Negotiations between the
Mozambican government and the opposition party
Renamo resumed in Maputo on 18 October with a minute’s silence for one
of the Renamo negotiating team, Jeremias Pondeca, who was killed on 9
October. After this the international mediating team met with the
Renamo delegation. They will meet with the government delegation on 19
Nothing of substance was said to the media. The coordinator of the
mediators, the Italian Mario Raffaelli, told reporters that the best
homage that could be paid to Pondeca “will be through a joint effort to
achieve a cessation of hostilities, as both sides have already said”.
As for the discussions, Raffaelli said he could only reveal this after
the mediators had met with both delegations.
Apparently the mediators’ strategy is to firm up commitments from the
two sides separately before bringing them both round the table in a
full meeting of the Government/Renamo Joint Commission.
The Joint Commission was originally set up to pave the way for a
face-to-face meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader
Afonso Dhlakama. But such a meeting now seems further away than ever,
since Dhlakama, in an interview given a fortnight ago, refused point
blank to meet with President Nyusi before signing a final agreement on
all the matters in dispute.
The mediating team has been strengthened by the arrival of former
Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete. He is one of the mediators chosen
by the government side, but was unable to attend previous rounds of
talks due to prior engagements.
President Filipe Nyusi was
among the mourners who paid their final
homage on 12 October to Jeremias Pondeca.
Since Pondeca was a member of the Council of State, a consultative body
that advises the President of the Republic, his body lay in state in
Maputo City Hall.
In addition to President Nyusi, who chairs the Council of State, other
Council members who paid their respects included former President
Armando Guebuza and the Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, who is leader of
the second largest opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement.
One of Pondeca’s eight children, Mercidio Munguambe, in a message from
the family, said that Pondeca’s death had created “unimaginable
The secretary of the Council of State, Amine Miquidade, hoped that the
murderers would be speedily identified and brought to justice. “We must
raise our voices against violence”, he declared, “We want to live in a
country where we can move around without any fear”.
Pondeca was gunned down when he was going for his habitual early
morning run at Maputo’s Costa do Sol beach. According to the police,
four men were seen attacking Pondeca, and they later fled the scene in
a Toyota Runx.
Interior Minister Basilio Monteiro told reporters that the police have
been instructed to treat the matter as top priority, and to use “all
their efforts” to track down the killers.
Pondeca’s body has now been taken to his home village in Chidinguele,
in the southern province of Gaza for burial.
The General Command of the
Mozambican police on 18 October confirmed
the dismantling of two bases of the illegal armed militia of the
opposition party Renamo in the central province of Zambezia (in Mocuba
district) and the northern province of Nampula (Morrupula district).
The spokesperson for the General Command, Inacio Dina, said it was the
responsibility of the defence and security forces to maintain public
order, security and tranquillity throughout Mozambique. “Because of
this, we have dismantled and occupied some of the positions and bases
of the Renamo armed bandits”, he said.
He promised that the defence forces will continue to close Renamo
bases, in order to prevent the Renamo gunmen from spreading insecurity,
destabilizing communities and hindering the normal circulation of
people and goods along the country’s roads.
“This is a process that will continue”, he said. “Our desire is that
there should exist no hideout, no base, no camp and no point where
Renamo armed bandits, or bandits of any other kind, have guns in their
hands, and are occupying space from which they create situations of
Dina added, the defence and security forces remain stationed at what
are regarded as “points of risk” in relation to the movements of Renamo
A ten year old child died on
14 October during an attack by Renamo
gunmen against the Muxungue administrative post, in the central
province of Sofala.
The child was burnt alive inside his parents’ house, set ablaze by the
Renamo raiders. His father is a local state official, the secretary of
the Muxungue Fourth Neighbourhood. The father sustained serious
injuries – the gunmen shot him as he was trying to escape.
Police spokesperson Daniel Macuacua said the armed group, wearing
Renamo uniform, headed straight for the house of the neighbourhood
secretary. They set it on fire, and then shot at anyone trying to flee.
Prime Minister Carlos
Agostinho do Rosario on 17 October declared that
the government remains convinced that the country’s first President,
Samora Machel, was “murdered by the enemy of self-determination” – a
clear reference to the now defunct apartheid regime.
Rosario, representing President Filipe Nyusi, was speaking at a
ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary of Machel’s death, held at
Mbuzini, in the South African province of Mpumulanga, where the plane
carrying Machel back from a summit in Zambia crashed on 19 October 1986.
Accompanied by South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, by
Machel’s widow Graca and their children, by some of the nine survivors
of the crash, and by relatives of the 34 others who died, Rosario laid
a wreath at the monument built on the crash site.
