Lower taxes, an end to hospital waiting lists, a high quality education system, and support for Mozambican businesses are among the promises contained in the programme for government that the country's main opposition party, Renamo, launched in Maputo on 22 October.
The party's president, Afonso Dhlakama, was due to unveil the document at a press conference, but three quarters of an hour after the planned launch time, it was not Dhlakama who appeared, but the Renamo general secretary Joao Alexandre. He apologised for Dhlakama's absence: it was due to "reasons of force majeure".
Alexandre read out Dhlakama's speech. "We think there are too many taxes in Mozambique" said Alexandre. "Taxes that penalise workers, taxes which punish the initiative of small businesses and taxes that only benefit the state".
Renamo promised fiscal reform, but also a struggle against tax fraud. Alexandre promised that a Renamo government would both "think of the poorest members of society" and "encourage the initiative of the middle classes".
Renamo, and the minor parties allied to it in the "Electoral Union", he continued, "will not forget the principle that a strong middle class makes a country strong".
"To govern for the majority is to govern for the strengthening of the middle class", he claimed, "for the legitimate aspiration of Mozambicans to ensure better opportunities for their children".
Renamo, said Alexandre, would set up a high quality education system, "and we promise that no young Mozambican will leave school without having learnt a profession".
As for health care, Renamo promises to modernise the national health services and, within the next five year legislature, "to end waiting lists in the hospitals once and for all".
All kinds of Mozambican businesses - small, medium and large - would enjoy support from a future Renamo government, Alexandre pledged, as would foreign investment. "In this way, we shall create greater wealth and more jobs", he said.
As for the police, Renamo would ensure that it "respects law and order, and guarantees all citizens their rights".
A government formed by Renamo and its Electoral Union partners "will be transparent, competent and open, and will be accountable to parliament and to the Mozambican people for its activity", Alexandre promised.
The refrain of a "Renamo-Electoral Union government" implies that Renamo, if it wins the elections, will bring the minor parties into government. But so far nobody in the coalition will confirm whether Renamo has actually made a promise to this effect.
Renamo's programme is contained in a 23 page document, which it promises to implement should it win the general elections that are to be held on 3-4 December.
Renamo states that its government would "defend a market economy based on private initiative, where freedom and respect for social and human rights, indispensable conditions for the well-being of all Mozambicans, are guaranteed".
The document calls for "the development of a strong Mozambican business class". To this end, Renamo calls for "adequate fiscal incentives, removal of red tape, professional training at all levels, and improved distribution and marketing circuits".
The programme stresses rural development: and aims "to improve the living conditions of the peasants, by attending to their specific nature, that is, without doing violence to their personality, their way of life, their traditions and customs. Development must be adapted to the peasant".
A Renamo government would seek "a significant increase" in rural income, and an improvement in social and economic conditions in the countryside, so as to bring average urban and rural living standards closer together.
Renamo would have the state fix minimum producer prices for peasant crops before they have been sown. This would be a complete reversal of current policy - the Frelimo government has scrapped all minimum prices, with the exception of cotton.
The strategic aim of a Renamo government would be "national self-sufficiency in agricultural produce, the transformation of subsistence agriculture into cash-based agriculture, aimed at the market, as a way of ending hunger and launching development".
Renamo's aims to have "one establishment of polytechnic education in each province". It pledges to restore "degraded" schools and health units.
When it comes to the legal system, the major aim is that "justice should be independent and dignified, accessible to all, speedy, effective and non- bureaucratic".
Renamo calls for the urgent revision of key documents such as the Penal Code, the Civil Code and the Commercial Code, apparently unaware that this work is already under way.
The programme promises "a profound reform in the judicial system, giving magistrates all guarantees of independence, dignity, and parity with office-holders in other sovereign bodies".
Renamo proposes to take the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC) away from the Interior Ministry and place it under the independent Public Prosecutor's Office.
As for the public administration, Renamo would institutionalise the practice of "tacit approval". That is, if a citizen puts in a request to the administration, and receives no reply within a specified period, then the request is deemed to be granted.
