Friday, April 29, 2011


Tempers flared in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Thursday when opposition deputies tried to revive the discredited diplomatic cables signed by former US charge d’affaires Todd Chapman, which accuse senior Mozambican political figures, including President Armando Guebuza and his predecessor, Joaquim Chissano, of involvement in drug traffickingThe cables were published on the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks last year. They cast fascinating light on the bungling and incompetence that passes for diplomacy in the United States, but provided nothing that could be regarded as any startling new revelation about crime and corruption in Mozambique.Most of the truthful claims about drug trafficking in Chapman’s cables are years old and were originally published in the Mozambican press. The rest is cocktail party gossip, careless factual mistakes and downright fabrication.The longest and most detailed of Chapman’s four cables contains a number of sensational claims, including an allegation that Guebuza took a kickback of up to 50 million US dollars during the handover of the Cahora Bassa dam to Mozambican control.Chapman said these claims were imparted to him in a conversation with an unnamed businessman. So on Thursday, in the debate on the annual report to the Assembly from Attorney-General Augusto Paulino, Renamo revisited the Wikileaks cables, and demanded that Paulino investigate them.Armindo Milaco retailed several of Chapman’s claims against Guebuza, and declared categorically “the Americans are not lying”. The American embassy itself, however, steadfastly refuses to make any comment on the leaked cables, and will not say whether anything contained in them is true or false.Milaco claimed that Paulino is afraid of “the great barons”. He cited as one such baron businessman Momade Bachir Sulemane, accused by the Obama administration last June of being a drug “kingpin”. Bachir’s name was added to the US list of narco-traffickers, although he loudly protested his innocence.In his report, Paulino said that, in response to the American allegations, a team from the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC) was set up, under the supervision of a prosecutor, to investigate the facts. That investigation is still ongoing, and has involved contacts, not only with the Americans, but also with other, unnamed countries with expertise in drug trafficking. No charges have been laid against Bachir, or anyone else, but the main point of the exercise, as far as Paulino was concerned was to verify how bodies such as the airports, ports and customs services are functioning, and to take steps to prevent future trafficking.
Such arguments did not impress Renamo. “There are untouchables in Mozambique”, declared Milaco.He’s right – and one of the untouchables is Armindo Milaco. For in 2005, the police in the northern province of Cabo Delgado issued a warrant for the arrest of Milaco, in connection with riots that followed a disputed mayoral by-election in the town of Mocimboa da Praia, in which at least 12 people died.But Milaco did not see the inside of a police cell, and has never answered for his role in the riots. Instead, he disappeared to Maputo. Now, as a deputy, he enjoys immunity from arrest – and to date the prosecutors have not asked the Assembly to lift Milaco’s immunity.The repeated attempts by Milaco to link Guebuza with drug trafficking infuriated the benches of the ruling Frelimo Party. Joaquim Verissimo accused Renamo “of undermining the culture of peace and of distorting history”. They were dancing to the tune “of their bosses – the enemies of yesterday are the enemies of today”.Milaco had spoke repeatedly of the Americans, “but this is a Mozambican forum”, said Verissimo. “He’s working for his bosses”.The head of the Frelimo parliamentary group, Margarida Talapa, said she was “absolutely indignant” at the baseless allegations against Guebuza based on nothing but gossip and bad faith. She urged Paulino to prosecute Milaco for defaming the head of state. This would be possible, since a clause in the 1991 state security law classifies libeling key figures of state as a security offence. However, any such move could well backfire, transforming Milaco into a martyr. Other Frelimo deputies to whom AIM spoke doubted the wisdom of such a move.Renamo immediately accused Frelimo of giving orders to Paulino. They retorted with renewed demands that Paulino investigate the Wikileaks claims, but did not explain how anyone can investigate documents whose authors, American diplomats, refuse to talk about them.The head of the Renamo group, Angelina Enoque, claimed that Talapa had made a “threatening appeal” to the Attorney-General in order to silence Renamo’s voice. “We cannot accept threats”, she declared.Paulino, however, made no promises to either side. “We will give the matter due treatment”, he said.As for the open claims by Renamo that Bachir is “a great criminal”, Paulino warned that the Mozambican legal system is “totally committed to the presumption of innocence”. The constitution enshrined the principle that all accused persons must be presumed innocent until proved guilty in a court of law. To date Bachir had not been charged with anything, and so could not even be considered a suspect.
“We operate on the basis of facts, of case files, and not on the basis of presumptions”, he stressed.But where Renamo had alleged specific facts, his office would investigate. Thus Milaco had claimed that two Renamo offices in the central province of Zambezia had been burnt down by community policemen, one on the instructions of the local district administrator. Paulino assured the Renamo benches that he had taken note of these claims.(Paul Fauvet)


Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali on Wednesday swore into office the Director-General of the newly established Zambezi Valley Development Agency, Roberto Albino, who was formerly head of the government’s Centre for Agricultural Promotion (CEPAGRI).The Zambezi Valley, covering 225,000 kilometres, encompasses all 12 districts in the central province of Tete, nine districts in Zambezia province, seven in Sofala and four in Manica. About five million inhabitants, which is about 23 per cent of the country’s total population, live in the valley.The Valley holds the largest reserve of water in the country, stressed the Prime Minister at the swearing-in ceremony. As a result “it has a huge capacity to generate energy and has excellent conditions for agriculture. In particular it has a high potential for grains such as rice, maize and wheat, and cash crops such as tobacco, cotton and sugar cane”.It is estimated that the Valley has the potential to grow rice over an area of 600,000 hectares in a region with strong traditions for this type of cultivation.
Ali said it will be up to the Development Agency to present strategies for the economic and social development of the Zambezi River basin and to provide technical and financial assistance to development initiatives in the region.“The Director-General of the agency whom we swore into office today has the task of collaborating with the provincial and local governments, to ensure that the enormous potential we have can be exploited in a sustainable and balanced way” said Ali.The agency, according to the Prime Minster, should pay urgent attention to giving all the necessary technical assistance for the government to intervene with the greatest efficiency and effectiveness in agricultural production and in exploiting the Valley’s full potential, promoting development throughout its territory.“In this context, the agency will inherit from the former Zambezi Planning Office (GPZ) all its agricultural and transport equipment, which should begin immediately to be used for agricultural production and marketing” said the Prime Minister.Ali also pointed out the need to accelerate the construction of three agro-industrial units to process cotton, maize and rice, in the districts of Guro (Manica province), Angonia (Tete) and Namacurra (Zambezia) respectively.Last November the Governor of Manica, Ana Comoane, laid the first stone of the cotton processing factory in Guro. The factory was due to open in March, and will process cotton from Manica, Tete and Zambezia.The factory is owned by the Mozambican company SOGIL, and is part of a 50 million US dollar investment programme which will also see the construction of the maize processing facility and rice processing factory.The three facilities are being funded by the Chinese Government in line with the partnership of friendship and solidarity which has been built between China and Mozambique.“The expectations are enormous. There is a need to increase the pace of implementing projects that can, in the short and medium term, respond to the wishes of the people, covering food production, income generation and the creation of work for youth”, explained Ali.


