, but its composition has not yet been made public. Asked what the two delegations were talking about, Macuacua said the reporters should ask Renamo, since it was Renamo that raised the issues. He thought it would not be ethical for Frelimo to reveal matters raised by Renamo. “You should speak with them, and certainly they will tell you everything”, he said.Reporters from the independent television station STV took his advice, and asked the Renamo national spokesperson, Fernando Mazanga, what matters were on the agenda. But Mazanga also declined to give any details in order not to disturb what he called “”the normal course of the negotiations”.The first round of talks took place quietly on 4-5 February. Clearly there is no urgency about whatever was discussed, since the next meeting will not take place until mid-April. Macuacua said the talks are being held in Maputo, and they have no time limit.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Finally, one Mozambican municipality has decided to take a stand against the proliferation of illegal and unhygienic informal markets.On Wednesday, the municipal council in the southern city of Matola began the demolition of 197 informal stalls and shacks built illegally in Liberdade neighbourhood.Predictably, the stallholders complained to the cameras of the independent television station, STV, that they were being thrown into unemployment and would be unable to sustain their families. The demolition would lead to a rise in the crime rate, they threatened.They said the Council should have indicated somewhere else for them to set up their stalls. But they had to admit that they were warned a year ago that their occupation of the land in Liberdade was illegal, and that they should leave voluntarily.There are in fact plenty of vacant spaces available in the official, municipal markets. Informal vendors refuse to move into the official markets because they know they will have to pay taxes there.The Matola City Councillor for Economic Activities and Services, Jaime Langa, said the demolition of the illegal stalls followed countless complaints from local residents, who said that the stalls were obstructing the entrances to their homes, and were frequented by people “of dubious character” who cause disturbances. Langa insisted that the Council wants to “clean up” the municipality, and provide Matola with a fresh and attractive image.He warned that the demolitions would continue, and would next target the sprawling informal markets in the Mahlampswene and T3 neighbourhoods.


Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi told reporters in Maputo on Wednesday that the seven Mozambican students in Libya are safe, and are apparently in no danger, despite the popular uprising and government repression under way.The seven students are all living on a university campus which is a long way from any of the violence, said Baloi.The students are understandably scared since they can hear gunfire. Nonetheless they are personally safe and in good health.Baloi said the Mozambican ambassador to Egypt, who is also accredited to Libya, is in permanent contact with the students, and sends information on their situation to the Foreign Ministry in Maputo on a daily basis.“Just as happened in Egypt, we are preparing all the conditions so that, if we have to evacuate them, we can do so, guaranteeing the best possible security conditions”, added Baloi.Libya is the latest authoritarian regime in north Africa to come under popular pressure, after mass uprisings toppled the regimes of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Although most of the east of the country is now under the control of the opposition, and diplomats, generals and even ministers have defected, Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi shows no sign of resigning, and has even threatened to fight on to the last drop of Libyan blood.


Farmers in Mossurize district, in the central Mozambican province of Manica, have produced wheat, as requested by the government – but nobody has come to buy it from them.According to a report in the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, last year Mossurize produced 900 tonnes of wheat, as part of the government’s drive to step up local production of this grain and reduce imports.But the baking companies, who spend huge sums on importing wheat, could not be bothered to send trucks to Mossurize to pick up the peasants’ production. To avoid complete loss of the wheat, the Mossurize district authorities took the initiative of training the farmers into how to make wheat flour and bake their own bread.The district director of economic activities, Francisco Navalha, said this did at least solve the problem of local bread shortages, and ended the import of bread from neighbouring Zimbabwe.“Today you can see small ovens in the villages where large amounts of bread and cakes are baked”, said Navalha. “Bread has now become part of the household income”.As for the present agricultural campaign, Navalha said the farmers hope to harvest some 300,000 tonnes of crops (mostly grains and beans) grown on 278,000 hectares. Since December, rains have been falling regularly, which means that the crops are in a much better condition than at the same time in 2010.Navalha said the district had received in advance 32 tonnes of improved seeds, which were distributed free of charge to peasant farmers, with the technical assistance of rural extensionists. “So far we haven’t had any pests”, he said, unlike last year, where insect pests destroyed much of what had been sown.He pointed out that the soils in Mossurize were favourable for producing wheat and many other crops. The district’s livestock potential has led to the use of animal traction with peasants using about 16,000 head of oxen to pull their ploughs.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Although the death penalty was abolished in Mozambique in 1990, a Community Court in the central province of Manica sentenced a man to be beaten to death for the alleged theft of an ox-cart.To make matters even worse, the court took advice, not from any lawyer or other person recognised under Mozambican law, but from a witch-doctor.According to a report on Radio Mozambique on Thursday, the Community Court in Chirere locality, in the Manica district of Mossurize, after a divining session organised by the witch-doctor, ordered the suspect to be tied to a tree and beaten. He was thrashed until his back was broken – which the Radio described as the cause of death.When the complaint about the stolen cart was made, the court did not seek any assistance from the police. Instead, with the full backing of the head of the Chirere locality, Shupai Samissone, they asked the witch-doctor to cast a spell to find who was guilty.When news of this gruesome execution reached the Mossurize district administrator, Luis Chimoio, he ordered an investigation, which culminated in the arrest of Samissone.Samissone was detained, Chimoio said, because his duty was to prevent the lynching. Instead, by authorizing the use of sorcery by the court, he had contributed to the murder of the alleged thief. ”The investigation is still under way”, said Chimoio, “We want to find out the mentors and real causes of the crime. The judges of the community court and their assistants will have to face justice, but they are not currently detained”.