The programme also calls for an equivalent of the US freedom of information act. It demands "access by users of state services to all the archives and records of the administration that are not state secrets".
As for the armed forces, Renamo states that these should consist essentially of professional soldiers - but it does not specifically call for the abolition of conscription.
On 4 November Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama made a public appearance for the first time in a week to deny reports circulating in Maputo that he is ill.
Dhlakama was interviewed on Mozambican Television (TVM), where he was filmed sitting at a desk in his office. He stood up and sat down again which, he stated, demonstrated that there was nothing wrong with him.
To explain his disappearance from public view, Dhlakama said he had been dealing personally with the financial crisis affecting the "Electoral Union" of Renamo and ten minor opposition parties.
Renamo has accused the National Elections Commission (CNE), the independent body in charge of the general elections, of "sabotaging" the campaigns of opposition parties by not providing them with money in due time.
Cited in "Noticias" on 5 November, the spokesman for the Renamo election office, Gulamo Jafar, complained that so far the CNE had only provided Renamo with 284.4 million meticais (about $21,850). This was split into 150 million meticais for the presidential campaign, and 134.4 million for the parliamentary candidates.
"This is sabotage of the democratic process", claimed Jafar. "By not making funds available, they want to ensure that the message of Afonso Dhlakama and of the Renamo-Electoral Union does not reach the voters".
However, the CNE chairman, Jamisse Taimo, explained a week ago that so far the only money available for the entire campaign is the equivalent of $480,000 from the Mozambican state budget. Promised donor funding for political parties has not yet arrived.
A third of this money is for the presidential campaign - which means that Dhlakama will receive $80,000.
A third is for the three forces currently represented in parliament (Renamo, the ruling Frelimo Party and the Democratic Union Coalition), divided in accordance with the number of seats they hold - which means Renamo will receive $71,680.
The final third is to be divided among all the dozen parties and coalitions contesting the parliamentary elections (including Frelimo and Renamo). But Taimo told AIM this part of the money will be divided in accordance with the number of valid candidates that each party has presented.
The CNE's work of validating each of the thousands of candidates is to be completed by 7 November, and will determine how the funds for candidates is distributed.
The CNE has disqualified the lists for Nampula province presented by two minor parties (the Democratic Liberal Party, PADELIMO, and the Mozambique Opposition Union, UMO).
The CNE is demanding that the parties account for all that they receive: receipts for use of one tranche must be provided before the second tranche is delivered. This seeks to avoid repeating the scenario of 1994, when several minor parties took state and donor funds and never accounted for the use of this money.
The Swiss, Swedish and Dutch governments signed agreements on 5 November with Mozambique under which they will provide the equivalent of about $917,000 for the election campaign.
The United States has already promised money for the campaign. On 30 September the director for Mozambique of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Cynthia Rozell, signed an "Agreement to Support Electoral Options".
This commits $1 million of US money to supporting the campaign and to covering "additional costs" involved in the election budget.
On 4 November Renamo took its campaign to Maputo's markets led by Rahil Khan, the head of Renamo's list of parliamentary candidates for the capital.
The Renamo motorcade passed through the Xipamanine, SMAE, Malanga and Fajardo markets in the Maputo suburbs, with Khan promising "we shall get rid of corruption by voting for President Dhlakama".
"Don't let yourselves by deceived by hats, T-shirts and other propaganda material", Khan urged, referring to the campaign clothing distributed freely by Frelimo.
Meanwhile, in Sofala province the head of the Renamo parliamentary group, Raul Domingos, normally regarded as number two in the party, has threatened to take legal action against Frelimo over violent incidents that took place on 31 October in the town of Dondo.
Cited in the Beira daily "Diario de Mocambique", Domingos said "Frelimo tried to wreck our campaign, and this culminated in beating up the son of one of our members who received serious head injuries"
This version of events is radically different from that given by the "Diario de Mocambique" reporter who was present in Dondo, and wrote an account of the violence. He said that the violence came from a stone-throwing crowd of Renamo supporters, headed by a Renamo parliamentary deputy, Rui de Sousa.
President Joaquim Chissano on 5 November accused Renamo of being experts in nothing but destruction.