The monument consists of 35 steel tubes, one for each of the victims of
the crash. They are reddish, symbolising the blood shed at Mbuzini, and
the wind blowing through the tubes creates a mournful sound. Parts of
the wreckage of the plane have been incorporated into the monument.
The plane was off course when it crashed, and it is widely believed
that the apartheid military used a decoy navigational beacon,
broadcasting on the same frequency as the Maputo airport beacon, to
lure the plane away from its correct flight path. The evidence is not
conclusive as the apartheid regime shut down the inquiry into the cause
of the disaster, rather than investigate the source of the beacon.
Rosario said, “we Mozambicans express our belief that the truth about
the barbaric assassination of Samora Machel will one day be known. For
Mozambique the outcome of the dossier on the death of Samora Machel
remains a national priority and a patriotic imperative”.
Rosario thanked the South African government for its efforts to
discover the causes of the crash, and reiterated that Mozambique will
continue to work “so that the circumstances of the disaster which
claimed the lives of our President and of his delegation may be
He also thanked his South African hosts for the construction of the
Mbuzini monument and for declaring it part of South Africa’s national
heritage, as a reminder “of the sacrifice and of the blood spilled by
Mozambican and South African nationalists for independence, peace and
President Filipe Nyusi on 17
October appointed Leticia Klemens Minister
of Mineral Resources and Energy. She replaces Pedro Couto, who left the
job in late September, when he was appointed chairperson of the Board
of Directors of Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB), which operates
the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi.
At the time of her appointment, Klemens was chairperson of the general
meeting of the country’s largest commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM.
She has also been secretary of the general meeting of the country’s
main employers’ body, the Confederation of Mozambican Business
Associations (CTA), and chairperson of the Association of Mozambican
Businesswomen. She is deputy chair of the labour policy department of
the CTA, and in this capacity sits on the Labour Consultative
Commission (CCT), the tripartite negotiating forum between the
government, the employers and the trade unions. Klemens is also
chairperson of the Mozambican Association of Employment Agencies, and
ambassador in Mozambique for the US State Department’s African Women’s
Entrepreneurship Programme (AWEP).
The Irish company Kenmare
Resources, which operates the titanium
minerals dredge mine at Moma, in the northern province of Nampula, has
reported healthy production in the third quarter of 2016, and a decline
in operating costs.
According to Kenmare, the production between July and September was a
record and “Moma is on track to achieve record finished product output
for the full year”.
The mine produces ilmenite (titanium iron oxide), rutile (titanium
dioxide) and zircon (zirconium silicate). Its ilmenite production in
the third quarter was 243,500 tonnes, 12 per cent higher than the
previous quarter, while zircon production increased by 48 per cent to
The total shipment of finished products in the quarter was 280,800
tonnes, which compares with 190,000 tonnes in the third quarter of 2015.
The main consumer of ilmenite is China and the ilmenite price in China
has risen by 70 per cent so far this year, while the mine’s cash
operating costs per tonne trended downwards over the quarter.
Kenmare’s managing director Michael Cargill commented that the record
output of finished product in the third quarter demonstrated the
benefits of a stable power supply to the mine and of the increased
mining of higher grades of ore. He believed that Kenmare “is well
positioned to benefit from increasingly favourable operational and
market dynamics in 2017”.
In addition, Kenmare has reached agreement with the local community on
mining the area known as Monte Filipe in the coming months. This is a
sensitive issue, since the area is regarded as sacred – but objections
seem to have been overcome with the promise to hold a traditional
ceremony in order to ratify the agreement with the community.
The National Petroleum
Institute (INP) has announced that it has signed
a contract with French company CGG for the collection of seismic data
in three regions, two of which are offshore. The contract involves the
collection of 2D data covering 6,550 square kilometres in the Rovuma
Basin off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado. In
addition, a 3D survey will be carried out covering 40,000 square
kilometres in the Zambezi Delta.
According to INP, the programme will involve collecting geological data
in the three regions to provide participating hydrocarbon companies
with an in-depth knowledge of the existing potential.
Meanwhile, South African petrochemicals giant Sasol has announced that
it has concluded its programme to collect 3D seismic data covering 115
square kilometres at its onshore Inhassoro field, in the southern
province of Inhambane.
The police on 7 October
arrested a gang of three members in the
northern city of Nampula, who had specialized in robbing houses and
terrifying their victims with sharp implements such as machetes.
Police spokesperson Zacarias Nacute said the arrests followed a
tip-off. “The police had been receiving denunciations about this group
which the local people call ‘nacatana’ (from the Portuguese word for a
machete)”, said Nacute. “We took measures, and we succeeded in
arresting this group of people who spent their time robbing homes using
the threat of machetes”.