The chairperson of Mozambique’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Veronica Macamo, declared on Wednesday that, in the event of natural disasters such as floods, human lives must be preserved “at all cost”.She was speaking to reporters in the central town of Caia, on the south bank of the Zambezi, after she had been briefed on this year’s floods in the Zambezi Valley.“I am pleased to find that this year nobody has died because of flooding in Zambezia and Sofala provinces”, Macamo said. She thought it evident that preventive work, urging people to leave flood-prone areas, and the rescue of those few people who had been surrounded by flood waters, had worked. Macamo said she was encouraged by the high level of awareness shown by people living along the Zambezi of the flood risks during the rainy season. They had been able to combine farming on fertile soils near the river with care for their own safety.The director of the country’s relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC), Joao Ribeiro, said that the experience of previous years, and the government’s policy of resettling people at risk on higher ground, meant that most inhabitants of the valley were living in safe areas, and only returned to the river banks to farm, and after the river had subsided.The major Zambezi floods in 2007 and 2008 led to large scale resettlement, and it seems that most of those resettled have stayed in their new villages, rather than trying to live permanently again on the valley floor.Ribeiro said that, with the formation of local risk management committees, in settlements across the Zambezi basin, people now had greater knowledge of the risks, which had helped in voluntary resettlement.Nonetheless, Ribeiro said that are still around 20,200 people living in what are regarded as risky areas in districts along the Zambezi. Of immediate concern is the situation in Chinde district, in Zambezia province, at the mouth of the Zambezi, where the river is still rising.Although the Cahora Bassa dam cut its discharges on Wednesday, the earlier flood surge from the dam is still arriving at Chinde. Ribeiro said that over 5,000 people are at risk in the district.Two fibre glass boats, with 300 litres of fuel, and a rescue force consisting of four sailors and ten Red Cross volunteers, are on standby, if any evacuation proves necessary in Chinde. Further upstream, in Mopeia district, the local administrator, Simao Manuel, warns that any further rise in the Zambezi, or in one of its tributaries, the Cuacua, will put at risk 19 primary schools in low lying areas.In Mopeia too, a rescue force and two boats are on standby. This force has already evacuated 158 people, who found themselves surrounded by water in the Cocorico locality.


Portugal Telecom (PT), the largest telecommunications provider in Portugal, regards Africa as “a priority” and Mozambique as “a strategic market”, according to the company’s Chief Executive Officer, Zeinal Bava.Speaking at a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, marking the second anniversary of the launch of the PT internet portal, Sapo, in Mozambique, Bava said that PT’s ambition “is to be in the Mozambican market in the medium term” – despite the failure of its bid for Mozambique’s third mobile phone licence. Bava explained this failure on the grounds that the bid for the Mozambican licence coincided with a deal whereby PT was selling its shares in the Brazilian mobile phone company Vivo, and acquiring a stake in a second Brazilian company, Oi.PT’s resources were focused on Brazil, Bava said, and so it could not pay due attention to its bid for the Mozambican licence.But, although Brazil was the major priority for PT, this did not mean that the company was about to give up on Africa, or on Mozambique. “We think we have value to add, and we want to work with local partners, so that we can do in the Mozambican market, some of the things we have done successfully in other markets”, said Bava.He regarded Africa as “a continent with all the conditions to be the engine of growth of the world economy”. “We’re not looking just at the countries that speak Portuguese”, he added. “Our focus has to be on where there is the potential and opportunity for us to lever PT’s capacity. We have the financial flexibility that allows us to look for opportunities on this continent”. But he refused to say which countries he had in mind.As for Mozambique, Bava stressed the economic transformations under way in the country, and declared “we have a proposal of value which will be of interest to companies and to individuals”.


A relative of one of the Mozambican crew members on board the “Vega 5”, the Mozambican fishing boat hijacked by Somali pirates on 27 December, has claimed the pirates are threatening to kill the entire crew if a ransom of five million US dollars is not paid within a week – but the Mozambican government says it has received no such ultimatum.The claim was made by Tina Oliveira, sister of crew member Olivio Oliveira, who claimed she had been in telephone contact with her brother. He had warned that he only had a week to live if the government, or the owner of the vessel, the Spanish-Mozambican joint venture Pescamar, did not pay the ransom.The independent television station, STV, rang the number which Tina Oliveira said had been used to contact her. It had the correct country code for Somalia (252), and after several attempts the reporter got through.STV’s sister publication “O Pais” announced that this was indeed a contact with the pirates – but anyone who listened to the conversation on the STV Thursday night news would conclude that the man on the other end of the line was certainly not a representative of the pirate gang.First, he simply told STV that they had the wrong number. Then, when STV asked how much money the pirates wanted, he suddenly realized what the conversation was about – and demanded 500 dollars per hostage. Since the Somali pirates usually deal in sums of millions of dollars, this suspiciously low figure – which was no mistake, since the man repeated it – should have alerted STV that they were unlikely to be talking to a genuine pirate.When STV asked to speak to one of the Mozambican hostages, the man at the other end simply repeated his demand for money. A dialogue of the deaf ensued in broken English, with STV repeatedly asking to speak to a hostage, and the supposed pirate just saying “send the money”.The demand can hardly be taken as serious – apart from the low sum, there was no attempt to indicate how or where the money should be transferred.Reacting to the ransom claim, Fisheries Minister Victor Borges said the government had received no demands from the pirates.He pointed out that the pirate norm is to contact, not governments, but the companies that own the ships they have hijacked. Furthermore, the pirates had never before issued deadlines – if the pirates had indeed threatened to kill their hostages in a week, this was a break with previous behaviour.In addition to the “Vega 5”, pirate gangs are holding 36 ships. Borges pointed out that in all 36 cases the pirates had never notified governments, but had always put their ransom demands to the ship owners.Bibito Oliveira, the brother of Olivio Oliveira, claimed that Pescamar is only paying the families of the 19 Mozambican hostages an allowance of 1,000 meticais (about 32 US dollars), a month, a sum that is grossly insufficient to maintain a family.But Borges said that in reality Pescamar is paying the families the full wages and allowances of the kidnapped crew members.


Six senior immigration officials in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane were arrested on Thursday in Massinga district, accused of involvement in the falsification of passports.The six were named in a Radio Mozambique report on Friday as Bento Amaral, Fenias Rolde, Juca Bata, Teresa Alfredo, Elias Fenesa and Maria de Fátima Travo.These arrests bring to nine the number of people detained by the police in Massinga, in connection with false travel documents. The case came to light a week ago when the police intercepted a man who was in possession of 11 emergency travel certificates, all of which were forged.According to the Massinga district police commander, Acacio Machava, the man was arrested during a routine patrol. Further investigations led to the seizure of other forged documents related with passport applications.Many of the adult men in Massinga district work on the South African mines, and hence there is a great demand for passports in the district.The radio also reported that in the northern province of Niassa, 12 staff at the Public Administration Training Centre in the provincial capital, Lichinga, are facing disciplinary proceedings for corruption,The Centre exists to provide training for people who already work in the Mozambican state. The 12 are accused of accepting bribes to enroll no less than 60 students who were not state employees. The names of those accused have not been made public yet, but the director of the institute, Fernando Jone, said that some of them hold senior positions. The 60 students admitted illegally were initially suspended from the Institute, but were allowed back in once they revealed the names of those staff members they had bribed.Jone said there were also students who did not have the minimum requirement for attending the Institute – namely that they had completed 10th grade of secondary school. He has thus ordered that within a fortnight all the students must present their secondary school certificates.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Thirty Portuguese businessmen are visiting Mozambique to seek business opportunities in transport infrastructure. They are accompanying the Portuguese Minister of Public Works, Transport and Communications, Antonio Mendoza, who has been visiting Mozambique since last Friday. The business delegation met on Monday in Maputo with Mozambican businessmen at a seminar on investment opportunities. They were informed of investment possibilities in the new industrial parks to be set up in Moatize (Tete province), Mocuba (Zambezia) and Dondo (Sofala), as well as the established industrial city of Matola. They were also briefed on the Science and Technology Park under construction at Maluana, about 80 kilometres north of Maputo, the possibility of a new mineral port at Ponta Techobanine in the far south of the country, and the opportunities presented by the Zambezi Valley. According to the General Director of the Mozambican government’s Investment Promotion Centre (CPI), Lourenço Sambo, there is also major investment potential in the Special Economic Zone that is being set up alongside the northern port of Nacala.   It was noticed that the rail transport demands fresh investment due to the coal projects under development in Tete. The challenge is to explore the capacity of rail systems to respond to the demand in the country and the region as well as developing an industry for the production of wagons. For his part, Mozambican Transport Minister Paulo Zucula said the government's goal is to streamline the transport sector and to respond better to the challenges and demands that arise.“The infrastructure and transport sectors are vital for the development of any economy”, said Zucula. “At this meeting, we hope to boost those sectors so that we are able to respond more effectively to the demands and challenges facing the transport industry”. Mendonca claimed that the 30 Portuguese companies represented on this tour have proven experience. Some are already operating in Mozambique and wish to lay new foundations for their businesses. “We want the activities of Portuguese companies to help develop skills in Mozambique”, he said, and called for partnerships to be formed “on a basis of equality and mutual interest”.