Speaking at a rally in Sussundenga district, in Manica province, President Chissano reminded his audience of the devastating effects of Renamo's sabotage, during the war of destabilisation, of the electricity transmission lines that run through the district.
Referring to the Renamo campaign slogan "Let's change Mozambique, Chissano said "These politicians who say they want to change, they've already shown us how they change things. The electricity line from Cahora Bassa to South Africa runs through here, in Sussundenga, and we saw how they changed that. The pylons were as they are now, standing up, but they brought them down".
"Frelimo has a different way of changing", he continued. "They had blown the pylons to the ground, but Frelimo, because it has a programme looking ahead, looking to the future, put the pylons back up again".
If the electorate wanted real, constructive change, then they should vote for Frelimo, he argued.
Addressing rallies in the districts of Guru and Barue on 4 November, President Chissano said that the priorities of his government for the next five years include reducing the illiteracy rate, increasing per capita income, and implementing development projects in the Zambezi valley, so that the country stops being one of the poorest in the world. However, he noted that these programmes can only be successful if all Mozambicans are committed to them.
Chissano also noted that it was international confidence in his party and government that led to the cancellation of much of Mozambique's foreign debt under the HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Countries) debt relief initiative sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
The first 15 kilometres of the 300 kilometre long railway between the towns of Cuamba and Lichinga have been rebuilt, President Chissano announced on 30 October.
Addressing an election rally in the small town of Mitande, Chissano recalled that it was in September that he had inaugurated the reconstruction work.
The railway, heavily damaged during the war of destabilisation, is a spur off the line that runs from the port of Nacala to Malawi. It is the most economic way of transporting fuel and consumer goods to Niassa, and of taking Niassa's produce to the coast.
President Chissano said that currently the reconstruction is relying on funds provided by the Mozambican state and by the publicly owned ports and railway company CFM.
President Chissano also stressed major projects under way elsewhere in the country, such as the reconstruction of the sabotaged railway from the port of Beira to Malawi, the expansion of Beira port, the resumption of coal mining at Moatize in Tete province, and the exploitation of the natural gas at Pande in the southern province of Inhambane.
He mentioned in particular the project for a new hydro-electric dam in Niassa, which, apart from producing power, would also provide water for irrigating 300,000 hectares. He added that, if re-elected, Frelimo would press ahead with its plans to bring electricity, clean drinking water and telecommunications to the rural districts of Niassa.
Addressing thousands of residents attending a rally in Pemba, President Chissano said that, after the success of pacification and national reconciliation, the major task facing a future Frelimo government would be "to make Mozambique an example of human development".
Reacting to the violent incidents that have marred the election campaign in several parts of the country, Chissano urged Frelimo supporters not to rise to provocation and "to keep away from disorder".
President Chissano, speaking in the town of Angoche on 25 October, promised that Frelimo is committed to reducing the national rate of unemployment. He pledged that Frelimo will continue the rehabilitation of industrial and social infrastructures during the next government.
President Chissano noted that Angoche port, currently mainly used by fishing vessels, could be rehabilitated, and so encourage the installation of some industries. He also noted that this area has very good conditions for the development of tourism.
Speaking of the revitalisation of industry, Chissano made special mention of the cashew processing industry, saying it could bring the country back to the top position in world cashew production that it occupied in the early 1970s.
On 24 October President Chissano addressed his largest rally so far in his campaign, when over 10,000 turned out in the provincial capital of Nacala. He warned the electorate to put their trust in "those who have carried out changes", and not in "those who just talk about change".
President Chissano stressed "national unity" as the essential factor for peace, stability and progress, and promised that Frelimo would continue investing in "human capital" as the basis for the country's development.
President Chissano believed that over the next five years Mozambique could become a net exporter of crops such as sugar and even rice. The next Frelimo government, he said, would stimulate the further development of industry to transform the wide range of Mozambican raw materials into finished goods.
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama started his bid for the presidency on 23 October in Gaza province, birthplace of his rival, President Joaquim Chissano.
