No.306, 5th October 2005
President Armando Guebuza on 4 October
urged his fellow countrymen to learn from their history, and never let the country
slip back into violence. He was speaking to reporters after laying a wreath at
the Monument to the Mozambican Heroes, on the occasion of "Peace and Reconciliation
Day" - the 13th anniversary of the peace agreement signed in Rome between
the Mozambican government and the apartheid-back Renamo rebels on 4 October 1992.
President Guebuza is very closely associated with this date, as it was he, then
Transport Minister, who headed the government's negotiating team in the Rome talks,
which took place sporadically for more than two years.
The President said the years of war, and the occasional violent incident subsequently,
were part of a tragic history that should serve as a warning "so that it
is never repeated again".
"These episodes in our tragic history must not be repeated", President
Guebuza stressed. "Cases such as Montepuez and Mocimboa da Praia are to be
avoided. To this end, it is important that we always nurture within us the flame
of unity, and that we never tire of working for a culture of peace and national
Montepuez, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, was the scene of the worst
violence on 9 November 2000, when Renamo organised a wave of demonstrations across
the country in protest at the 1999 election results. 14 demonstrators and seven
policemen died in Montepuez. Matters became much worse with a wave of indiscriminate
detentions: and on the night of 21/22 November 83 prisoners died of asphyxiation
in a grossly overcrowded Montepuez police cell. In Mocimboa da Praia, also in
Cabo Delgado, in early September this year clashes between supporters of Renamo
and of the ruling Frelimo Party left at least eight people dead.
Violent incidents might occur in any political process, President Guebuza added.
But they could not be viewed as marking the failure of a peace which was firmly
backed by the great majority of Mozambicans. Isolated clashes were not evidence
that peace was under threat.
President Guebuza's opposite number in Rome, Raul Domingos, then the number two
in Renamo, agrees with the President's assessment. Interviewed on a Radio Mozambique
chat show on 4 October, Domingos also said that sporadic outbursts of violence
were not sufficient to annul the success of the 1992 peace accord.
Domingos was sure that, rather than the good will of the politicians, it was the
firm defence of the peace agreement by ordinary Mozambicans that had been the
real guarantee of success. He pointed out that, despite the horrors of the war,
once the agreement was signed, members of the public made no attempt to exact
revenge for what had happened to them and their families.
Domingos was expelled from Renamo in 2000, and now heads the Party for Peace,
Democracy and Development (PPD). He was present at the ceremony in Heroes' Square,
as were the leaders of several other minor opposition parties - Yaqub Sibindy
of the Independent Party (PIMO) and Miguel Mabote of the Labour Party (PT), for
But, although it was Renamo who insisted that 4 October should be declared a public
holiday, there was no sign of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, or any other senior
Renamo figure, in the square.
This is consistent with Dhlakama's policy of boycotting national ceremonies -
particularly if they take place at Heroes' Square.
Renamo, the country's main opposition
party, are to meet on 16-17 October in a national conference in the central
district of Maringue. Making this announcement, the Renamo national spokesperson,
Fernando Mazanga, confirmed that two other conferences will also take place
there, one of the party's Youth League, and the other of its Women's League.
Mazanga explained that the main idea behind these events is to reconcile the
party leaders with the former guerrillas, who have been complaining of exclusion
to the benefit of the party's intellectuals, and also lack of consideration
for their colleagues, who have been working as Dhlakama's bodyguards in Maputo.
During these events, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama is to inaugurate a monument
in memory of Andre Matsangaissa, the man appointed by Ian Smith's Rhodesian
regime to head Renamo in 1977, and who died in an abortive raid on Gorongosa
town in 1979.
The choice of Maringue has raised eyebrows. The district is important in Renamo
history, because it housed the rebels' general staff headquarters during the
closing years of the war of destabilisation. But Maringue town has no hotels,
no conference halls, none of the facilities normally regarded as essential for
holding successful conferences.