The Italian company “BioEnergy” is to invest 20 million dollars to grow the shrub Jatropha in Sabie, in the southern Mozambican district of Moamba.The jatropha seeds will be exported to Italy to be processed and transformed into biodiesel.The cultivation began in October 2008 with just ten plants. Today the project has about 5,300 plants covering an area of 70 hectares, according to a report in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.The objective, according to Joao Colombo, an agricultural technician linked to the project, is to expand the project to cover 120 hectares with an additional one and a half hectares dedicated to the plant nursery.Colombo said that the aim is to gather 200 tonnes of jatropha each season for transformation into biodiesel.Once this production is guaranteed the company will advance to the second phase of the project which consists of building a factory in Moamba to process and transform the jatropha into biodiesel.Colombo said that the opening of this unit will result in biodiesel being made in the country, sold locally and also exported to Italy.At the beginning of the project the company tested seeds from Brazil, India, the Dominican Republic and Tanzania. However, the best seed was a Mozambican variety which produces two kilos per plant.The project to grow jatropha in Moamba employs 31 permanent staff and a further 40 seasonal workers.


At least seven children were killed between February and April by hyenas in Mandimba district in the northern Mozambican province of Niassa.The attacks, according to a police source, are more frequent in the Mitande administrative post and Chicolone village, where farmers and their children prefer to sleep outdoors, preventing their tobacco from being stolen overnight.The most recent case cited in the Beira daily newspaper “Diario de Mocambique', occurred in Mitande where a hyena attacked four children of the same family, one of whom died on the spot. The three other children were seriously injured, and taken to the Mandimba district hospital. But the severity of their wounds makes it likely that they will be transferred to the provincial capital, Lichinga. The police source said that since the first case was reported, in Kuangua village, where a seven year old was attacked by a hyena, a study was conducted to raise awareness for people to avoid sleeping outdoors, but the communities have chosen to ignore this guidance.“So far we have had seven deaths and three seriously injured children”, said the police source. The Police offered three guns to the villages where the incidents occurred for them to kill the hyenas. But to date no hyena has been shot.Hyenas are generally regarded as scavengers, but there are many reports from across Africa of hyenas attacking sleeping humans, particularly children.


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza has appointed prominent businessman Hermenegildo Gamito as the new chairperson of the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.Although the 67 year old Gamito is by profession a jurist, in recent years he has been better known for his business and political activities. He was once the chairperson of the state-owned People’s Development Bank, and is currently the chairperson of First National Bank-Mozambique, the Mozambican branch of the South African FNB. He chairs the Mozambican Association of Banks.He is also a past chairperson of the mobile phone company Vodacom-Mozambique, and remains a member of the Vodacom board.Gamito was a deputy for the ruling Frelimo Party in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, from 1994 to 2009. He chaired the ad-hoc parliamentary commission that amended the 1990 constitution, producing the constitutional amendments passed in 2004.Gamito received his law degree from the Classical University of Lisbon. On his return to Mozambique, he taught fiscal law at Maputo’s Eduardo Mondlane University, and he was also a judge on the Higher Appeals Court, the predecessor of the current Supreme Court.Gamito’s appointment to the Constitutional Council must be ratified by the Assembly of the Republic. He will then have to drop his business positions, in order to avoid any conflict of interest.Gamito takes over from Luis Mondlane, who resigned from the Constitutional Council on 17 March, after the Mozambican press had exposed his use of Council funds for personal expenditure, including paying off the mortgage on his house. Mondlane is currently facing disciplinary and possibly criminal proceedings over the alleged abuse of his office for personal gain.


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday urged the country’s publicly-owned mobile phone company, M-Cel, to link in its management questions of financial interest and profit, with those of national sovereignty.Guebuza was speaking at the inauguration of the new M-Cel headquarters, an 11 storey building covering an estimated area of 6,800 square metres, in central Maputo.M-Cel was the country’s first mobile phone operator, and Guebuza acknowledged that “being the pioneer and the largest operator brings with it many challenges”.Ensuring that the company ran at a profit was essential, he said, but M-Cel should also safeguard “aspects of national sovereignty, digital and social inclusion and development”.Guebuza urged M-Cel to ensure national coverage, continual improvement in the quality of its services, and the offer of more products with added value.He added that the Mozambican government will do all in its power to continue to create a business environment that is ever more attractive to national and foreign investment.The new building represents an investment of about 680 million meticais (about 22 million US dollars) financed by a loan from the country’s largest commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM.


The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) has reacted with “great disappointment and concern” at the decision earlier this month by the European Commission to include all airlines registered in Mozambique on the European Union’s blacklist of air companies that are not allowed to fly in European airspace.An AFRAA release received on Friday notes that Mozambique is the 14th African country to receive a blanket ban on all of its airlines.The excuse invoked to justify the ban is air safety. Yet the main Mozambican air company, the public owned Mozambique Airlines (LAM), has a far better safety record than several European airlines.AFRAA points out that since LAM was established, in 1980, it has not had a single major accident, and since 1989 there have been no accidents of any kind involving LAM aircraft.This compares very favourably with some major European airlines. For example, according to the Flight Safety Foundation, Air France has had 23 major accidents (involving substantial damage to aircraft, serious or fatal injuries) since 1990, three of them with fatalities, and a total of 348 deaths. The AFRAA release points out that LAM “has worked hard and invested significant resources to attain industry best practices on safety which enabled it to attain the IATA Safety Audit Certification in 2007 which was renewed in 2009”.But the praise heaped on LAM by IATA, and its achievement of the internationally reputed IOSA Certification and ISO 9000 Certification, “has not spared it from the EU blanket banning”. The attitude of the European Commission puzzles AFRAA, for the continental organisation cannot see “how such blanket banning contributes to encourage African carriers which strive to achieve industry best practices in safety standards”. AFRAA points out that the banning of an airline “not only prohibits the airline from operating to the EU but also impacts its ticket sales to other destinations including on code shared routes as travel agents”. This is because the banned company’s code share partners in the EU “are required by regulation at the time of sales or booking to notify passengers that the airline is blacklisted”. AFRAA describes the use of blanket bans as “a blunt instrument that constrains the development of a viable African air transport industry in Africa”. Furthermore, the beneficiaries are always European airlines “that swiftly step in to fill the vacuum and take the market share of the banned airlines”. There is a dose of hypocrisy here – for the EU argument is that the safety procedures of the Mozambican Civil Aviation Institute (IACM) are defective, and logically this should affect all airlines who use Mozambican airspace, and not just those that are registered in Mozambique.“If the airspace of an African country is unsafe, it is unsafe also for European carriers who continue to fly the African skies for commercial benefit”, AFRAA remarks. AFRAA suggests that African governments, the African Union and the African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) “should not allow this state of affairs to continue, as the continents’ air transport industry is being progressively destroyed”. AFRAA wants governments an civil aviation authorities “to address the serious safety oversight deficiencies and concerns in the States blacklisted and to seriously and meaningfully engage with the EU to establish a mutually acceptable, fair and transparent mechanism to address safety concerns in place of the unilateral blanket banning, which has so far not yielded any meaningful achievement in advancing safety in the continent”.The blacklist, it argues, has no visible benefit in improving African air safety, but has “huge negative commercial implications not only on the carriers concerned but on African aviation in general”.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Malaria remains the main cause of death in Mozambique, despite a reduction last year in the number of malaria cases, Health Minister Alexandre Manguele declared on Monday.Speaking at celebrations of World Malaria Day, Manguele said that in 2010 the country registered about 3.3 million cases of malaria, which was a 21 per cent reduction compared with 2009.Cited in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Manguele said that the number of deaths from malaria had fallen by about 25 per cent – but work was still needed to reduce these numbers still further.One immediate measure, he urged, was to step up the distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets and ensure that they were properly used.Another was to intensify spraying of homes against mosquitoes in the worst hit areas. Manguele promised that mass distribution of bed nets in the provinces would soon start, prioritizing areas that had not benefitted from spraying.Speaking at the same ceremony, Mozambique’s first lady, Maria da Luz Guebuza, said that malaria contributes to heavy economic losses, high rates of absenteeism in workplaces and schools, and consequent low productivity.“Our challenges should include the promotion of health and community involvement through advocacy and social mobilization, and the design and implementation of programmes to prevent and fight against malaria”, she stressed.In his message to mark the date, the regional director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Luis Sambo, said that by the end of 2010, 11 African countries had reduced malaria cases and deaths by over 50 per cent. They include Algeria, Botswana, Madagascar, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Namibia and South Africa.