A detachment of Mozambican naval marines in the early hours of Friday morning captured a vessel with 103 Somali illegal immigrants, five nautical miles from the mouth of the Rovuma River, which marks the border between Mozambique and Tanzania. According to a press release from the Defense Ministry received by AIM, the Somali migrants were handed over to the immigration authorities, in Palma, in Cabo Delgado province. The vessel, the identity of which has not been revealed, is being held at Suhavo Island, off the Cabo Delgado coast.The arrest of illegal immigrants at sea falls under the Mozambique Navy's strategy in the fight against piracy and illegal immigration.Recent months have seen the arrests of hundreds of Somalis, entering northern Mozambique by land and by sea. Those claiming refugee status are normally taken to the Maratane refugee centre, in Nampula province – but over 6,000 Somali and Ethiopian refugees are reported to have abandoned Maratane in 2010. It is widely believed that most migrants are simply using Mozambique as a corridor and their real destination is South Africa.On 5 February, the South African authorities deported to Mozambique over 400 illegal immigrants of Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi and Chinese nationalities. The Mozambican government took responsibility for them, thus accepting the South African claim that they had crossed in to South Africa from Mozambique.


Mozambique’s publicly-owned port and rail company, CFM, on Tuesday categorically denied claims by Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika that the Mozambican ports of Beira and Nacala are congested.Mutharika made the claim at the weekend, in an attempt to defuse protests against the country’s chronic fuel shortages. He was unsuccessful: several hundred people attempted to march on the government offices in Lilongwe on Monday, but were dispersed by riot police.Mutharika went on the radio and told marchers not to take any inspiration from the recent events in Egypt, where street protests toppled the dictator Hosni Mubarak after 30 years of misrule. He claimed the fuel shortages were entirely due to Malawi’s landlocked position. It had to depend on fuel reaching it via other countries, and Beira and Nacala ports were congested.The police dispersed the Monday march in Lilongwe on the grounds that it was unauthorized. Leaders of Malawian NGOs were detained for several hours, but after their release they promised to go on organizing fuel protests,“We are saying in two weeks, we will demonstrate across the country,” Undule Mwakasungula, chairperson of the Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC), cited in the daily “Nyasa Times”, said. “They will shoot us, kill us but we will not relent. This country belongs to all of us. This country is not a one man project.”The Malawian government has given contradictory explanations for the fuel shortages. More honest than Mutharika, the Finance Minister, Ken Kandodo, has told parliament that the country runs out of fuel simply because it does not have the foreign exchange to pay the suppliers. Speaking on a private radio station, the Energy Minister, Grain Malunga, said that fuel importers are no longer prepared to lend the government money. The importers are demanding cash up-front, because the parastatal Petroleum Importers Ltd, has not repaid all its debts for past fuel deliveries made on credit.That the real problem lies, not in the Mozambican ports but in the Malawian Treasury, is clear from a statement last week by the Malawian government that it is seeking a 50 million US dollar credit line precisely in order to buy fuel. The dispersal of Monday’s peaceful demonstration will do nothing to heal Malawi’s fraught relations with its major donors. The Heads of Mission in Lilongwe from France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Britain and the United States issued a statement on Saturday declaring that they “share the concerns voiced by many Malawians about certain negative trends in the country”.The most obvious of these “negative trends” is an onslaught against press freedom. Mutharika recently signed a law that will allow the information minister to ban any newspaper or publication.“As partners and friends”, the group of donors said, “we would like to recall that good governance and respect for human rights – including freedom of expression, observance of democratic principles, and freedom from discrimination – are the foundation upon which our partnership is built.”At much the same time, the German government announced that the parliamentary state secretary for economic cooperation and development, Gudrun Kopp, has cancelled a visit to Malawi scheduled for this week over governance concerns.That announcement came the day after the Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dirk Niebel, said Germany is suspending aid worth 2.5 million euros (3.4 million US dollars) because of the media bill, and the Malawian government’s refusal to discuss it. Mutharika is learning that in this case there is quite literally a price to be paid for attacking press freedom.The Malawian press has published embarrassing details about Mutharika’s recent visit to Addis Ababa for the African Union summit. The AU had arranged accommodation for Mutharika at a cost of 1,500 US dollars a night: Mutharika turned this down and took a room costing 9,000 dollars a night. The AU refused to pay such a bill, and passed it back to the Malawian government.


The governor of the central Mozambican province of Sofala, Carvalho Muaria, has promised to take personal control of inspecting the main roads in the province, reports the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”.Muaria is particularly concerned with the state of the road from Beira to Zimbabwe. Although it was rehabilitated last year, this year’s rains have reopened the potholes, particularly on the stretch between Tica and Mount Xiluvo.Speaking at a meeting of the Sofala Provincial Roads Commission, Muaria said this was the last time he would tolerate throwing public money away in filling in the same potholes, year after year.He thought that the poor quality of some roads was because road inspectors had not done their job properly. “We want the technical department of the National Roads Administration (ANE) in Sofala to monitor its inspectors so that we don’t continue to experience situations such as those along the Tica-Mount Xiluvo stretch”, Muaria said.He would therefore take it upon himself to inspect personally the activities of the Sofala ANE delegation. Muaria also insisted that all the materials used in road repairs must first be submitted to laboratory inspection.The Provincial Director of Public Works, Marcelo Amaro, said that ANE is currently filling in the potholes to restore the Beira-Zimbabwe road to its “normal” condition. He agreed with Muaria that “professionalism and inspection should always be present in undertaking public works, so that the provincial government does not spend its few resources solely on road maintenance”.Amaro said that, despite the rains, most roads in Sofala remain passable, though in some cases the journey can only be made by four wheel drive vehicles.