Dhlakama spoke at two rallies - in the town of Macia, and in the provincial capital, Xai-Xai. The rally was delayed following an incident in Manhica district. According to a reporter for the daily paper "Noticias", a group of Frelimo sympathisers blocked the road in an attempt to prevent Dhlakama proceeding into Gaza.
AIM estimates that about 1,000 people attended the Dhlakama rally. Meanwhile, at the nearby sports ground, some 10,000 people were enjoying themselves at a Frelimo event, at which the politics was generously sprinkled with music from local singers and bands.
In his speech, Dhlakama recognised that the Frelimo government had indeed built new schools and new health posts. But he insisted that new buildings were not enough "when the pupils still sit on the floor and the hospitals have no medicines". "Teachers and nurses don't receive their wages", he stated, which ensured that they turned to corrupt practices in order to survive.
Dhlakama said that, when students move on to university, they face enormous difficulties, since there are huge gaps in their knowledge because of the poor conditions under which they studied in primary and secondary school.
Dhlakama urged his supporters not to become involved in brawls with Frelimo sympathisers, and not to rise to provocation.
Dhlakama insisted that President Chissano remains "a communist" and "a Marxist- Leninist", who "will never change". He claimed that, in order to obtain the signatures it needed to back Chissano's candidature, Frelimo brigades had gone from school to school obliging teachers and students of voting age to sign.
Afonso Dhlakama claimed that his tour of Gaza was a success, and that in the coming general elections Renamo will elect several parliamentary deputies from this province.
Dhlakama campaigned in the province from 23 October until 27 October, addressing rallies in the provincial capital, Xai-Xai, and in the towns of Macia (twice), Chibuto and Chokwe.
There were disturbances at several of these events as Dhlakama's bodyguards clashed with Frelimo supporters. The worst violence occurred at Chokwe, where the Frelimo demonstrators attempted to prevent Dhlakama from entering the town.
Apparently unruffled by these events, Dhlakama told "Noticias" that he was convinced Renamo enjoyed growing popular support in Gaza. Dhlakama expected support from Gaza because in recent years "there has been much more suffering in Gaza than in the other provinces".
Dhlakama declined to comment on the violence that had marred his Gaza rallies. He said that Renamo was making it a principle "not to respond to provocation, not to speak ill of the other parties, and to publicise as much as possible the Renamo programme so that people know what they should vote for".
The "Noticias" correspondent who covered Dhlakama's visit, Mussa Mohomed, wrote that he had seen Frelimo deputies from the outgoing parliament at the head of their supporters inciting them to block Dhlakama's entry into Chokwe. And instead of trying to calm things down, Renamo leaders had risen to the bait, taking a prominent role in the ensuing clashes.
The Gaza correspondent of the independent news-sheet "Metical", Carlos Mhula, accused the Gaza provincial police commander, Castigo Zandamela, of operating in a partisan way in favour of Frelimo. Mhula noted, however, that some police officers in Gaza do their job properly. He praised the local commander in Chibuto for sending in his men to defend Dhlakama's rally.
Hostility between Frelimo and Renamo is not generalised across the country. In Homoine, in Inhambane province, which was the scene of the worst massacre in the war of destabilisation, where more then 400 people were slaughtered by Renamo in 1987, the election campaign is unfolding calmly.
Afonso Dhlakama, speaking at a rally on 25 October in President Chissano's home district of Chibuto, Gaza province, accused the President Chissano of being a cattle thief.
In his speech Dhlakama stated that "the international community sent lots of cattle here after war. But here in Gaza it all went to the chiefs. It all went to the provincial directors, including Chissano himself". "He stole the cattle intended for you", Dhlakama told his audience.
This allegation follows a claim made in an interview with a Portuguese that Chissano is personally corrupt. Cited in the Lisbon daily "Diario de Noticias", Dhlakama said "Chissano promised a war against corruption. But corruption has increased. He has encouraged generalised corruption. He is a very corrupt person". Dhlakama mentioned no specific case of Chissano's alleged corruption.
The CNE has disqualified the Green Party because of a dispute over who leads it.
A note from the CNE, published on 21 October, states that it cannot register the Green Party for the elections, when this party appears split down the middle, "with faction leaders holding extraordinary party congresses, and accusing and expelling each other".