The Commission of Inquiry set up by the Mozambican Interior Ministry to investigate the brutal attack by members of the riot police on unarmed security guards who were demonstrating against their employer, Group Four Securicor (G4S), has reached the preliminary conclusion that they “acted in bad faith in the use of excessive force”, according to the spokesperson for the General Command of the Police, Pedro Cossa.   Cossa, who is a member of the Commission, told reporters on Tuesday that disciplinary proceedings are under way against five members of the riot police.“There are indications that some police agents acted in bad faith”, he said. “Disciplinary hearings are under way, and it is expected that criminal proceedings will also be opened”,The violence erupted on 6 April, when about a hundred off-duty security guards demonstrated outside the Maputo offices of the G4S human resource department, claiming that they had suffered unjust deductions from their wages. The demonstrators broke windows, tore up fencing, and set fire to tyres outside the building. The regular police were unable to control the crowd, and so somebody – it is still not clear who – called in the riot police.What followed were scenes of extraordinary brutality, caught on camera by Mozambican television crews. The riot police hurled themselves at the unarmed protestors, and set about beating with their truncheons anyone they caught.Although the protestors did not resist arrest, the beating continued, and television viewers could clear see how utterly defenceless protestors were beaten mercilessly.
Cossa said that the riot police platoon sent to G4S consisted of 12 men, and there was sufficient evidence to hold five of them responsible for the brutal onslaught against the demonstrators. He added that, as the investigations continued, it was possible that more members of the platoon would find themselves facing disciplinary or criminal proceedings.The behaviour of the riot police has been criticised from all sectors of Mozambican society, including by Interior Minister Alberto Mondlane himself, who ordered a thorough investigation.After all the policemen involved have been fully questioned, the Commission of Inquiry is expected to draw up a final statement on the matter.


Three Mozambican citizens were arrested last week for attempting to bribe policemen, according to the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Pedro Cossa.Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, during his weekly press briefing, Cossa said that one of those arrested, in the northern province of Nampula, had been trying to traffic nine illegal Asian immigrants.Stopped by members of the traffic police, he offered them 45,800 meticais (about 1,500 US dollars) to let the vehicle with the migrants continue its journey southwards.The two other cases involved motorists attempting to bribe traffic cops to overlook infringements of traffic regulations. In the more serious of these cases, in Maputo, the motorist offered a bribe of 20,000 meticais. In the second case, in Manica province, the bribe offered was the modest sum of 100 meticais. In both cases, the bribes were rejected and the motorists arrested.Cossa said that during the week 1,011 people had been detained. As usual, the great majority of these – 792 – were picked up for crossing the border illegally. Over the same period 127 Mozambicans were repatriated from South Africa.Cossa also said that there were 60 traffic accidents over the week 16 - 22 April, which also resulted in 43 deaths, 39 serious injuries and 82 minor injuries.The accidents were caused by excessive speed, dangerous overtaking, pulling out in front of other cars and the careless crossing of roads by pedestrians.The Easter week is a peak period for travelling on roads, with increased local traffic being joined by tourists travelling by road from South Africa. Cossa’s figures did not include the weekend of Easter Sunday itself – it is feared that when these figures are available will show further carnage on the roads.Cossa said that over the week the police stopped 15,316 vehicles, arrested 27 people for illegal driving and seized 123 vehicles for various irregularities. 3,239 fines were imposed for various violations, and 387 driving licences were confiscated for speeding and drunk driving.


Payment of wages to people who do not exist has been uncovered in the central Mozambican province of Manica, where 46 “ghost teachers” were found in three of the province’s districts, reports the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”.Investigations have been under way since last year to ascertain the true number of people working in Manica schools.According to the provincial governor, Ana Comoane, to date this work has uncovered the names of 46 “ghosts” who were pocketing wages. She said this list included the names of teachers who had died, and people who had never been teachers at all.Comoane said the investigation is continuing, and will cover all districts to ensure that Manica can be free of this type of theft, and that no more money is paid to people who are simply impersonating teachers.This is a recurrent problem in Manica. In 2009, about a million meticais (31,000 US dollars at current exchange rates) was siphoned out of the state treasury in Manica in this way. That scandal led to the detention of several senior civil servants in the provincial finance and education directorates.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