The Mozambican Fisheries Minister, Victor Borges, has denied that the South African government has sent a frigate to Mozambique to help combat the growing threat of piracy in the waters of the Mozambique channel.The Minister’s remarks follow reports from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) that the Pretoria government has sent the frigate the “SAS Mendi” into the Mozambique Channel. South African press reports from earlier in the month said that the “Mendi” was being prepared in the port of Durban, in readiness for deployment in the fight against Somali pirates.Speaking to reporters, Borges said he did not know where the frigate was right now. He confirmed that South Africa “expressed a wish to collaborate with us by sending a frigate that would help the Mozambican government in our efforts to patrol the coast”.Borges said there are regular consultations between the Mozambican and South African governments on security issues. He added that the Mozambican defence and security forces “take into account all offers of collaboration. The government appreciates these offers”. As for the Mozambican fishing boat, the “Vega 5”, hijacked by Somali pirates on 27 December, Borges said the Mozambican government is willing to use any information “that will help us rescue our citizens”.The crew of the “Vega 5” consists of 19 Mozambicans, three Indonesians and two Spaniards. It is owned by Pescamar, which is a joint Mozambican-Spanish fishing company. The government has had no contact with the crew since the ship was seized.Borges said the pirates have made no attempt to contact the government. He thought this was not surprising, since experience shows that the pirates make their ransom demands, not to governments, but to shipowners.He added that the government is in permanent contact with Pescamar, and with its Spanish parent company, Pescanova.


The shortage of LPG cooking gas in Mozambique for the past month was due to problems in the refinery in the South African port city of Durban that supplies the gas, according to a statement from the Ministry of Energy issued on Tuesday.The Durban refinery shut down for repairs, but the supplier continued to honour its contract with Mozambique by making gas available from a second refinery, in Cape Town.However, Cape Town is much further away than Durban from Maputo. For a truck laden with gas, the round trio from Durban to Maputo takes at most three days – but from Cape Town the journey time triples to nine days. “The consequence of this situation is restrictions on the availability of gas for Mozambican citizens”, said the Ministry.Matters were made worse when truck drivers went on strike in South Africa. Since the gas could no longer go by road, the supplier used rail transport, which takes even longer from Cape Town.Under normal conditions, the Mozambican market consumes 36 tonnes of cooking gas a day – 75 per cent of the gas is consumed in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola. The Energy Ministry regretted that the sudden shortage of cooking gas had led to hoarding and speculation by some traders. It urged the municipal authorities and the public at large to redouble their vigilance and to denounce anyone taking advantage of the shortage to charge illegal prices.The Ministry was optimistic that the situation will soon return to normal, since the Durban refinery has resumed its operations.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared in Maputo on Thursday that improvements in the premises for key institutions in the country’s justice system should be reflected in improved performance.He was speaking after inaugurating new buildings for the Attorney-General’s Office and for the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC), much larger and better equipped than their old premises.The buildings would provide better working conditions for the prosecution services, said Guebuza, and he wanted to see this translated into better performance from all the staff of the two institutions.The new buildings were built with a soft loan of 21.8 million US dollars from the Exim bank of China. The Chinese contractor, the CCM/Complant consortium, began the building work on 1 November 2008, and handed over the completed buildings on 28 November 2010, within the two year deadline.Guebuza said that the two buildings express the commitment of Mozambique and China to the struggle for the well-being of their two peoples, and give further substance to a relationship that dates back to China’s support for Mozambique’s war for independence from Portuguese colonial rule.For his part, the Chinese ambassador, Huang Sun Pu, said that, in addition to their striking architectural beauty, the two buildings are “an unequivocal symbol of the cooperation between the two countries in the fight against crime”. The larger building is the new headquarters for the Attorney-General’s Office. Conveniently sited, directly in front of the Supreme Court, it is 11 storeys high and has a car park that can hold 67 vehicles.The new GCCC offices are about five minutes walk away, in a three storey building overlooking the Bay of Maputo.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


The cholera epidemic that has affected the central Mozambican city of Chimoio, the capital of Manica province, since December last year has now spread, albeit on a minor scale, to the districts of Guro and Sussundenga.According to a report in Wednesday’s issue in the Maputo daily “Noticias”, 54 cases of cholera have been diagnosed in Manica, the overwhelming majority of them (50) in Chimoio. The two confirmed deaths from cholera also took place in Chimoio.Three cases have been diagnosed in Sussundenga and one in Guro, without any deaths.The Manica provincial health director, Juvenaldo Amos, told “Noticias” that he considers the situation stationary, since no new cases have been recorded for three days in Chimoio. The latest case in Sussundenga was diagnosed 10 days ago, and the sole case in Guro two weeks ago. He said that the province is on high alert and preventive measures are being taken. Cholera treatment centres have been reactivated in all districts, while the authorities are mobilising the population to observe collective and personal hygiene measures, regarded as crucial for preventing the disease. Among other measures, Amos announced the ongoing chlorination of water from traditional wells within Chimoio city and affected districts. The chlorine disinfects the drinking water – a key measure since contaminated water from unprotected wells is a major source of infection. The Manica Provincial Governor, Ana Comoane, met with Chimoio municipal and community officials on Tuesday to appeal for strengthened preventive measures and compliance with recommended hygiene measures. “It is worrying that Manica is considered a source of cholera in the central region,” she added. She said that chlorine, while fine for disinfecting water, is not sufficient to halt the spread of the disease, since it can also be transmitted in contaminated food.“Cleanliness and hygiene is the key to our success in the fight against cholera. Is it not repugnant to eat bananas and just throw the skins on the ground?” she asked, recommending that the municipal and community authorities should make people aware that the disorderly disposal of garbage encourages the spread of disease.As for other deaths that have occurred outside hospital, after the victims have suffered from acute vomiting and diarrhea, symptoms that sound suspiciously like those of cholera, Manica health officials say these cannot be definitively confirmed as cholera deaths, since the necessary laboratory analyses were not made.