One faction of the Greens requested registration for the elections, and gave the CNE copies of the party's documentation, but the CNE noted that this "did not clearly indicate who holds the leadership positions in the party".
Matters were complicated when a second Green faction approached the CNE and denied that the first faction had any right to represent the party.
The CNE investigated the matter and found that "there exist two lists of members of the National Council of one and the same party, the Greens, and the two lists are completely discordant".
The CNE's note points out that, under the electoral law, it is the relevant leadership bodies of political parties "and not factions within parties" that have the right to present candidatures for elections.
With this decision, the number of parties and coalitions contesting the parliamentary elections falls to 12.
The Renamo political delegate in the central district of Gondola, Paulo Caito Correia, on 6 November formally announced that he has rejoined the ruling Frelimo Party. This is the latest in a string of high level defections from Renamo that have occurred as President Joaquim Chissano campaigns for re-election through the centre of the country.
On 4 November Francisco de Assis, Renamo political delegate in Barue district, defected from Renamo to Frelimo. The announcement that Assis is abandoning Renamo came immediately after a Frelimo rally in Barue addressed by President Joaquim Chissano.
During the war of destabilisation, Assis was a private secretary of the Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama. Now he complains that "there is no democracy in Renamo".
This follows the defection of three Renamo parliamentary deputies elected in 1994 from the western province of Tete - Francisco Raposo Binda, Celestino Bento, and Virgilio Chapata - all of whom applied to join Frelimo. Their defection looks like a reaction to Renamo's decision to remove Bento and Chapata from their parliamentary lists, and the placing of Binda low on their list.
Frelimo has claimed that 2,000 rank and file Renamo members in Tete have joined Frelimo. It has also been reported that twelve Renamo members, and one from the Democratic Party (PADEMO) in the district of Ancuabe, in Cabo Delgado province, defected to Frelimo between 19 and 24 October.
Among the defectors are three members of Renamo's district secretariat, namely Arlindo Paulo, who was the head of information and propaganda, Pedro Taibo, head of mobilisation, and Mussa Ali, described as an "advisor". The man who abandoned PADEMO is its former district delegate, Fernando Germano.
Businessmen in the city of Cuamba, in Niassa province, have complained that the municipal authorities ordered the closure of all banks, shops and other establishments on 29 October, in order to swell attendance at a rally addressed by President Joaquim Chissano.
An official from the Cuamba branch of the Austral Bank, cited in "Mediafax" on 4 November, said that the order came from the mayor of Cuamba "to ensure that more people went to the rally".
Businesses have pointed out that this is a violation of the electoral law. Furthermore the law states that "public and private bodies" must treat candidates and political parties on a footing of strict equality. So if Cuamba municipal council shuts down for Frelimo, it must do the same for any of the competing parties.
Mozambique should concentrate its medical research on tropical diseases, according to a scientific researcher at Maputo's Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM).
Addressing a panel of doctors gathered in Maputo for a National Meeting on Health Research, the UEM's scientific director, Rogerio Utui, said that tropical diseases such as cholera and malaria, which have long ceased to be an area of major concern in developed countries, should become Mozambique's great challenge.
"We are still dying mainly of cholera and malaria", he said. "The mission of our health institutions should have as its key-words tropical medicine, with emphasis on malaria and tuberculosis, traditional medicine to solve such problems as asthma, and investigation of medicinal plants", he added.
To be able to achieve this, he suggested strong cooperation with like-minded countries in the tropics, rather than with the developed world.
Utui warned that an emphasis on cooperation with states in the rich northern hemisphere could render the country forever dependent on donor funding, and inhibit its freedom of choice as regards the type of programmes it should follow.
The local authorities in the district of Milange, in Zambezia province, have banned peasant farmers from selling their surplus maize across the border in Malawi, according to a report in "Mediafax" on 4 November.
The district government says the measure is to preserve stocks, but the local farmers complain that Malawi is the only market for their surplus crops. The state marketing board, the Mozambique Cereals Institute (ICM), is not currently making any purchases in Milange, and local businesses have no money to buy grain.