The selection of Mozambican football, "Mambas" defeated its counterpart of Tanzania for two balls to zero, the match friendly event played on Saturday night to mark the inauguration of the National Stadium Zimpeto, the largest sporting infrastructure built their nation after independence goals scored the victory were both mentioned by Jeremiah Sitoe, or simply "Jerry" in the first and the second half of the meeting. The goal of the first half was the result of a pass from Charlie Chaplin as the shot aimed at the replenishment period resulted from a cross of the Mambas Campira.Os two goals, scored on Easter night, when many Catholic Christians for neophytes became reborn with Christ risen during the baptism, also conferred the sacrament of the National Stadium Zimpeto thanks to triumph in the match inaugural.Desta made, the goals of Jerry, the Muslim League player, will be indelibly recorded in the annals of history the magnificent sporting infrastructure which saw its capacity (42,000 spectators) challenged by fans of the sport that digest that new sports venue to be part of festa.Na fact, afternoon and Saturday night are of high historical value, for resurrected in memory legal, several important aspects of the heroic period of great deeds and the Mambas, whose victory was achieved with a mostly young team to evolve within the país.Aliás, simply noted that the matches in the country with adequate lighting took place in the late 80, hence this meeting with night football never ceases to be a cause for great enthusiasm.  The afternoon baptismal National Stadium began with a musical whose menu consisted of a mixture of two generations of Mozambican artists, among them Wazimbo, Mwita Julia, Julia Duarte, Marlene, Roger MC just to name a few. MC Roger, with the trendy theme "Boss", drew repeated applause and deafening screams of the spectators in the stands, especially when your image (dancing) passed the screen gigante.Enquanto Mozambican artists paraded on the big stage, the paratroopers challenged the heights in its flight flying the national flag, for the happiness of thousands of supporters and guests who were already in the stands of the stadium waiting to nobre.Mas because the sun did not stop its march toward leisurely sunset, Armando Guebuza, in unmistakable its model of strict management of time, arrived at the Stadium to begin the historic ceremony, accompanied by Governor of Maputo City, Lucilia Hama and members of governo.Guebuza unveiled the tombstone. Government officials and the diplomatic corps accredited in Mozambique who accompanied mainly from China (development workers) hit palmas.O sea of ​​people inside the stadium that followed events overseas via the giant screen with high resolution, also rejoiced joy. The governor of the city's ambassador to China, the Mozambican Minister of Youth and Sports, and finally the Head of State stressed in their messages, the value added that the new, modern national stadium will give the development of sport in the country.The fireworks fireworks show was a veritable sea of ​​people and challenged the capacity of the new stadium was filled with joy, dancing animated in the stands, blasting the "vuvuzelas" and was blowing stronger that ever saw their silhouettes on a giant screen in interior estádio.Durante just over 10 minutes the heavens from the National Stadium Zimpeto glowed in colors that convey a sense dazzling optical and fans filled the stadium stood, so to say, that Saturday night was indeed a night of celebration not only of Maputo, but the entire country, which receives a child that will boost the sport in the country. In the opening game, the Mambas staged a triumphant performance to win the "Taifas Stars" for two balls without response, a result that quenched and opened the hosts for a festive weekend, given the victory in the baptism of the new "theater" selecção.No the end of the first half of the match, there was space for young people who will represent the country in the X-Africa Games in athletics 100, 400 and 1500 test the levels of physical fitness before the biggest sports festival continental.No resumption against the Mambas of the mark when they were returned after 11 minutes, a result that would remain unchanged until the final whistle. Arbitration Simango Hleko entrusted to the neighboring Kingdom of Swaziland was the height of the events. More fireworks, fireworks in the final curtain.


The waterfalls in the southern Mozambican district of Namaacha, on the border with Swaziland, are now being managed by the South Africn company Green Resort, according to a report in the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”.The waterfalls are one of the main tourist attractions in Namaacha, and Green Resort has a contract to manage them for 50 years. In addition, the National Directorate of Forestry has granted Green Resort an area of 3,000 hectares to be reforested.According to the mayor of Namaacha town, Jorge Tinga, farming the area out to a private investor is intended to provide more attractive facilities. The company, he said, has guaranteed that it will maintain the water circulation system that feeds the falls, and will construct leisure centres for visitors to the falls.“The municipal council preferred to hand over management to a private company, because it recognises that it has no vocation for running waterfalls and forests”, said Tinga.“With the new management, we hope that tourism will take its due place, with visitors contemplating one of the most attractive points in the municipality”, he added. Maputo provincial governor Maria Jonas, who visited Namaacha on Wednesday, noted that tourism is “a sleeping wealth” in this area, which could bring many gains to the municipality if properly exploited.


The Mozambican authorities cancelled 18 mining licences in the first quarter of this year in the northern province of Nampula, because the operators concerned were considered dishonest.Cited in Friday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias, said inspection of the mining areas led to the discovery of irregularities. The only measure that could be taken under the circumstances was to cancel the licences, she said.“Some operators who were granted licences for research and exploration are using the licences to extract and sell minerals”, she explained. “This deprives the state of funds, since they do not pay the sums due for the exercise of this activity”. Other operators, Bias added, are involved in fraudulent schemes, presenting her ministry with projects for values that do not correspond to the activity proposed. Thus a Chinese company had claimed it wanted to exploit titanium-bearing heavy sands, for a period of 15 years – but the investment proposed was only 30 million US dollars, and so the Ministry threw the proposal out.


Mozambique’s relief agency, the National Disasters Management Institute (INGC) has spent only 30 million meticais (slightly less than a million US dollars) out of the 120 million meticais allocated to the contingency plan for dealing with possible disasters during this year’s rainy seasoAlthough floods did occur on several of the main rivers, they were nowhere near as serious as had been feared, and so three quarters of the money allocated was not spent.Speaking on Thursday, at the end of a meeting of the INGC Coordinating Council, the INGC’s general director, Joao Ribeiro, said the money was mostly spent on monitoring, pre-positioning of resources for dealing with disasters, search and rescue operations and humanitarian assistance.Drawing up a balance sheet on the rainy season, Ribeiro said that in the initial months (October to December) 18,500 people had been affected by storms and floods. He said that only two deaths could be attributed to the floods. 120 classrooms and three health units were damaged by flooding.“In general, the intervention of the emergency operational centres was assessed as positive, and involved government institutions and cooperation partners”, he said. Local authorities and risk management committees had responded promptly, and took preventive measures so that the situation caused by the heavy rains would not worsen.There was significant flooding in the Zambezi Valley, but Ribeiro said only 119 households had to be resettled and supported. This is an indication of the success of the resettlement programmes that followed the Zambezi floods of 2007 and 2008. Most of the tens of thousand of people resettled then have staying in their new homes on the high ground, and have not tried to move back to flood-prone areas.In the second phase of the rainy season (January-March) there were also floods on the Limpopo and Incomati rivers in the south. These were the most serious floods since 2000, and affected 23,632 households. Ribeiro put the death toll from this phase at three.

Monday, April 18, 2011


The main instrument in the fight against poverty is work, declared Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Saturday.Speaking at a rally in Chicutso locality, in the southern district of Magude, as part of his “open and inclusive presidency”, Guebuza said that it is not by begging that the country can fight poverty.“We can’t build wealth by begging”, he stressed, warning that those who are always asked for money might become tired of such requests and stop giving.Guebuza attacked those who spread rumours and intrigues to justify their failure to do any work. “While others are working, the lazy are asleep”, he said. “But when harvest time comes, they begin to launch intrigues and try to denigrate those who work, calling them witches”.He claimed that fear of the scaremongers and intriguers led some people who are able to acquire goods not to do so. He urged them to abandon their fears, “Don’t be afraid of creating wealth”, insisted the President. “Breed livestock, cultivate crops, buy yourselves cars”.At the rally, Chicutso cattle farmers complained of stock theft and sought support from the authorities to bring the situation under control. “There’s a war that must be won, and it’s the war against cattle thieves”, declared one such farmer, Armando Ubisse, urging the police to collaborate with the community to stop the thefts.Ubisse said he was disappointed by the performance of the police, and accused them of protecting the rustlers. “When we surprise the thieves, the police do not collaborate”, he said. “Sometimes they even blame the people who surprised the thieves”.Chicutso residents also asked Guebuza to ensure that electricity reaches the localities of Magude district, and called for vehicles to be allocated to the police and to the local health post. They also wanted another border post to be opened on the frontier between the district and South Africa.