In the pit below us, giant vehicles are moving hundreds of tonnes of earth and rock to expose the coal below.
A huge mechanical shovel picks up what is known, in mining jargon, as the overburden, and quickly fills up a truck. But these are not trucks for normal roads – the smaller ones move 140 tonnes, and the larger ones 240 tonnes. Behind the trucks a tanker containing 80,000 litres sprinkles water on the paths to keep the dust down.Such gargantuan machines had to be brought here in pieces and assembled on site. It took 780 loads to bring all the components from the South African port of Durban to the western Mozambican province of Tete, and each journey took 14 days.This is Benga, in the Moatize coal basin, less than an hour’s drive from Tete city. We are standing on the rim of a large hole, which is a few metres deep. It doesn’t look much like an open cast coal mine yet, but officials of the Australian company, Riversdale Mining, are confident that in September Benga will be sending shipments of hard coking coal to world markets.Moatize is perhaps the last great unexploited coal basin in the world. Under Portuguese colonial rule, the coal deposits were barely scratched, and only small amounts of coal were excavated from a couple of underground mines. Serious exploratory work could only occur once the war of destabilisation was over in 1992.Companies such as Riversdale, and the Brazilian mining giant Vale, drilled across the basin, and proved that much of Tete province sits on vast seams of coal, containing many billions of tonnes of reserves.In some places, the rivers flowing through the province have exposed the coal. Outcrops of coal can be seen on the banks of the Zambezi, and of one of its major tributaries, the Revobue. Here at Benga, the coal was just 10 metres below the surface. During the exploration Riversdale drilled 279 holes across the 24,000 hectare Benga concession. The cores taken from those holes showed that the coal seams are between one and 20 metres thick.25,000 cubic metres of overburden are excavated per day from the Benga pit, and the amount will increase as more giant machines are assembles and join the work. No Mozambican had ever handled machines this size before. Riversdale bought in 40 Thai technicians to drive the vehicles and train Mozambican drivers. First, the Mozambicans work on a simulator at the Riversdale training centre, and then they are sent to the field to sit beside their Thai trainers in the vehicle cabs. So far five Mozambicans have graduated to sitting beside the Thais, and one by one, as their skills are proved in practice, they will take full responsibility for the machines. Within a few months Riversdale believes there will be enough trained Mozambicans to operate all the machines, and the Thais can be sent home.In all, 1,286 people have been trained and are ready to start construction of the mine proper and its various facilities. For specialist skills, 473 have been trained externally (by South African and Australian specialists). A further programme is about to start to train 70 artisans (including mechanical fitters, boilermakers and electricians) who will maintain the plant, and the 45 “process operators” who will run the Coal Handling and Processing Plant (CHPP).All the preliminary requirements for mining at Benga were obtained last year. The government granted Riversdale the mining concession at Benga for 25 years, renewable for a further 25, and the Ministry of Mineral Resources signed a mining contract with Riversale, At the same time the necessary Environmental Impact studies were approved, giving the green light for the Environmental Licence, without which no significant mining project can operate in MozambiqueMining the coal itself will begin in March. For a few months, the coal will be stockpiled and then conveyors will take it to the CHPP, where it will be washed, sorted and sized. So far all that visibly exists of the CHPP is a few steel pillars – but all the equipment is on site, and it is now just a question of assembling it. The deadline for commissioning the plant is September, and later that month the first coal from Benga will be shipped from Beira to Riversdale’s customers.The plan for the first year is to produce 5.3 million tonnes of “run of the mine” (ROM) coal. This is the coal before it has been treated in any way. Once it has been sorted, the final product, for export or for domestic use, will be around two million tonnes a year. Riversale expects to ramp ROM production up to 10.6 million tones a year in the second phase and eventually, if all the logistical problems can be overcome, to 20 million tonnes a year.The Riversale Executive Director Anthony Martin points out that Riversdale has more licences in the Moatize basin than any other mining company. Next door to Benga is Riversale’s Zambeze project, which is even larger. While there are proven reserves of four billion tonnes at Benga, at Zambeze the figure is nine billion tonnes.Riversale has a further 16 exploratory licences scattered across Tete province. Martin recognises that Riversale cannot simply hold these in reserve. If it does not work on them, the government will take them back. So exploration to establish the coal reserves is going on in all of them, despite difficulties in access to the more remote areas.Martin says that Benga will produce three types of coal – world quality hard coking coal, for use in the steel industry, export quality thermal coal, and lower grade thermal coal for domestic use (notably for a coal fired power station which Riversdale plans to build at Benga).The coking coal market is continuing to expand thanks to growing demand in China, India and Brazil. Australia is far and away the largest supplier of coking coal – but Martin envisages Mozambique becoming a significant player with in a decade and a half. His prediction is that by 2025 “Mozambique will be established as one of the world’s new sources of first class coking coal”.It will be competing with other newcomers such as Indonesia, Russia and Mongolia. Furthermore there is enough coal in the Moatize basin, accessible at relatively low costs, to keep mining operations running for a century or more.Although a much larger company, Rio Tinto, has made a takeover bid for Riversdale, Martin insists that this will change nothing on the ground in Mozambique. Riversdale-Mozambique will continue as it is now, he says, with the same name, the same staff, the same operations, and the same calendar for developing the mines.
Rio Tinto has offered to purchase the shares of all the existing Riversdale shareholders. Martin declined to speculate on whether the shareholders will all accept – but he pointed out that, as one of the world’s largest producers of coking coal, Rio Tinto is well placed to maximize the value of the Moatize basin resources, and has the funds to support the development of gigantic mining projects.


