Mozambique News Agency
The leader of Mozambique’s largest opposition party, Renamo, on 8 May registered as a voter. This enables Afonso Dhlakama to stand as the Renamo candidate for the presidential election scheduled for 15 October (only registered voters can stand as presidential candidates).
Dhlakama registered at a special mobile registration brigade, accompanied by members of the Mozambican police and by journalists. The brigade was taken by Renamo to a site in the dense bush of Gorongosa district for the sole purpose of issuing a voter card to Dhlakama.
He was processed by one of the final eight registration brigades which deployed to the northern part of rural Gorongosa after Renamo had guaranteed a suspension of its military activities in the central province of Sofala.
The reporters accompanying the brigade said they had to drive for 60 kilometres, and then walk the final three kilometres. There were six vehicles involved, and as they were reaching their destination they were stopped by a large group of Renamo gunmen.
The brigade members and the journalists marched on through the bush, until Renamo guards told them to stop. Ten minutes later Dhlakama appeared, surrounded by ten armed and uniformed women bodyguards.
This was the first time Dhlakama had appeared in public since the FADM had occupied the nearby Renamo military headquarters of Satunjira on 21 October last year.
Speaking briefly to the reporters, Dhlakama thanked the electoral bodies for sending a brigade to register him, and pledged that his men would not resume their armed attacks. He said that he had personally ordered the cessation of hostilities announced on 7 May by his spokesperson, Antonio Muchanga.
Asked if he will now stand as a candidate in the presidential election, Dhlakama said that was up to the Renamo National Council “which will shortly meet to decide on this matter”.
Dhlakama then returned to his bush hideout, while the brigade and its companions returned to their vehicles, where they found policemen and Renamo fighters chatting amicably.
The other two main parties have already selected their candidates – the central committee of the ruling Frelimo Party chose former defence minister Filipe Nyusi, while the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) chose its leader and Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango.
All three must now collect the documentation they need for their nomination papers, including 10,000 supporting signatures which must all be authenticated by a public notary. The nomination papers must be submitted to the Constitutional Council, the highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, by 21 July.
The judge assassinated in central Maputo on 8 May, Dinis Silica, was the man who validated the arrest of Manish Cantilal, a business figure accused of involvement in the wave of kidnappings in Maputo and Matola.
Silica worked in the criminal section of the Maputo City court, and, according the newssheet “Mediafax”, about three weeks ago he had legalised the detention of Cantilal after concluding there was sufficient evidence to support the police claim that he was one of those ordering the kidnappings.
Eye witnesses say Silica was assassinated when he stopped his car at a red traffic light at the junction between Karl Mark and Marien Ngouabi Avenues. A car that had been following him, with three people inside, drew up beside him, and opened its windows. Two AK-47 assault rifles appeared and opened fire, peppering Silica’s car with bullets.
Seconds later one of the death squad jumped out of the car and continued to pump bullets into Silica’s body. Then he jumped back into the car, which sped away.
It seems that they had followed Silica from the door of his home, in nearby Rua de Malhangalene. The judge was almost certainly on his way to work at the City Court.
When the police arrived, they inspected Silica’s car, a Hyundai Accent, and found large sums of money on the back seat. Maputo City police spokesperson Arnaldo Chefo told reporters that Silica had been carrying US$68,000 and 1.5 million meticais (equivalent to about $49,000). So far, it is not known where this money came.
The Mozambican Association of Judges, issued a statement, signed by its chairperson, Vitalina Papadakis, describing the murder as “a shock for the entire nation, and for judges in particular”.
“In any country, the judge is the final guardian of legality”, Papadakis said. “To attack the life of a judge is to attack justice. So they did not just kill judge Silica, but they seriously wounded Mozambican justice. A blow was struck against all those who are committed to truth and justice, those who not bow down before illegalities, organised crime, blackmail and bribery”.
Papadakis insisted that killing a judge will not lead to the dropping of criminal charges against those who may have ordered the assassination. “On the contrary, the death of our colleague drives us to an unremitting commitment against organised crime”.
The Nigerian group Orlean Invest is ready to begin operations in the northern Mozambican city of Pemba, as soon as the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the planned Pemba logistical base is ready, Tavares Martinho, the director of research of the National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH), told AIM during a visit to the Orlean complex at the Nigerian port of Onne.
ENH owns 50 per cent of Ports of Cabo Delgado (PCD), with the other 50 per cent held by the national port and rail company, CFM. In December 2013 the government gave PCD the lease to run port and logistics terminals in Pemba, and in Palma district. Discoveries of enormous reserves of up to 180 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been discovered off the coast of Palma.
In Palma, an entirely new port is needed with the main aim of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG). In Pemba, a second port will be build alongside the existing one which is currently managed by CFM. The new Pemba port will be built and managed by PCD, under a special regime designed to open up space for attracting private investment.