Cotton produced in the current agricultural season will fetch a price of at least 15 meticais (about 50 US cents) per kilo, higher than anything offered to cotton farmers over the past two decades.According to Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias” the decision was taken during a meeting in Nampula between the buyers and producers, chaired by Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco. In November a similar meeting agreed an indicative price of only 10 meticais a kilo.The current agricultural campaign is on course to yield 70,000 tonnes of raw cotton, which when processed will result in about 26,000 tonnes of cotton fibre worth approximately 100 million US dollars.Prices are high on the international cotton market, and over the last two weeks have reached 4,500 dollars a tonne.Unlike previous negotiations on minimum prices, this meeting is said to have been dominated by positive dialogue and understanding between the two sides. The National Forum of Cotton Producers (FONPA) proposed a minimum price of 16 meticais a kilo, while the Cotton Association of Mozambique (AAM), representing the purchasing companies, proposed 14.5 meticais.Pacheco said that the increasing price of cotton fibre on the international markets represented a challenge to the cotton producers to accelerate the adoption of new technologies to increase their yield per hectare.He welcomed the fact that the producers and the buyers have arrived at an agreement on a minimum price that reflects the market trend. It is hoped that the consensus will stop the decline in cotton production which involves around 20,000 farmers. Poor prices in previous years have led many to abandon cotton in favour of other, better paying, crops.
The district of Muidumbe, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, was on Friday linked to the national electricity grid by the publicly-owned electricity company, EDM.The connection of Muidumbe to the grid is part of a larger project to spread the network across Cabo Delgado province. This part of the project consisted of the construction of 70 kilometres of 33kV power cables and two transformer stations.The electrification of Muidumbe will result in the linking of 232 new clients to the grid, including the district hospital, school, and local government offices.After Muidumbe work will continue with electrifying the district of Nangade and the villages of Auasse, Mbua, Diaca and Miteda.The electrification of Muidumbe brings to 101 the total number of districts electrified out of the country’s 128 districts.On 31 March Quissanga, also in Cabo Delgado, became the 100th district to be linked to the grid.


Eight associations of farmers who supply sugar cane to the Xinavane sugar mill in Maputo province on Saturday accused the company management of violating its legal obligations to the producers.The associations brought their complaints to the notice of Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, at a rally he addressed in Magude district, near the sugar mill.Infanio Cossa, representing the associations, said that among various irregularities, the Xinavane management refused to sign any contract with the farmers, which they regarded as a clear violation of Mozambican labour legislation.“We are eight associations covered by the project of expanding the area planted with sugar cane, that the Xinavane company is undertaking”, said Cossa. “However, our view now is that the company not only expropriates our land, it also pays us practically nothing for the sugar cane we produce”.Cossa pointed out that part of the expansion of Xinavane sugar production is due to the farmers, who sell the company tonnes of cane every year.He claimed that the farmers are grossly underpaid for their cane, and the company “pays us whatever it wants to pay. They often offer us a sum that does not correspond to even half of our production costs”. Infanio Cossa added that when the farmers demand their money, the management of the sugar mill reacts negatively, claiming that it has deducted from the price paid the costs of the various support provided to the farmers during the growing season. However, Cossa said that these costs supposedly paid by the company “never existed”. He claimed that the management “talks of paying wages for a year, but we didn’t receive any wages. He said the claim that the company provided the farmers with transport were also untrue – the farmers live near the sugar cane fields and so do not need any transport from the company. The costs reported by the sugar mill also include allegedely large amounts of fertilizer sold to farmers, which is also denied by the associations.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


The Secretary-General of Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Ismael Mussa, on Friday confirmed his resignation from that position in the country’s second largest opposition party.Mussa was appointed March last year as MDM secretary-general.'I submitted my resignation to the party leadership. The process is still running and I would not like to comment now on the reasons behind that decision. I promise to explain everything to the last detail once everything is over”, said Mussa cited on Saturday’s issue of the daily paper “Noticias”. Mussa, however, explained that this decision does not mean that he will leave the party, stressing that he would continue his activism in the party, and keep his seat in the Assembly of the Republic, the Mozambican parliament.He also pointed out that there is poor environment within the party, stressing that he was not the only one wishing to quit the governing bodies of MDM. 'Everything points that Joao Colaço, member of the Secretariat of the party, and Dionisio Quelhas, member of Strategic Planning Board, also have expressed their desire to quit from those positions,' he said.Mussa refused to make further comments, promising to release further details next week. News about Mussa’s resignation and his replacement by Bernabé Nkomo were brought to the public by the independent weekly “Savana”.Bernabé Nkomo is the author of a biography Urias Simango, MDM’s president’s father, once the deputy president of Frelimo, but accused of treason and executed after independence. Mussa is a university lecturer, and holds one of the eight parliamentary seats won by the MDM in last October’s parliamentary elections. Like most of the core leadership of the MDM, Mussa was once a member of the main opposition party, Renamo. He resigned from Renamo in May 2009.


The governor of the central province of Zambezia, Itae Meque, has threatened to expel foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are operating illegally in the region.According to Meque, these NGOs have failed to provide information to the relevant authorities concerning their activities. Most enter the country and begin working in communities, but fail to improve the living standards. Therefore, warned the Governor, he will take the matter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with a view to ban these NGOs.The claims are supported by the Forum of Non-Governmental Organisations in Zambezia (FONGZA). Marcos Amaral, FONGZA coordinator, told the newspaper “Noticias” that over 10 national and foreign NGOs have been found working illegally, under the cover of foreign religious organisations, but with funds granted by donors.According to Amaral, the NGOs appear to be small, but the total sum of money involved is considerable. Despite dealing with large sums of money, the socio-economic impact of these NGOs is negligible.The NGOs begin by identifying the areas where they will carry out their activities. They then look at the needs of the target group. However, once in possession of the donor funding to carry out the work, they fail to report the funds to the government and go to the districts to work under the cover of being religious organisations.Both the government and FONGZA have no database of the activities carried out, which further complicates the process of planning on the regions where assistance is most needed.“There are a number of districts with NGOs doing the same thing, while in other districts there are none”, said Amaral, urging both national and foreign non-governmental organisations to register their activities.Amaral said the solution to this problem requires a tripartite intervention involving government, FONGZA and civil society.Currently, there are 30 registered NGOs working in Zambezia in the areas of agriculture, social welfare, education, water and sanitation, health, emergency and institutional support.