After personally inspecting the Sena railway line that links the Moatize coal basin in the western Mozambican province of Tete to the port of Beira, the chairperson of the publicly-owned port and rail company, CFM, Rosario Mualeia, has declared that not a single kilometre is up to scratch.Accompanied by a group of journalists, Mualeia traveled the entire length of the line on Monday and Tuesday. The line, sabotaged by the apartheid-backed Renamo rebels during the war of destabilisation, was supposedly fully rebuilt by the Indian consortium RICON. RICON, the majority shareholder in the Beira Railroad Company (CCFB), was supposed to deliver the line, ready for use, by September 2009. After repeated delays RICON/CCFB declared that the work was ready on 31 January this year.A deeply skeptical Mualeia decided to look for himself. He told the Maputo daily “Noticias”, at the end of the visit, “My greatest unhappiness is that I couldn’t see a single kilometre, out of the 554 kilometres of the line, which can meet the standards laid down in the contract”.The government gave RICON, on 24 December, a provisional notice that it intends to rescind the Indian consortium’s contract. Under the terms of the contract itself, RICON has one last chance – it will retain its position in CCFB and its management of the Beira rail network if, within three months (i.e. by 24 March) it corrects all the faults in the line.Mualeia did not see how that could possibly happen. “There is a great deal of work still to be done, and bearing in mind that the independent engineer will certainly point out other aspects in his inspection, I don’t believe that the contractor, however great its efforts, can complete the work on time”.Mualeia said that RICON has neither the financial resources nor the skilled manpower to complete the job by 24 March – particularly as much of its equipment is out of order. He thought it inevitable that the government would definitively cancel the RICON contract.He added that the most serious defect he had seen concerned the ballast. Track ballast consists of the stone on which the tracks and sleepers are laid. It holds the tracks in place, and facilitates drainage – of crucial importance during the Mozambican rainy season.Poor and uneven ballast, as seen on Mualeia’s visit, means that rails fall out of alignment, thus greatly increasing the risk of derailments. Mualeia also pointed to the lack of drainage channels. Inadequate ballast plus no drainage channels means that storm waters will stay on the line. If the line is seriously flooded, the ballast will be contaminated with soil, and might be washed away.The contract also envisaged rehabilitating all 17 stations along the Sena line. But Ricon has only managed to complete work on two of them. Work on others has gone at a snail’s pace. Thus the construction of a new station building at Caia began last August – but as of Monday had not proceeded beyond the foundations.If the contract is indeed cancelled, RICON will be compensated for the investment it has made. However, most of the investment in the line to date has come from outside funding agencies – 104.5 million US dollars from the World Bank and 50 million euros (68 million dollars) from the European Investment Bank (EIB). Between them, the CCFB shareholders (RICON and CFM) have invested 48 million dollars.When RICON departs, management of the line reverts to CFM, which must ensure that, by September, the line is ready to take six million tonnes of cargo a year. It is in September that the first trainloads of coal exports from Moatize are expected to travel down the Sena line to Beira.Mualeia spoke last week of CFM seeking a new partner for the Sena line – but did not say who he had in mind. Cited in Wednesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, Mualeia ruled out leasing the line to any of the companies mining coal in the Moatize basin, on the grounds that this might lead to a conflict of interests between the company given the lease and the other mining companies.


The publicly owned ports and rail company CFM has taken the step of taking journalists to the provinces of Sofala and Tete to show that the Sena railway is not ready for use, despite claims to the contrary by the Indian consortium Ricon.During the 600 kilometre journey from the city of Beira to the town of Sena, journalists were shown building work at railway stations that has not been completed, with various problems including poor drainage. In addition journalists saw sections of track lacking ballast and equipment in a very poor state, according to Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper “O Pais”.In the stations of Semecuesa and Berundi, 55 kilometres out of Beira, journalists noted misaligned rails, with some points either having too much or not enough ballast. As a result there are humps in the track in some sections.“The problem of a lack of drainage means that there is no guarantee that the route will be secure and passable in times of heavy rain. The absence of clean ballast in the correct amount can stop rainwater from seeping through. Of course, given the large volume of coal expected to be transported, this could create operational problems” explained CFM’s director of communications, Antonio Lebombo.Of the stations situated between Beira and Sena, only Muaza and Ihamitanga have been finished. In the opinion of Lebombo, along with other shortcomings, this is an indication that the Sena line is not fit for traffic.According to the chairperson of CFM, Rosario Mualeia, his experience of working with Ricon over the last six years has led him to believe that they will not conclude the rebuilding of the Sena line in the time stipulated, due to the technical and financial incapacity of Ricon. As a result Mualeia argues that they should return the management of the line to CFB by 24 April.On Tuesday the journalists left Sena for the town of Moatize, in the province of Tete, along the remaining 258 kilometres of line.In 2004 the Indian consortium of Rites and Ircon (Ricon) won the international tender to manage the Beira rail system, which consists of the Machipanda line from Beira to Zimbabwe, and the Sena line from Beira to the Moatize coal basin. The Beira Railroad Company (CCFB) was then set up, in which Ricon is the major shareholder with 51 per cent.Key to the lease was that CCFB/Ricon had to rebuild the Sena line to a standard that could carry millions of tonnes of coal exports a year from Moatize.But Ricon kept missing deadlines. It had promised to deliver the Sena line, fully rehabilitated, by September 2009 – but when the line was still not ready by December 2010, the government set in motion the procedures to cancel the Ricon contract.Ricon then promised to finish all major work on the line by 31 January, but this promise was not enough to prevent the government from notifying Ricon on 24 December that it intended to terminate the lease.


The National Refugee Support Institute (INAR) has blamed Somali asylum seekers for destabilizing the Maratane refugee centre, in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula.One of the complaints is that Somali refugees enter and leave the centre without fulfilling the formalities in place. Danilo Mangamela from INAR in Nampula told Radio Mozambique that there had been some degree of order when the centre was only accommodating asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda.
However, with the current influx of Somali refugees the situation has changed considerably, giving way to chaos.He complained that there are people involved in illegally receiving and transporting these immigrants to unknown destinations.Mangamela also blamed Somali refugees in Maratane for breaking the rules established by international treaties for refugees. Questioned about the number of Somali immigrants entering the centre, Mangamela said that it is difficult to estimate the number of refugees as they come and leave in large numbers. According to the authorities over 6,000 Somalis and Ethiopians left the camp in 2010.Somali and Ethiopian refugees frequently enter northern Mozambique, and most are believed to be on their way to South Africa. In the last few weeks the police have detained hundreds of these migrants, but have not halted the flow.On 4 February there were 510 Somali asylum seekers in the Maratane centre.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Beginning of the end of the colonial empire began 50 years ago