To implement the project in the required time frame, PCD is sub-leasing the Pemba logistical base to the newly formed company, ENHILS. This is 51 per cent owned by ENH Logistics (itself a subsidiary of ENH), and 49 per cent by Orlean Invest.
Martinho said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is under way, and if it is completed by the end of this year, leading to the issuing of the requisite environmental licence, construction of phase one of the Pemba logistical base can begin in early 2015.
ENH wants an integrated logistical base for the oil and gas industry, based on the model of the Orlean Invest base at Onne. ENHILS, said Martinho, would operate as a “one stop shop” for all investors in hydrocarbons in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of Cabo Delgado.
Currently, there is a proliferation of logistical bases in Cabo Delgado. Energy companies such as Anadarko of the United States and ENI of Italy are each setting up their own. But ENH wants all logistics for the industry to be centralized.
Construction of the first phase at Pemba is budgeted at the fairly modest sum of US$150 million, including the building of the logistical base itself, and of the installations for the production and assembly of the subsea equipment used in the hydrocarbon industry.
But there are snags facing ENHILS and Orlean. One is the fact that the Pemba sub-lease was awarded directly to ENHILS, without any public tender. PCD claimed this was necessary because of the tight timetable for implementing the Palma liquefied natural gas (LNG) project. The normal tender process would have taken too long. Contracting ENHILS directly would allow building work to begin in such a way as to meet the targets of the natural gas companies.
According to PCD executive director Andre da Silva, ENHILS had been chosen because of its technical capacity and guarantees of immediate financing for the construction work. These factors are clearly provided by Orlean Invest.
The Mozambican anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), not only denounced the lack of a public tender, but argued that this was illegal, and that the delay in moving ahead with the Pemba base was deliberate in order to avoid a public tender, using the argument that there was no time.
In theory, this problem could still damage ENHILS, because Mozambique’s Administrative Tribunal has not yet approved the Pemba sub-lease.
The Japanese government is planning to provide about $232 million– $32 million as a grant and the rest as loans – for the rehabilitation of the northern Mozambican port of Nacala.
Speaking at a farewell dinner in his honour on 8 May, the outgoing Japanese ambassador, Eiji Hashimoto, said this was currently still at the project stage, “but the initiative is making progress”.
The total cost of rehabilitating the Nacala deep water port is put at $300 million. A funding agreement worth $84 million was signed between the Mozambican and Japanese authorities in March. That month the rehabilitation work began, and completion is due in 2017.
The work includes rehabilitating the northern jetty, paving the container parking area, installing equipment to modernise fuel handling operations, and building a new rail terminal. The contract for work on the port has been awarded to the Japanese company Penta – Ocean Construction Co Ltd.
Hashimoto, who is leaving the country next week, said he was pleased that during his tour of duty he was able to visit all of Mozambique’s 11 provinces. But he paid special attention to Nampula province, where Nacala is located, and where JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency) has been concentrating its investments.
“When I arrived, there were five Japanese companies operating in Mozambique”, he recalled. “Now the number has risen to 11, operating in various spheres of activity”.
Hashimoto said he was also “very happy” with the visit to Mozambique by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in January, which had resulted in a promise of $670 million of aid for Mozambique, spread over five years.
The National Statistics Institute (INE) announced on 8 May that the rate of inflation in Mozambique in April, as measured by the consumer price indices for the three largest cities (Maputo, Nampula and Beira), was just 0.12 per cent.
This is a considerable decline on the previous month, when inflation had been 0.91 per cent. It is also less than half the inflation rate of April 2013, which was 0.25 per cent.
During April, there were significant increases in the price of cassava flour (9.3 per cent), cabbage (7.5 per cent), lettuce (4.5 per cent), pineapples (30.6 per cent), and groundnuts (0.9 per cent).
There was a surprising reduction in the average price of alcoholic drinks which fell by 1.05 per cent. There were also slight falls in the prices of clothing and footwear, and of furniture. But the prices of most of the items in the basket of goods and services on which the consumer price index is calculated remained unchanged between March and April.
The accumulated inflation in the first four months of the years was 2.42 per cent, lower than the figure for January-April 2013, which was 3.08 per cent.
The price rises over the entire previous year (1 May 2013 to 30 April 2014) was 2.87 per cent. Again, this was a decline on the previous year (1 May 2012 to 30 April 2013), when inflation had been 4.79 per cent.
There were differences between the three cities. The steepest price rise in April, 0.9 per cent, was in Beira. In Maputo, the rise inflation in the month was 0.63 per cent, and in Nampula it was 0.17 per cent.
Taking the entire January to April period, Maputo experienced inflation of 4.03 per cent, while in the other two cities it was less than one per cent (Beira 0.97 per cent, and Nampula 0.78 per cent).