The governments of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Botswana on Friday initialled a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of the tripartite project to develop a deep water port at Techobanine, in Mozambique’s southernmost district of Matutuine.The project to develop the port and build a rail link to Botswana and Zimbabwe would cost an estimated seven billion US dollars. It would take ten years after work begins, which could be perhaps as early as next year.The memorandum was signed by Mozambican Transport Minister Paulo Zucula and his counterparts from Zimbabwe (Nicholas Goche) and Botswana (Frank Ramsden).Speaking to journalists after the signing of the accord, Zucula said that the private sector has already guaranteed access to the necessary finance, and was just waiting for the formal commitment to be given by the three nations.Zucula pointed out that the feasibility study has been completed and stated that he was certain that work would begin next year.The minister said that the Techobanine project comes at a time when there is a regional boom in the extractive industries, with large discoveries being prepared for exploitation.“The transport and communications sector plays an important and determinant role, since the viability of exploiting these resources depends on our capacity to bring them to market”, pointed out the minister.He believed that this project will also reduce the significant deficit in the region's transport infrastructure, which is one of the main factors in the high cost of consumer products.Meanwhile, the Botswanan Minister of Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden, said that an efficient transport system will guarantee conditions for rapid economic growth.After acknowledging that the project will boost the Botswanan mining sector, Ramsden stressed that “we need economic freedom, not just political freedom”.For Zimbabwean minister Nicholas Goche, the project will bring many gains for his country and Botswana”.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Wednesday inaugurated a new terminal at Vilankulo airport, in the southern province of Inhambane.The larger and more modern terminal, costing 10 million US dollars, was built to meet the needs of the growing number of tourists visiting the region. It is expected that the new facility will further promote the development of aviation and tourism.Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, President Guebuza appealed to the residents of the town and district of Vilankulo to look after the new facility because it will open new opportunities and serve as a boost to local development.“This new terminal will increase tourism, which will in turn create the conditions for more employment”, said President Guebuza.
He pointed out that there will be more business opportunities for the town’s residents. He argued that most people arriving by aircraft will need to be transported to the town and other places.Furthermore, he continued, although Vilankulo has hotels, there are still not enough to meet the demand of all the tourists who will be coming to the area. As a result more hotels will be built, leading to construction work and then employment in the hotel services sector.The new terminal has been built to modern standards and offers passengers convenience, security and comfort.It has separate sections for embarking and disembarking passengers, and facilities for domestic and international flights. The number of check-in points has increased from one to four for the rapid processing of passengers. Furthermore, more room has been set aside for customs, immigration, health and security services.Facilities available at the airport will include a VIP suite, a duty free shop, a foreign exchange bureau, banks, restaurants, a bar and internet access. Outside there is a car park, and it is envisaged that there will be a car rental point.The building of the new terminal is part of a project to modernise and expand the country’s airport infrastructure by the company Aeroportos de Mocambique (ADM)The construction work was carried out by the Chinese contractor Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Group Co, Ltd (AFECC) who are also currently working on the international airport in Maputo.


The parliamentary benches of the ruling Frelimo party and the opposition parties Renamo and the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) are divided over the report and the opinion of the Administrative Tribunal (TA) about the General State Accounts (CGE) in 2009.This disagreement arose today during the first day of debate on the accounts in the plenary session of the Assembly of the Republic, the country’s parliament.While Frelimo argued that the accounts should be approved because they are of higher quality compared with previous years, the two opposition parties held a negative opinion.Antonio Jose Amelia and Danilo Teixeira, from Frelimo, supported the resolution approving the Accounts, drawn up by the Assembly’s Plan and Budget Commission (CPO), which stressed that the increased use of e-SISTAFE (the computerised state financial management system) and other measures have improved the implementation of the State Budget.Frelimo also pointed to the fact that the government is welcoming the recommendations of the TA as well as supporting efforts and activities to implement these same recommendations.However, Renamo said that the State Budget for 2009 does not show clearly, accurately and simply the execution of the budget.The largest opposition party stated that the audits did not have uniform procedures for the forced collecting of Treasury debts.For Renamo, the audits found that the data in the CGE on the implementation of the budget of some State entities diverged from the data recorded in the accounts of the institutions themselves, a fact noted by the TA in its negative opinion of the CGE in 2008.According to the Renamo parliamentarian Jose Samo Gudo, the government has continued to favour the political elite in the allocation of Treasury loans. Nor, according to Samo Gudo, has the government done anything to charge those that have not honoured their repayments.The Renamo deputy claimed that between 2002 and 2009 the government disbursed a little over 766 million meticais to 34 beneficiaries, the majority of whom have not made any repayments.“We demand that nobody is above the law in this respect” said Samo Gudo.The TA report about the 2009 General State Accounts points to the occurrence of some anomalies in the execution of budget spending.The debate on the General State Accounts ends on Thursday, the same day as the government is going to present information about the State subsidy on a basket of basic goods which is to be implemented to minimise the effects of the high cost of living on low income families.


Citizens whose monthly income is less than 2,500 meticais (about 80 US dollars) will be eligible to receive a government subsidy on a basic basket of goods.The subsidy was recently announced by the government as part of measures to alleviate the high cost of living. It is to replace the general subsidies currently in place on some foods.Food will not be given away. Instead the government will set a reference price for a basket of goods and will pay the difference between this price and the market price. It is currently estimated that the food basket will be fixed at 824 meticais a month, and the government subsidy will cover the difference between this fixed price and the market price for the products.There had been criticism that not enough people were going to be covered by the scheme, which had originally been set at those earning less than 2,000 meticais.On Tuesday the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) agreed to alter the eligibility to include those earning up to 2,500 meticais.According to government spokesperson Victor Borges, 1.8 million people could benefit from the subsidy. He said that the process to register the beneficiaries should begin soon.In its first phase the programme will cover residents in the provincial capitals, and will take place between June and December.The basic basket of food will include maize flour, rice, fish, beans, peanuts, oil and bread.The Council of Ministers also approved the ratification of an agreement between the Mozambican government and the Export Import Bank of India for a loan of 20 million US dollars to finance a project to increase productivity in the cultivation of rice, wheat and maize in the provinces of Gaza, Nampula, Tete and Manica.The Council of Ministers also looked at the launching of the second growing season, the implementation of projects funded by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA), and the balance of dismissals and retirements from the state apparatus in 2010.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


One of the workers from the private security company, Group Four Securicor (G4S), who took part in a demonstration on Wednesday, has died. It is suspected that he died from injuries sustained when the Mozambican Rapid Intervention Force (FIR – the riot police) savagely beat protesting security guards in Maputo.According to the independent television station, STV, the worker whose name has not been revealed, lost his life because he was arrested and sent to police cells rather than being taken to a health unit to receive medical assistance.Other injured protestors only received medical treatment at the Maputo Central Hospital (HCM) 24 hours after their detention following the intervention of a doctor from the Ministry of the Interior.Joaquim Situa, Inspector General of Labour, condemned G4S for making arbitrary deductions from wages, but also blamed the protestors for not abiding by the Labour Law which requires a formal announcement of the intention to protest.Riot police used excessive force last Wednesday to disperse hundreds of workers of G4S, who were protesting outside the human resource department of the Maputo branch of Group Four Securicor (G4S), the largest security company in the world. A riot police unit had been ordered to the scene after protestors broke windows and tore up fencing.The motives for the worker’s discontent are various, but prominent complaints are that monthly wages are subjected to arbitrary deductions, and that holiday bonuses have not been paid.