Translate the colonial war in numbers is risking. There will be three thousand corpses overseas. Here, live, more than half a million ex-combatants, five thousand people with disabilities. There are no certainties. The unique is that the 4th of February 1961 marked the beginning of the end of the Portuguese colonial empire.Today, we all recognize that the war did not make sense. At that time, 50 years ago, left convinced that the reason was on the side of the metropolis. Moved the patriotism in which they were educated, was for the war and in strength, defend national territory, serve the motherland, give life by country. Tugas against turras. Felt invincible, and even if it were otherwise, both did, hadn't alternative military service was required. About 11 thousand soldiers died there, in former Portuguese provinces, killed, shot, shattered. Three thousand have been abandoned, nobody knows for sure. The other, live only today 540 thousand (more about 130 blacks, who will live there, but that the Portuguese law not considers strangely), with more than 30 thousand injuries, came back convinced that would be embraced as heroes. "Come under fire, arriscámos life, fought for freedom, have done what the country asked us politician. What should we expect? ", asks, rhetorical, José Carvalho, 59 years, two of Guinea. But the medals received were only visible in some cases, scars, discrete in others, but they toldaram forever life.Erupts through a weekly lunch of ex-combatants adentro, Matosinhos, lunch as there are so many by that country below, and realizes that they are the ex-combatants to take care of each other, which are even they who take account of the remnants in places where fought. Raise money, buy food, medicines, send there and there, in Guinea, already built two water wells. The Portuguese State faz de conta, or, if it doesn't, hides very well."The ex-military Portuguese were abandoned. We are orphans of motherland ", complains José Manuel, sexagenário dourense venture, the Commission of 28 months met in Guinea. "When we arrived, the hardest was the social reintegration. Erámos caught in war was the expression that is used, "he says. Finding work was complicated. Many were lost, others converted to alcoholism, data on ex-combatants homeless homelessness are as disparate as all figures to the colonial war. In any case, versions oscillate between 100 and 300.
It was recently published a study on the "war wounds: (In) justice silenced", coordinated by Colonel of artillery in booking John Andrade da Silva. The JN, the investigator explained that the surprise of the workplace, based on a sample of 3020 complaints received at the Ministry of Defense, between 1997 and 2006, was realizing "that most complainants refers to physical and emotional problems not." If these cover 29%, multiple trauma injuries or reaches 52%. This shows "the degree of inefficiency Diagnostics then conducted. Between 20% and 40% were wrong or were optimists ". Nevertheless, it does not have "been abandonment of military". "Proof that the system is generous is that recognized the 25% disabled status of the armed forces". Research, even though it looks like a rock in the pond, there is consensus. Source linked associations of ex-combatants is considered "too close". And it says have difficulty believing "that the problems of stress are not greater than the physical". This is also the theory of ex-military contacted by JN. "Our wounds have no name. Married without saying to my wife that I was in the war. And never talked this until there are half a dozen years. " Confession the appellant. Nobody is proud of what made, everyone liked to have a switch that they shut down the memory. The stories, as the metaphor of onion, only reveal consciousness when the recorder turns off. Irreproduzíveis-and are impossible to digest. "There is no cure for this", they say.(JN)


The Special Economic Zone located in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, centred on the port of Nacala, could register investment totalling 160 million US dollars this year in the fields of industry, tourism and agro-processing, according to the Maputo daily “Noticias”. This is a huge jump compared with last year when only about 15 million US dollars was invested.According to Salim Talaquichande, of the Office for Special Economic Zones (GAZEDA) in Nacala, this year’s investment will create about seven thousand permanent and seasonal jobs.However, interviewed by “Noticias”, Talaquichande explained that he did not have the data to state the number of jobs created in the construction activity currently under way.Talaquichande emphasised the positive impact on the life of the many families whose members have jobs in local industry, tourism and services, even if such jobs are only seasonal.Nacala Port and the neighbouring district of Nacala-a-Velha form the main part of the Special Economic Zone, which offers a number of fiscal and non-fiscal benefits.In the face of the growing investor interest in implementing their initiatives in Nacala, particularly in the fields of agro-processing and tourism, GAZEDA felt the need to create two Industrial Free Zones at the end of last year.The office created an Industrial Free Zone at the administrative post of Locone covering 176 hectares and another at Munhoene covering 330 hectares.Nacala is of particular interest to investors partly because of plans to repair the rail link between the port and Zambia and Malawi, opening up Nacala’s hinterland. A proposed new rail link from Nacala, through southern Malawi, to the Moatize coal basin would also enable coal from the huge reserves in Tete province to be exported through Nacala.


The Mozambican authorities have issued a temporary ban on the import of meat from several South African provinces, following an outbreak of Rift Valley fever in South Africa.The provinces covered by this measure are Gauteng, Free State, North-West, and the Eastern and Western Cape.The Ministry of Agriculture says that the ban (covering cattle, goats and sheep) also extends to Botswana and Namibia.Jose Libombo Junior, the deputy national director of livestock services, explained that the ban on imports includes all by-products from these animals from South African establishments not approved for exports. However, live animals may be imported from the South African provinces not covered by the ban (Mpumulanga, Kwazulu-Natal and Limpopo) as long as all the normal animal health requirements are obeyed.Libombo added that among measures under way in the country are visual inspection of herds, and the provincial and district livestock services should be on the alert.Rift valley fever is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes which primarily affects domestic livestock, but can also be transmitted to humans. Most people who catch the disease recover within a week, but death results in about one per cent of cases.Fatality rates are much higher among animals, and the disease always causes pregnant animals to abort. In humans, symptoms include fever, generalized weakness, back pain, dizziness, and weight loss.


The Somali pirates who hijacked a Mozambican fishing vessel, the “Vega 5” on 27 December are demanding a ransom equivalent to 59 million meticais (about 1.8 million US dollars) as a condition for the release of the crew, consisting of 19 Mozambicans, three Indonesians and two Spaniards, according to a report in Saturday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.The paper’s sources are relatives of the Mozambican crew members who say that the pirate gang transmitted the ransom demand to the company that owns the “Vega 5”, the Mozambican-Spanish joint venture, Pescamar.The Pescamar management has refused to talk to journalists about the matter,However, the management could not avoid talking to the relatives in the “Vega 5”’s home port of Beira, and told them about the ransom demand. But they did not say whether they were going to meet the pirates’ demands.“We are only praying that everything goes well”, said one of the relatives, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The money they are asking for is a lot, but we think the lives of those who are in the hands of the pirates are more important than any monetary sum”It seems that the pirates have avoided contact with the Mozambican government, preferring to deal directly with the owners of the vessel. This week Fisheries Minister Victor Borges said that the government had been unable to make any contact with the crew of the “Vega 5”, and had received no communication from the pirates.


Maputo Municipal Council has flatly denied the claims made on Thursday by the spokesperson for the Municipal Police, Enoque Paulo, that unlicensed vehicles are now allowed to carry passengers during the morning and evening rush hours because of the acute shortage of transport in Maputo.Paulo initially made this claim to the independent television station, STV. On Friday, the Maputo daily “Noticias” contacted him, and he reaffirmed that, as an exceptional measure, the unlicensed mini-buses will be allowed to operate between 06.00 and 09.00 and between 15.00 and 20.00.Even in the middle of the day, between 09.00 and 15.00, when there is not such a heavy demand for transport, the police were considering allowing the unlicensed vehicles to carry passengers, as long as they operated the whole of the recognised routes and did not shorten them.But this tolerance of unlicensed vehicles had not been cleared with the Municipal Council itself. The municipal councillor for transport, Joao Matlombe, categorically denied that the Council had given any authorisation for vehicles not licensed by the Council to carry passengers at any time of day or night. On the contrary, he told “Noticias”, that the Municipal Police had been given instructions to step up their activities against the unlicensed operators. The Council, he added, was reorganising transport in the city, and it made no sense to strike any kind of deal with operators whose vehicles are illegal. He stressed that no order had been given to the Municipal Police to tolerate the unlicensed minibuses. The vehicles in question are mostly 15 seater minibuses, and the Council announced more than two years ago that such vehicles would no longer be licensed. Instead, private transport vehicles should have seats for at least 25 passengers.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