Mozambique has managed to create associations in all the country’s provinces to promote the sustainable use of firewood and charcoal.
The creation of these bodies came out of the government’s approval in 2013 of a strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of biomass. This included measures to reduce the use of firewood and charcoal. The majority of people in Mozambique use these for cooking, which has put a huge pressure on the existing tree stocks.
In an interview with AIM on 6 May on the margins of the Global Bioenergy Partnership meeting in Maputo, Marcelina Mataveia from the National Directorate of New and Renewable Energy said that meeting people’s energy requirements remains a challenge in terms of deforestation. She added that the government has been promoting the use of improved ovens for charcoal production.
The strategy is also to push for the increased adoption of electricity, liquefied natural gas and biomass to reduce pollution and environmental damage.
Mataveia stated that the country has adopted legal instruments to regulate the sustainable production of biofuels.
The Global Bioenergy Partnership was set up after the Gleneagles G8+5 meeting in 2005 to support wider, cost effective, biomass and biofuels deployment, particularly in developing countries where biomass use is prevalent.
The meeting in Maputo was hosted by the Mozambican government, and is supported by the Brazilian government, the Italian Ministry for the Environment and the Brazilian multinational Vale.
The Mozambican government is expanding the national food fortification programme in line with its commitment to reducing malnutrition.
On 2 May the Ministry of Industry and Trade delivered equipment to two food processing factories in Beira.
Vitamin A will be added to vegetable oil, and the food processing company MEREC will fortify food with iron, zinc, folic acid and B-complex vitamins.
Speaking during the handover of equipment, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Armando Inroga, said that through the national food fortification programme “we will have lower rates of anaemia in pregnant women and healthier children”.
He added that the second phase of the programme will be the implementation of a regulation to forbid the consumption of non-fortified products. The government is therefore first creating the conditions for the food industry to be able to fortify their products.
The programme was launched in September 2013 in Maputo with the handover of fortification equipment to the country’s largest food processing companies, the Companhia Industrial de Matola (CIM) and MEREC.
At the time, the Minister explained that the first phase of the programme would last a year. During this period fortification equipment will be installed in the main food processing companies.
The government has set up a National Food Fortification Committee (CONFAM) to ensure that micronutrients are added to foodstuffs. CONFAM is jointly chaired by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Health Ministry.
The project’s implementing agency is Helen Keller International (HKI), working in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and the NGOs World Vision and Population Services International (PSI).
The agricultural sector in the central province of Zambezia has registered an average annual growth of 15.5 per cent over the last eight years. Production has increased from 1.8 million tonnes in 2005 to 5.5 million tonnes in 2013.
A source in the provincial government told AIM that this growth was influenced by the construction of the Thewe II irrigation scheme in Mopeia district which has the capacity to irrigate 227 hectares, and the introduction of new agricultural implements. In addition, five silos have been built in the districts of Alto Molocue and Gurue with the capacity to store five thousand tonnes of grain.
During the period seven district capitals were linked to the electricity grid. This means that all the 17 district capitals (including the provincial capital Quelimane) now have access to electricity. The source added that “solar panels now provide electricity to 61 schools and 68 health units”.
Other positive developments include the construction of four petrol stations and the expansion of the mobile phone network which now covers all the district capitals, 28 administrative posts and 69 localities. The road between Mocuba and Alto Benfica has been repaired over an 86 kilometre stretch and bridges have been built over the Zambezi and Lugela rivers.
A water distribution centre has been built for Quelimane at a cost of 63.3 million meticais (about 2.1 million US dollars) and the city has had improvements made to its drainage system. Public buildings and the central hospital in the provincial capital have also been rehabilitated.
The province has seen a large growth in the education sector. This has included the expansion of five higher education institutes. In the health sector, the ratio of inhabitants per doctor has decreased from 60,828 in 2005 to 39,000 in 2013.
Unknown assailants shot and seriously injured Mozambique’s Deputy National Director of Taxes, Moises Marrime, on 29 April.
The assassination attempt occurred as Marrime was entering his house in the outlying Maputo neighbourhood of Mahotas. Several shots were fired, hitting Marrime in the back and in the right arm.
According to Maputo City police spokesperson, Orlando Mudumane, the assailants had either followed Marrime home, or had lain in wait for him outside the house.
The shooting recalls the assassination, almost exactly four years ago, of Orlando Jose, the director of investigation, audits and intelligence of Mozambican Customs. Jose was murdered on 26 April 2010, also as he was entering his house, located in the Maputo suburb of Zimpeto.
Three hours before his death, Jose had announced the seizure by customs of three luxury vehicles, one of them belonging to a powerful economic group based in the northern province of Nampula.
The Maputo daily “Noticias” points out that the Mozambique Tax Authority (AT) is currently carrying out another operation to seize vehicles imported illegally, without paying the taxes owing. These are cars imported in the name of political parties (who enjoy tax exemptions on such imports), but then sold on to third parties.