The Ministry of Fishing is preparing to launch later this year an artisanal fishing project, ProPESCA, budgeted at 45 million US dollars, which will cover the country’s entire coastline.Technicians from the Institute for the Development of Small Scale Fishing have begun to travel to all the provinces to close the previous project and advance ideas in relation to the new project.The cost of this project, which is to last seven years, will come from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Mozambican state and could be expanded if the government finds new sources of finance.The Director of Fishing in Sofala province, Joao Duarte, told the daily newspaper “Noticias” that the new project is going to concentrate on poles of development along the coast.“With a new approach, ProPESCA will concentrate all its attention on the commercialisation of fishing, the use of refrigeration to conserve the catch, and the promotion of artisanal fishing further out from the coast”, said Duarte.The previous Artisanal Fishing Project of the Sofala Bank ended in March after more than eight years. It formed an integrated project with a strong social component that included the construction and rehabilitation of tertiary roads, health centres and schools, food and water supply, and other basic infrastructure.The new project will cover a total of 26 growth poles, with the potential for the project to be expanded and intensified.IFAD claims that the project will directly benefit over 40,000 vulnerable rural households for whom fishing and fish products are the principal source of livelihood and often the only source of cash income, while a further 40,000 households will receive indirect benefits. IFAD will provide a 21 million dollar loan for the project, bringing its total investment in Mozambican artisanal fishing to 45 million dollars. In all spheres of activity, IFAD has now invested 196.2 million dollars in Mozambique.The Belgian Fund for Food Security is considering giving a contribution of about 5.5 million euros to the project. Other co-financers, including the Spanish Trust Fund, are expected to provide a further 10.9 million dollars.The Mozambican government is to spend 1.1 million dollars on the project, and a further 3.3 million will come from beneficiaries and financial institutions.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is to disburse 2.5 million US dollars annually to support the Child Friendly Schools Initiative (CFSI) in Mozambique.This was revealed by UNICEF Representative to Mozambique, Jesper Morcha on the side-line of a four-day Training Seminar on the multi-sector approach of the Child-Friendly Schools Initiative for the Portuguese Speaking Countries, which started on Monday in Maputo. The purpose of the CFSI, which is expected to last four years, is to improve the quality of teaching in primary schools. The initiative also provides care and support to orphans and vulnerable children and helps build new schools.Speaking during the opening ceremony, Education Minister Zeferino Martins said that CFSI started as a pilot project in the central province of Zambezia in 2006, and was later expanded to other provinces.According to Martins, so far the results of the initiative are encouraging in terms of access to schools, pass rates and the involvement of school councils.“We therefore reiterate the importance of the Child Friendly Schools Initiative as a viable platform that will ensure that citizens can enjoy their constitutional right of access to quality education”, said Martins.However, said the Minister, schools are still facing huge constraints and challenges, such as children sometimes being the victims of violence and early marriages, and schools buildings having poor sanitation.In Mozambique, the CFSI is being implemented in the districts of Montepuez and Angoche in the provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula respectively, Buzi in Sofala, Changara in Tete, Mossurize in Manica, Maganja da Costa in Zambezia and Chibuto in Gaza.

Friday, April 8, 2011


The second largest mobile phone operator in Mozambique, the South African company Vodacom, on Wednesday announced an overhaul in its image, to bring it into line with the image of the major shareholder in the Vodacom group, the British based company Vodafone.The major change is in the company’s colour – up until now, all Vodacom advertising was on a background of blue. But blue has now been dropped, replaced by Vodafone’s bright red. The Vodacom and Vodafone logo now look much the same.“This isn’t happening just in Mozambique, but throughout the Vodacom Group”, the Vodacom-Mozambique Chief Executive Office, Jose dos Santos, told reporters. He pointed out that Vodafone holds 66 per cent of the shares in the Vodacom Group. In addition to Mozambique and South Africa, Vodacom has operations in Lesotho, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.Dos Santos could not say exactly how much the rebranding would cost, but admitted “These things are never cheap”.He promised that the changes in Vodacom would not be restricted to replacing blue with red, but would involve “a change of attitude”, so that “clients will be at the centre of Vodacom”.Santos pledged “a true transformation in the way we handle the business, how we deal with our workers and, above all, how we position our clients”. Despite the accommodation to Vodafone, he claimed that the company will remain “faithful to the characteristics which make Vodacom a genuinely Mozambican brand”.He claimed that mobile phone calls on the Vodacom network are seven per cent cheaper than those of its rival, the publicly-owned company M-Cel, and that Vodacom offers “the cheapest Internet rates on the market”.However, M-Cel makes similar claims, and the blizzard of promotions and special offers from the two companies makes comparisons difficult. There is no watchdog that can tell consumers which company really does offer the best deal.Dos Santos said that, in the last 12 months alone, Vodacom has erected 100 new mobile phone masts throughout the country. Freeing itself from dependence on the fibre-optic network owned by the public telecommunications company TDM, Vodacom has laid its own fibre-optic network, linking Maputo to the central cities of Beira, Chimoio and Tete. Cables are currently being laid to connect Beira to Nampula.“The project to update the network and modernize the systems is being implemented with the greatest technical rigour, so as to minimize any constraints for the clients”, he added.Dos Santos declined to give any details of Vodacom’s 2010 balance sheet, for legal reasons to do with the fact that the Vodacom group is quoted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Only in May will the data become available – and only then will we know whether Vodacom-Mozambique has broken into profit. The company has consistently run at a loss since it began its operations in 2004.