Grain SA, the trade organisation
of South African grain farmers, has warned its members to think carefully before
planting maize, on the grounds that there is likely to be a huge surplus in
production. This dire warning that the commodities market is failing southern
African farmers came as it was announced that ten million people in Mozambique,
Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe face hunger and will need humanitarian
assistance until the next harvest.
The Grain SA warning urged maize producers to reconsider their intentions to
plant. "If the balance between supply and demand of maize is not restored
now, uneconomic price levels will certainly prevail for the next year, and even
the following year," it said.
The huge dislocation in the grain market was highlighted earlier this month
by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, FEWS NET, which calculates that
South Africa will have a surplus of 5.5 million metric tonnes for the 2005/006
year, compared to a deficit of three million tonnes in the rest of the SADC
(Southern African Development Community) region.
Maize is the staple food for most people in southern Africa, and while farmers
in South Africa are complaining that they are making a financial loss, in the
rest of the region prices are soaring, leaving people hungry and impoverished.
Yet food aid has not been reaching all those in need, with the World Food Programme
(WFP) warning that its regional plea for stocks from donors has been ignored.
Earlier this year the WFP launched a appeal for $410 million to feed ten million
people in southern Africa, but it has only received $200 million so far.
According to Mike Sackett, WFP Regional Director for Southern Africa, "it
can take up to four months to move food to the region, so donations are needed
urgently if we are to reach the neediest before the beginning of the lean season.
We need food and cash now. Many people who have already eaten their food reserves
are surviving on wild foods and relying on other desperate coping strategies".
Situation in Mozambique
According to a 23 September WFP report, results of a recent survey indicate
that the availability of food in most areas in Mozambique is lower than previously
thought, and that the price of maize has shot up since the beginning of the
marketing season, rising by 75 per cent in most districts. The WFP calculates
that in Mozambique 588,000 people will rely on food aid until March next year.
According to Kerstin Reisdorf from the WFP office in Maputo, currently only
130,000 people hit by drought are receiving food aid, although recent improvements
in funding mean that from November this number will increase to 250,000. However,
there is still a shortfall of $19 million, without which the WFP will not be
able to feed all those in need until the next harvest in March.
Reisdorf points out that everything is in place for the relief operation - the
warehouses, trucks and organisation. All that is lacking is the food.
Already some have paid the ultimate price for the poor donor response. Mozambique's
National Disaster Management Institute (INGC) has confirmed that 12 people suffered
hunger-related deaths in Chibuto district, in the southern province of Gaza.
According to the Mozambican Red Cross a further 11 deaths have been reported
in Chemba district, in the central province of Sofala.
The food deficit in Mozambique is caused by the poor rainfall in some districts,
particularly in the south of the country. It is exacerbated by the growing AIDS
epidemic, which feeds a vicious cycle of illness, lack of labour in the fields,
increasing poverty which results in more illness. The poverty and illness in
turn leads to people becoming vulnerable to infections such as TB or malaria
which in these circumstances can frequently result in death.
Greatest humanitarian crisis
The situation in much of southern Africa was summed up in startling fashion
when WFP Executive Director James Morris spoke at the UN Security Council on
30 June, warning that "the greatest humanitarian crisis we face today is
not in Darfur, Afghanistan or North Korea - it is the gradual disintegration
of the social structures in southern Africa and hunger is playing a critical
Morris took up the wider aspects of the food crisis in southern Africa, pointing
out that "a lethal mix of AIDS, recurring drought and failing governance
is creating insecurity. Last year alone, one million lives were lost to AIDS
in the region and we are only now entering the peak impact period for the pandemic".
He closely linked AIDS, development and hunger, pointing out that the prevalence
of HIV is not only taking a toll in lives lost and reduced life expectancy,
it is directly undermining the capacity of communities to produce enough food.
Morris stated that "outside many rural villages the land lies fallow with
no one to till it, as weekly funerals have left more graves than inhabitants.
Because of the pandemic, a generation has gone missing, and there is no one
to teach the next generation to farm. AIDS has claimed the lives of nearly eight
million African farmers".