The authorities of the Limpopo National Park (PNL) in southern Mozambique fear that well-organised gangs of poachers are driving to extinction the small rhinoceros population in the park.Vino Macamero, the PNL official in charge of protecting its wild life, cited on Radio Mozambique on Friday, said that a wildlife census in 2010 found that ten rhinos, introduced into the park three years ago, were missing. Macamero feared that they had fallen victim to the poachers, who are well equipped and work with international criminal gangs. Rhinoceros horns are sold in Asia where they are considered a powerful aphrodisiac and fetch enormous prices.The belief that rhino horn will boost sexual prowess is particularly idiotic, since the horn is made of keratin, which is exactly the same substance found in human hair and nails. Chewing your fingernails will have exactly the same effect on your sex life as eating powders made of rhino horn – none at all.It is not only credulous Asians who believe in the magical powers of rhino horn. A “traditional doctor” named Kantona Hawa has been distributing leaflets on the streets of Maputo promising “rhinoceros horn powder to increase the size of your penis”. This charlatan has not yet been arrested.Poaching is a serious threat to the continued existence of both species of rhinoceros (black and white) throughout southern Africa. In 2010, according to the South African authorities, 300 rhinos were slaughtered for their horns in that country. Recently, seven black rhinos were poisoned or shot in Zimbabwe. ”This is an alarming situation, and the government is aware of it”, Macamero told the radio.


The South African Navy announced that it is preparing a force to patrol the Mozambique Channel to cope with the threat of attacks on vessels by Somali pirates. That force will comprise a frigate and a logistical support vessel that will remain in the Mozambique Channel for over a month. On board the frigate will be members of the South African Navy’s elite force and military helicopters, which will fly over the region on what are described as routine missions. The sending of the force, which will be in the waters of the Mozambique Channel within the next two weeks, comes in response to the attacks perpetrated by Somali pirates along the East African coast, culminating in the hijacking of a Mozambican fishing vessel, the “Vega 5”, on 27 December.South African military experts fear that the pirates are now regarding the Mozambique Channel as a gold mine, where they can launch their operations without facing any problem. Meanwhile the European Union Mission against Piracy in the Indian Ocean (ATALANTA) announced on Friday that pirates had freed a Taiwanese fishing boat, the “FV TAI YUAN 227”, which had been seized in May 2010, with 28 crew members on board, when it was about 700 nautical miles northwest of the Seychelles. ATALANTA claimed that among the crew members of the Taiwanese vessel released were several Mozambicans, along with Chinese, Vietnamese and Kenyan citizens. This, however, came as a surprise to the Mozambican authorities. Fisheries Minister Victor Borges said he knew nothing about any Mozambicans on board that vessel. The government had received no communication about them of any kind from any quarter.As for the “Vega 5”, with its crew of 19 Mozambicans, three Indonesians and two Spaniards, the last that was heard of it was that it was in Somali waters. Borges said the government had been unable to contact the crew, and no communication has been received from the pirates either.


The Mozambican Minister of Industry and Trade, Armando Inroga, on Friday declared that the Mozambican business class is still unaware that profit comes from increasing the number of goods sold, and not simply from hiking their prices.Inroga was speaking at a meeting where he drew up a balance sheet of the festive season and of the working visits he made last week to establishments in Maputo city and province.Inroga said that lack of awareness of how real businesses make their money was behind the trend for prices to rise during the festive season, while in other countries businesses often reduce their prices at times of peak demand.For the 2010 festive season, the government introduced measures that were supposed to stop prices from rising. For example, customs duty on imported foodstuffs was reduced, because it was charged on an artificial “reference price” and not on the real price that importers paid for their goods.In return, the importers were supposed not to exceed the prices earlier agreed with the government. But, by and large, the importers failed to keep to their side of the bargain. The government strategy failed, and Inroga now recognised this fact.The traders appeared to win, because, in some cases, they got away with doubling their prices. The consumers lost, and some of them simply refused to buy goods when they considered that the prices were extortionate – which is why tonnes of potatoes rotted in Maputo markets.The state also lost out, because it collected much lower customs duties than would otherwise have been the case.“There were difficulties in complying with the government’s directives to avoid price increases in the festive season. Private businesses continued to charge high prices”, said Inroga. “We wanted sales in December, as happens in other parts of the world”.There was no awareness of the importance of selling large amounts of goods relatively cheaply, he said. Instead, when demand increased the trend was for operators to increase their prices.In December, “when people received their wages, the demand for products rose, and the operators increased their prices”, said Inroga. “The following week demand declined, and prices recorded a slight fall. After the festive season, low prices continued. But when the state paid the 13th month (the New Year bonus, equivalent to an extra month’s wages, paid this year in the second week of January), prices took off again, and now they’re coming down”. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE) in December inflation, measured by the Maputo Consumer Price Index, was 3.48 per cent, the highest monthly rate in three years. This pushed the January-December inflation rate to 16.62 per cent.
           "My father (Samora Machel) didn't like being bajulado. Didn't want to have employees who agreed with everything he said. He liked to hear the views of those who said that "this is wrong". "Liked to hear what he called independent opinion." It was with these and other words that the eldest son of Samora Machel, recalled his father in Xai-Xai, in Gaza Province.Samora Machel Junior spoke on behalf of the family of Samora, on the day on which the Government finalized 2011 as the ' year of Samora Machel», inaugurating the statue of the first President of Independent Mozambique, in that city.More known by Samito, the son of Samora spoke of his father in almost all spheres. Spoke of Samora leader, President, committed to the people, with the country and the southern region of Africa. But his speech was different from other praises the first President of Mozambique, when began to speak of "Samora father".He said he needed "one minute to speak of Samora father". This minute, recalled that her father "was demanding behaviour". Wanted-the "clean" and especially "didn't want feel different because they are children of the President".Was when he spoke about the character of his father who Samito froze the stage to say that Samora "disliked being bajulado".The words of the son of Samora had a deeper reach for permits that were directed to subtly present head of State, Armando Guebuza, whose character is associated with the cult of personality.Even at the ceremony of evocation of Samora Machel, heard repetitive cries of "viva Guebuza, enlightened leader and clairvoyant" by discursantes which can be taken by "toadies".