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday urged young Mozambicans to follow the example of Josina Machel, a heroine of the national liberation struggle, who in her short life had agreed to personal sacrifices in pursuit of the freedom and well-being of the people.Guebuza was speaking at the ceremonies marking Mozambican Women’s Day, and the 40th anniversary of the death of Josina Machel. He stressed that celebrating the life and work of Josina Machel is also an opportunity to reflect on the dreams that guide the Mozambican youth of today.“It is an opportunity for young people to ask themselves how alive and burning this spirit of serving the people remains within them, and what more they can do to defeat poverty in this country of heroes”, Guebuza declared.At Chilembene, Guebuza addressed a rally, and inaugurated a monument in memory of Josina Machel. The monument, he said, “is a symbol of the greatness of this national heroine and of Mozambican women in their struggle for their own emancipation”.“But we recognise that this monument is insufficient to express our gratitude for what Josina did for Mozambican women, and for what Mozambican women have done for this very special people”, he said.7 April, the anniversary of Josina Machel’s death, was proclaimed Mozambican Women’s Day in recognition of her role in the struggle for women’s emancipation. Josina was one of the founders of the Women’s Detachment in the guerrilla army of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo). She chose to become a guerrilla rather than continue her studies, turning down the scholarship which the first President of Frelimo, Eduardo Mondlane, had arranged for her in Switzerland.“Today we celebrate the gains made by Mozambican women”, stressed Guebuza. “On this day we remember the long, difficult and complex path that Mozambican women have travelled in the journey to their full emancipation”.Despite the advances made, women still have little decision making power in family matters, face gender violence, are the least educated part of society, and are worse hit than men by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.Guebuza insisted on the need to redouble efforts, just as those who fought colonialism did, in order to overcome these challenges.


Forest wardens have seized three AK-47 assault rifles and three hunting guns from a group of Zimbabweans detained in Magoe district, in the western province of Tete, reports Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.The Magoe district director of economic services, Jorge Valente, said the Zimbabweans used the weapons to kill wildlife inside Mozambique, and to threaten any wardens they meet in the bush.“These guns are used to frighten off our wardens when they are on patrol”, said Valente. “The Magoe border with Zimbabwe is very long, and we only have 16 wardens, which means the area they can patrol is insignificant”.He added that the wardens are short of transport – both land vehicles and boats. Magoe is on the south bank of Cahora Bassa lake, and the wardens need boats to travel along the shores of the lake.Valente said the district government is reviving community councils to preserve forestry and wildlife resources. One of the measures being taught to farmers in order to protect their fields against elephants is to plant chilli peppers, since elephants dislike the taste of this plant.


Members of the Mozambican riot police who savagely beat up a group of unarmed security guards on Wednesday have been arrested, reports Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.About 100 off-duty security guards were protesting about deductions from their wages and unpaid overtime outside the human resource department of the Maputo branch of Group Four Securicor (G4S), the largest security company in the world.When protestors broke windows and tore up fencing, a riot police unit was ordered to the scene. Not content with dispersing the protestors with the use of tear gas, the police chased the guards, and beat anyone they caught with their truncheons, even though the guards did not resist arrest. The police even invaded nearby houses looking for the fleeing demonstrators.The savage beatings were carried out in full view of reporters, and caught on camera. When the police realized they were being filmed, they intimidated the reporters. One policeman was filmed threatening to smash a camera belonging to the independent television station, STV.A source in the General Command of the police told “Noticias” that the riot police members involved are under detention, and a commission of inquiry has been set up. The commission will ascertain who sent the riot police to repress the demonstration, why so much violence was used, and the individual responsibility of each of the policemen.The source did not say how many people are under detention, but “Noticias” believes that the entire riot police unit, including its commander, has been arrested. Interior Minister Alberto Mondlane on Thursday recognised that excessive force had been used. He told reporters in Chilembene, in the southern province of Gaza, where he was attending commemorations of Mozambican Women’s Day, that the government condemned the violence.“The government saw what was reported on television”, said Mondlane. “That excessive use of force by members of the police is to be condemned. It is against our regulations and our laws”.He said that the norms in force in Mozambique, and international policing norms, establish that force should only be used rationally, and only as far as strictly necessary.“Only the force necessary should be applied and no more than that”, he said. “That’s why we condemn what happened on Wednesday, and we shall take measures in accordance with the internal norms of the police and with the laws in force in Mozambique”.“We shall analyse in depth what happened”, pledged Mondlane. “We want to know who did this, and on whose orders, and then we shall take the necessary measures”.The Mozambican branch of the regional press freedom body MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) condemned the threats made by the riot police against reporters, and the attempts to prevent STV from filming the violence. MISA pointed out that such police behaviour is a flagrant violation of the 1991 Press Law which grants journalists “free access to and the right to remain in public places where it is necessary for them to exercise their professional duties”.The law also states that reporters have the right “not to be removed or in any way prevented from carrying out their mission in the place where their presence as media professionals may be necessary”.The MISA statement noted that the organisation has repeatedly warned the authorities to train the defence and security forces properly so that they carry out their duties to maintain order in accordance with the rule of law, and in respect for the fundamental human rights enshrined in the Mozambican constitution.


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has once again praised Mozambique’s economic growth and the government’s handling of the macro-economic situation.An IMF mission visited Mozambique from 23 March to 7 April, for consultations with the government and for a review of the economy under the three year Policy Support Instrument (PSI) which was approved in June 2010.An IMF press release cited the Mission Chief for Mozambique, Johannes Mueller, declaring at the end of the visit “Mozambique continues to navigate well through stormy international waters”. He said that economic growth in 2010, estimated at 6.5 per cent “fell slightly short of expectations but was one of the highest in the region”.The IMF now expects growth to speed up “and return to levels observed before the global financial crisis”. Mueller claimed that exports from Mozambican mega-projects (mainly aluminium, gas and electricity)”offset the rising import bill related to surging fuel and food prices and significantly improved the external accounts, keeping international reserves at a comfortable level. This is projected to continue, as more such projects in the natural resource sector come online”. “However, recent increases in international food and fuel prices, through their secondary effects in the domestic economy, prevented a faster decline in inflation, which has continued to place a considerable burden on the most vulnerable segments of the population”, he added. This implies that there was some decline in inflation in 2010 – in fact, inflation in 2010 soared to 12.7 per cent, compared with just 3.3 per cent in 2009.“With economic growth poised to return to pre-crisis levels, the authorities intend to keep economic policies relatively tight during 2011, with a view to arresting inflation expectations and allowing inflation to return to single-digit levels towards the end of the year”, said Mueller. He added that the IMF mission “concurs that the short-run focus on fighting inflation is appropriate”. The IMF also backed the government’s development strategy “based on stepping up public investment in infrastructure and priority social spending, as well as structural reforms in such areas as public financial management, tax administration and policy, debt management, economic governance, and financial sector development and supervision”.But the IMF also noted that, despite high levels of economic growth, “poverty has not declined as fast as in other sub-Saharan African countries”.It expected that the new Mozambican Poverty Reduction Strategy (known as PARP), which is currently being finalized, “demonstrate Government’s commitment to more inclusive growth, with a view to generating employment opportunities and accelerating poverty reduction”. Mueller said “This will require policies and reforms to raise production and productivity in labor-intensive industries, particularly agriculture. Broader, well targeted, and fiscally sustainable social protection systems could also help sustain economic development”.The Policy Support Instrument does not involve any loans from the IMF, but countries such as Mozambique are interested in a PSI because it is a mark of IMF approval, and therefore useful for levering funds from other institutions.