Future harvest depends on rain and food aid
Many in Mozambique have suffered season upon season of hunger. In 2002, 590,000
people needed food aid, rising in 2003 to 659,000. In 2004, the number fell
to 108,00 after a good harvest.
An important question now is whether exceptionally dry conditions will continue
into the 2005/06 agricultural year. The weather forecast from the National Meteorology
Institute (INAM) paints an optimistic picture, predicting normal rainfall for
the first part of the rainy season (October to December).
Although the outlook may be positive, the immediate task remains to feed those
on the front line of hunger immediately so they can build up their strength
and health to be able to farm their land successfully.
The common sense approach would be for donors to buy maize in South Africa and
transport it to those in need in the rest of the region. Yet most donors do
not work in this way, preferring to purchase the surplus from their own farmers
and ship it - at great expense with fatal delays.
According to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD), "The Development Effectiveness of Food Aid", it is estimated
that the global inefficiency of providing tied food aid instead of commercial
imports is at least thirty per cent, with the actual costs of tied direct food
aid transfers on average 50 per cent higher than local food purchases and a
third higher than buying food in third countries.
The researchers looked at the cost of delivering food aid from the donor country
compared with the cost of buying food on the international commodities markets.
In the case of Mozambique, the report found that tied aid was 23 per cent more
expensive than sourcing the food on the basis of the best price.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the region people are dying as hunger sets in. In Malawi,
according to WFP figures, 29 children in the district of Nsanje, south of Blantyre,
died of hunger-related illnesses between January and September - even before
the lean season kicked in.
Across Malawi it is estimated that 4.2 million people will need food aid, but
it is going to be difficult for the WFP to meet the need since it has so far
only received $15 million for aid to Malawi, though it had requested $88 million.
Britain's ruling Labour Party gave Mozambican
Prime Minister Luisa Diogo a standing ovation on 26 September, as she called on
the rich nations of the world to make good the promises on aid and trade given
at the G8 summit in Scotland in July.
Prime Minister Diogo was speaking as guest of honour at the Labour Party conference
in the coastal city of Brighton. Conference chairman, Jeremy Beecham introduced
her to the delegates as "someone from the front line in the struggle against
Prime Minister Diogo warned that at the current pace it will be impossible to
achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in all developing countries by
the cut-off date of 2015. The MDGs were agreed to by all UN member states at the
world body's Millennium Summit in 2000. They include cutting the number of people
living on less than a dollar a day by half, achieving universal primary education,
and cutting the under-five mortality rate by two thirds.
Diogo noted that, according to some estimates, the MDG targets for education and
child mortality will not be achieved in 100 years, and it will take even longer
to halve world poverty, unless the pace is picked up.
But Diogo was not without hope. "Although the chances of fulfilling all the
MDGs by 2015 are becoming slimmer, a quick and harmonised action can make a difference",
Both developing and developed countries had a role to play in this. "Developing
counties have the responsibility of adopting reforms and strategies for poverty
reduction; promoting an environment attractive to international capital and for
private sector investment, including measures to fight corruption", she said.
"From the developed countries we seek the delivery of the commitments of
$50 billion a year and 0.7 per cent of GNP for development aid, a greater flow
of resources in quantity and quality with better flexibility. predictability and
long term commitment".
She reminded Chancellor of the Exchequer (Finance Minister) Gordon Brown of the
visit both of them had made in January to the Maragra sugar plantation, about
80 kilometres north of Maputo. Then Brown had stopped to chat with a group of
women sugar workers - who protested at their low wages and asked how they could
afford to send their children to school when they earned the equivalent of five
dollars a week.
"I know that your passion for justice will not have allowed you to forget
that moment", Diogo told Brown, "and I think you must have had it in
your mind when you called in your speeches yesterday and this morning for universal
and free health and education to be our next mission, and the test of what aid
and debt relief can deliver".
Diogo stressed the importance of education, particularly for girls - since every
year of a mother's education "reduces child mortality by eight per cent".
Making schooling free had led to "dramatic increases in enrolment" in
countries such as Uganda and Malawi, "but investment in free schooling can
only be made if we know we can count on funding over the long term. Predictable
finance is fundamental to raise the hopes of those children".