A Milange district official, Argentino Amade, admitted to "Mediafax" that the measure was tough, but claimed it would have a positive effect for the future. "We are not going to sell all the maize without a guarantee that we have enough in stock to last until the next harvest", he said.
The peasants, however, need the money from selling their grain in order to buy other necessities such as vegetable oil, sugar and soap.
"Mediafax" reports that clandestine maize exports into Malawi are continuing, and that some customs staff have been suspended because they allowed maize to leave the country in exchange for imports of Malawian sugar.
The attitude of the Milange district authorities seems in frontal contradiction with the stated policy of the central government. Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi has said that the government does not tell peasants where they can sell their crops, and does not forbid the export of maize, provided this is registered for statistical purposes.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has cut its aid to Mozambique for the period 1999-2000 by 12.5 per cent.
A statement from Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao on 3 November adds that the UNDP has cut $3.2 million from its funds intended for Mozambique for 1999, and $1.92 million for the year 2000.
According to Simao the cuts "result from the considerable decline in voluntary contributions to development programmes from UN member countries".
In the UNDP's case, the funds at its disposal have fallen from an annual average of about a billion dollars in the early 1990s, to between $700-750 million in recent years.
Simao warned that the budgets of all Mozambican programmes financed by UNDP must now be adjusted.
The Mozambican government's Water Supply Investment and Assets Fund (FIPAG) is working to ensure that 50 per cent of the urban population have access to piped water within the next five years, the chairman of the fund's board of directors, Nelson Baete, announced on 1 November.
He said that as part of these efforts, the management of the water supply systems in seven cities, namely Maputo and Matola in the south, Beira, Dondo and Quelimane in the centre, and Nampula and Pemba in the northern region, will be entrusted to a private consortium as from the end of November.
Piped water supply currently only reaches about 30 per cent of the population of these cities.
The World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Union, and the governments of Mozambique and Holland have raised $114 million for this initiative.
This forum is the result of an agreement between FIPAG and the private management consortium, Aguas de Mocambique (Waters of Mozambique), which will run the systems. The French-led consortium also includes Portuguese and Mozambican interests.
The contract with the consortium is worth $25 million, and the remainder of the $114 million will be used in rehabilitation and expansion of the water supply systems.
As from April 2000 southern Mozambique will have a new source of high quality electricity, free of the damaging fluctuations in power that characterise the current Komatipoort-Maputo line.
This will come from the new substation at Beluluane, 17 kilometres west of Maputo, owned by MOTRACO, which is a consortium formed by the publicly owned electricity companies of Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland, EDM, ESKOM and SEB.
The financing has now been concluded, and the huge transformers are in position. At a ceremony in Beluluane, attended by representatives of the Mozambican, South African and Swazi governments, the chairman of the MOTRACO board of directors, Juliao Pondeca, said that the $130 million needed have been fully guaranteed (by European and Japanese banks, in addition to the consortium members' own funds) and that the first tests of the MOTRACO current will be made in January.
The World Bank has approved a loan of $100 million to assist the Mozambican government in its restructuring of the country's publicly owned ports and railway company, CFM.
According to the World Bank, the objective of the restructuring is "to transform the railways and ports into modern systems that are competitive, efficient, market-oriented and financially viable".
The money is granted by the World Bank's soft loans affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA), with a payment period of 40 years and a period of grace of ten years.
The World Bank hopes that, with the restructuring, by the year 2002 rail traffic will reach seven million tonnes, and port traffic ten million tonnes. This should raise gross revenue from the current figure of $80 million to about $150 million a year.
The Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister, Ji Pieding, on 19 October handed over to the Mozambican parliament a new building for the functioning of the Assembly of the Republic.
The building cost about $6 million, and was totally financed by the Chinese government.
The new building has several halls and rooms for the functioning of the parliamentary groups of the political parties and for the Assembly's working commissions, a library and rooms for the administrative services.
Ji also took part in a ceremony to lay the foundation stone for the construction of a new building for the Mozambican Foreign Ministry, for which the Chinese government is also lending financial support.
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