The AT launched an operation, code-named “Buffalo”, to impound these cars and recover the tax owed. As a result dozens of people have lost their cars, and do not know if or when they can reclaim them. Most of them claim that they were unaware that the cars had been imported illegally.
The United States government, through the Presidential Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funded the antiretroviral treatment of 366,000 Mozambicans last year. It also paid for testing and counselling 2.7 million citizens.
Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs prolong the lives of HIV-positive people and can prevent new born babies from being infected by their mothers.
According to the US Embassy in Maputo, PEPFAR’s support for treatment, care, prevention and the strengthening of the health system cost over US$234 million in 2013.
The US initiative enabled 89,000 pregnant women to receive antiretroviral prophylaxis to prevent the transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child. In addition, PEPFAR funded the voluntary circumcision of 130,000 males between the ages of ten and 49.
PEPFAR also gave care and support to 876,000 Mozambicans, including 170,000 orphans and vulnerable children. Training was provided to 7,000 medical workers and support was given to 465 health facilities providing antiretroviral therapy.
The national survey of HIV prevalence, INSIDA, carried out in 2009, showed that 11.5 per cent of Mozambicans aged between 15 and 49 were HIV-positive. The survey found that the HIV rate among women (13.1 per cent) was higher than for men (9.2 per cent). In urban areas the infection rate was 15.9 per cent, whilst in rural areas it was 9.2 per cent.
To date, PEPFAR has spent 1.9 billion dollars in Mozambique on interventions aimed at what it calls “working towards an AIDS-free generation”.
The Health Ministry has announced plans to vaccinate 8,200 ten year old girls over the next two years against the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is responsible for almost all cases of cervical cancer.
Speaking in Maputo on 9 May, the National Director of Public Health, Fernando Mbofana, said the vaccine will be introduced in a pilot scheme covering three districts – Manhica, Manica and Mocimboa da Praia.
“This pilot phase will allow us, within two years, to introduce throughout the country this highly effective vaccine, using the most appropriate channels to facilitate access to the population”, he said. The pilot phase is budgeted at 18 million meticais (about US$590,000), of which six million is the cost of the HPV vaccine itself.
The vaccine will be given to the girls in three doses. Ten year olds have been chosen because these will not yet have begun sexual activity, and so should not have been exposed to the virus which is transmitted sexually. The vaccine is only effective if given before infection occurs.
Mbofana said the vaccine will be given in schools, at health posts and by mobile brigades in the communities. The ministry hopes that, in 2014-15, it will attain coverage of at least 80 per cent of all ten year old girls in the three chosen districts.
Minister of Energy, Salvador Namburete, said on 8 May that power generating projects on the drawing board will make electricity available for the growing national demand, while providing a surplus for export.
The plans include five new hydro-electric power stations – a north bank power station at Cahora Bassa (which could generate 1,245 megawatts), Mphanda Nkuwa, on the Zambezi, 60 kilometres downstream from Cahora Bassa (1,500 megawatts in phase one and an additional 900 in phase two), Lupata (600 megawatts), Boroma (200 megawatts) and Lurio (120 megawatts). In addition at least three coal mining companies want to install power stations at the mouth of their mines to burn the coal that is not of export quality.
With the exception of the Lurio damn, all these projects are in the Zambezia Valley. They are the main justification for building a new transmission line from Tete province to Maputo, usually referred to as “the backbone” of the national electricity grid.
Speaking in Maputo at the opening of a conference on the theme “Powering Africa: Mozambique”, Namburete said that recently the demand for electricity in Mozambique has been growing by around 15 per cent a year. Keeping pace with that demand requires raising generating capacity by at least 100 megawatts a year – and this figure does not take into account extra demand for power from large scale industrial or mining projects.
Mozambique’s current rate of access to electricity is 40 per cent, the Minister added. He pointed out that in 2004 only seven per cent of Mozambicans had electricity in their home.
“This increase puts the country in top position in southern Africa in terms of new home electricity connections a year, and third in terms of access to electricity”, said Namburete (the countries where a higher percentage of the population have electricity at home are South Africa and Mauritius).
Between 2004 and 2014, he continued, 70 district capitals were electrified, raising the number of districts reached by the national grid to 121 (out of 128) – or 95 per cent. He promised that the remaining seven districts will be electrified by the end of this year.
The need for further generating capacity requires resources which are beyond the financial capacity of the Mozambican state, said Namburete, which led the government to look for means of sharing the associated risks.
One of the options for undertaking enormous electricity projects was the formation of public-private partnerships, he stressed.
Companies from several countries attended the Maputo conference to assess the opportunities and potential of the Mozambican electricity sector.
This is a condensed version of the AIM daily news service - for details contact firstname.lastname@example.org
email: Mozambique News Agency