That was why Diogo enthusiastically endorsed Brown's proposal for a new International
Finance Facility (IFF) - which would fund development immediately, by raising
money on the international bond market, to be repaid out of future aid commitments.
"Rather than the halting and unpredictable aid of the past", she said,
"the IFF provides a mechanism that may actually ensure that the large sums
promised by the G8 can be delivered and, what is more, delivered in a way that
allows the long term investment needed in health and education".
Diogo also stressed the importance of fair trade, warning that the potential of
trade as a tool for poverty reduction had been undermined by the volatility in
the prices of primary goods, the tariff and non-tariff barriers in the way of
developing countries' exports, and "the perverse effects of the policy of
agricultural subsidies in the developed world".
Hence the main trade demands Africa made of the developed world were "the
removal of barriers to trade and the opening of markets to developing countries",
and "a more flexible framework of intellectual property to facilitate the
transfer of technology".
Diogo pointed out that "trade liberalisation has been pursued consistently
by our countries, and we would like to see reciprocal measures by the developed
Diogo praised the commitment to Africa shown by Brown and by Prime Minister Tony
Blair - she was sure that the positive outcome of the July summit in Scotland
of the G8 group of most industrialised nations would not have been possible "without
the leadership of the British government".
She thanked Brown in particular "for ensuring the delivery of the G8 promise
on debt relief this weekend at the IMF and World Bank annual meetings in Washington".
The whole of the conference, including Blair, Brown and most other members of
the British government, rose to their feet as Diogo concluded "the UK Presidency
of the G8 and European Union has been crucial and a turning point. In Mozambique
we know that promises are easier to make than to fulfil. So we look to you again
to lead the international community to deliver on the commitments you extracted
on our behalf on aid and trade, as you have already done on debt. And I look to
the Labour Party with its long and unique history of fighting for justice, of
showing solidarity and friendship to sisters and brothers all over the world,
to remind your leaders of these promises beyond this special year of 2005".
Washington debt deal
Earlier in the day, Brown spoke of the successful meeting in Washington over the
weekend where the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund agreed to support
the debt cancellation initiative of the G8.
Among the countries to benefit is Mozambique, which would no longer have to make
the huge annual debt service payments which currently stand at around $57 million
a year - more than the entire health budget.
Most of Mozambique's debts were cancelled under the two phases of the World Bank's
Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative, which wiped out about $4.3 billion
off Mozambique's debt stock, with the debt falling to $1.6 billion in nominal
terms, or to $750 million in net present value terms. This remaining debt now
looks likely to be largely written off.
The deal went ahead in Washington after a promise by the G8 nations to finance
any losses that the World Bank would suffer from writing off its loans to the
18 poor countries covered by the deal.
Brown also spoke of his initiative to set up an International Finance Facility,
which will initially raise four billion dollars to pay for the immunisation of
children in the poorest countries.
The Chancellor also dealt with the central issue of protectionism, stating that
"this year we must also make the scandal and waste of agricultural protectionism
history" - apparently a commitment to fight for abolition of the European
Union's irrational farm subsidies.
During her four day visit to Britain, Diogo held talks with Blair, Minister for
International Development Hilary Benn, and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. She has
had several meetings with Brown, the man strongly tipped to succeed Blair as leader
of the Labour Party and Prime Minister prior to the next general election. Prime
Minister Diogo also addressed a seminar in London organised by the Mozambique-Angola
Committee, commemorating thirty years of independence of Angola and Mozambique.
The Mozambican authorities believe there
are signs of the presence of oil in the basin of the Rovuma river, that marks
the border between Mozambique and Tanzania, and an international tender has already
been launched to select suitable specialised companies for the necessary prospection
in that area.
Nelson Ocuane, exploration manager of the research department at the Mozambican
National Oil Institute, told AIM "areas can be found in that basin that contain
heavy oil", and explained that in geological terms, the Rovuma basin "can
be compared with neighbouring Madagascar", where oil was found.
The Mozambican government launched in London recently a six month international
tender for the concession of oil prospection areas in the Rovuma basin, but there
has been no response, so far. Ocuane explained this apparent lack of interest
with the fact that this area is "very specific and complex, and oil companies
need to study every detail before they start prospection".
The most important thing is to select a company that is serious, through this
international tender, explained Ocuane, adding that the ideal would be to have
a number of companies acquiring these concessions (the area has been divided into
seven blocks), because thus the job would be faster.
The Mozambican government demand that the interested companies have their own
experienced geotechnicians and also prove that they have done similar work elsewhere.
The winners of the tender will be announced in February or March 2006.
The district of Gorongosa, in the central
province of Sofala, can see renewed hope for its economy with the supply of electric
power from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi. President Armando Guebuza on 27
September inaugurated the new power transmission line to that district, the construction
of which cost 3.6 million Euros (about $4.25 million) granted by the German Development
Bank (KFW) and the Mozambican electricity company EDM (which contributed 600,000
Euros). The district has 77,000 residents.
Small and medium sized companies in Gorongosa, such as the animal feed and milling
plants, which had been paralysed for years, may now be revived.
"This is a big celebration for safe electric power. Now students can have
night classes in improved conditions, and hospitals can also assist patients at
any hour", said President Guebuza, addressing a rally during the inauguration
Before the completion of this transmission line, Gorongosa had to rely on generators
for electricity. Even now, the new power line does not supply all the outlying
neighbourhoods of Gorongosa town. The chairperson of the EDM board of directors,
Vicente Veloso, said that his company is working to extend electricity to the
entire district of Gorongosa and to other parts of Sofala, with EDM targeting
to build about 120 km of transmission line by 2008.
On 2 October Kenya Airways operated
its first Nairobi-Maputo flight, with promises that it will offer Mozambican travellers
The Boeing-737 stopped at Harare on the outward trip, while the return journey
was direct from Maputo to Nairobi. There were only 28 passengers from Nairobi
to the Mozambican capital, while 45 people flew from Maputo to Kenya.
Kenya Airways regional director for Africa, Robert Owusu, declared that it was
his company's intention "to connect African cities to the rest of the world
via our Nairobi hub".
Under current arrangements, Kenya Airways, in a code-sharing deal with Mozambican
Airlines (LAM), is operating two flights a week, on Sundays and Thursdays, between
the Kenyan and Mozambican capitals. If there was enough traffic to justify it,
said Owusu, Kenya Airways could raise the frequency to once a day.
Faustino Massitela, of the LAM board of directors, said that under cooperation
with Kenya Airways "we will be able to offer more routes to our customers".
He suggested that this could mean cheaper flights from Maputo to certain European
destinations (such as London and Frankfurt), changing planes in Nairobi, than
are currently available (via Lisbon or Johannesburg).
The Mozambican general staff has
suspended Captain Julio Nota from his position as commander of the army barracks
in the Maputo suburb of Bagamoyo, for failing to discipline his soldiers, who
are accused of torturing and humiliating local residents.
Daniel Chale, of the administration and logistics department at the general
staff, is cited in "Noticias" on 29 September as saying that preliminary
results of an investigation conducted by the military authorities concluded
that Nota did not have any control over his men, which contributed to the bad
relationship between the civilians and the military in Bagamoyo.
It was found that, contrary to all military regulations, the soldiers leave
the barracks, with no authorisation, and go drinking in the informal bars of
the neighbourhood where they become involved in violence and vandalism.
Chale said that a team of military experts is conducting further investigations
into the bad relationship between the civilians and the military in Bagamoyo.
In these investigations, the military will hear the local civilian authorities
and residents, including some of the victims that have filed complaints of ill-treatment
by the military.
He said that the report on this work will be completed within the next few days.
"Once responsibility for those acts is established, further measures will
be taken to ensure that such cases are not repeated. With this work, we also
want to make sure that the military stationed in Bagamoyo and the local civilians
live in a sound relationship", said Chale.
This is a condensed version of the
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