The Mozambican government’s
Agricultural Development Fund (FDA) has
begun training fifty extensionists from the southern provinces of
Maputo, Gaza, and Inhambane in techniques for the production and
management of fruit such as orange and lychee.
The training is being carried out in partnership with the government’s
Agricultural Research Institute (IIAM). It will give the extensionists
knowledge of improved practices and innovations for the establishment
of orchards, management of irrigation, and the identification of pests
and diseases and their respective methods of control and prevention.
During the two-week training course, the extensionists will also learn
more about the production, processing, and storage of fruit, to
facilitate access to the national and international market.
The initiative is part of the national programme launched in 2011 to
encourage small and medium-sized farmers to increase fruit production.
Between 2011 and 2015, the Agricultural Development Fund distributed
204,582 seedlings of mango, orange, pineapple, lychee to fruit
producers in the provinces of Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Sofala,
Zambezia, Tete, Nampula, Cabo Delgado and Niassa.
About thirty magistrates are
receiving training relating to the
application of the law on conservation and the legal procedures to
combat commercial poaching and the illegal trade in the country’s flora
The two-week course in Maputo is organised by the WorldWide Fund for
Nature (WWF) in partnership with the attorney general and aims to equip
the magistrates with an understanding of the best way to implement the
Speaking at the opening of the course, Assistant Attorney-General
Angelo Matusse called on those attending the event to take account of
the seriousness of the issue given the importance of conserving
He stressed, “this training is not a trivial exercise … and whose
result will not end up as just a report. Our expectation is that this
training will serve as a launchpad for a relentless offensive against
The director of WWF Mozambique, Anabela Rodrigues, said that the
organisers saw the need to train staff in the judiciary for a more
effective and efficient implementation of the law on conservation.
She added, “a country that can take care of its fauna in an effective
manner is a country that proves that it is organised, that proves that
there is order in the country, because it is able to prevent its
borders from being vulnerable to criminal gangs”.
Earlier this month, Vietnamese customs in the port of Ho Chi Minh City
seized about two tonnes of ivory hidden in a shipment of timber from
Despite the authorities seizing the ivory, the two countries have been
threatened with trade sanctions if they do not take action against the
illegal trade in endangered species (specifically rhino horn). The 17th
meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Johannesburg
agreed to send a mission to Mozambique and Vietnam to assess the
situation on the ground as key countries implicated in rhino
trafficking. Based on the results of those missions, there may be a
recommendation for trade sanctions if significant progress is not made.
President Filipe Nyusi on 14
October stressed the determination of his
government to build a more diversified and robust economy which, even
in the face of external shocks, can stand firm on the path of
The President was speaking in Maputo at the opening of the Fourth
Edition of the International Tourism Fair entitled “Discover
Mozambique”, which he described as “an essential display of the tourist
potential the country offers and the blossoming of new opportunities”.
The indicators currently available on the number of tourists visiting
the country, President Nyusi said, are far from corresponding to
He believed tourism is “a strategic economic activity can create jobs,
generate revenue, and raise taxes through the rational use of limited
The President called on tourism companies to develop cultural tourism,
which would promote the country’s artistic and historical heritage. He
also insisted on sustainability and conservation. Tourism, he said,
must take into consideration environmental aspects, including the
conservation of biodiversity and of the variety of landscapes that
Unknown assailants on 14
October shot and seriously injured prominent
businessman Omar Faruk Ayoob, owner of the Ayoob Comercial group, on
Kenneth Kaunda Avenue in central Maputo. Ayoob was gunned down in front
of the United States embassy. Eye-witnesses said the criminals who shot
Ayoob were in a Toyota Conquest with South African number plates. At
least five shots were fired, one of which hit a car parked near the
embassy. Ayoob was rushed to the nearby Sommerschield private clinic,
where he underwent intensive medical treatment.
Ayoob is the brother of Momad Khalib Ayoob who was murdered in April
2012 outside a Maputo mosque. The family’s misfortunes did not end
there. Khalib Ayoob’s widow, Reyma Ayoob was kidnapped in October 2014,
and spent 22 days in captivity before she was released on payment of a
Reyma Ayoob was the third member of the family to be kidnapped since
her husband's assassination. In August 2012, Ayoob's 17 year old niece,
Hina Farouk Ayoob, was abducted, and in April 2014, one of his sons,
Bilal Ayoob, was kidnapped. He was held captive for 10 days, and was
only released when the family paid an unspecified ransom.
The wealth of this family was publicly exposed when Khalib Ayoob was
arrested at Matsapha airport in Swaziland in December 2010 in
possession of about US$ 2.7 million in banknotes, which he had failed
to declare. He had exported the money illegally from Mozambique and
said he was taking it to Dubai. The money was confiscated by the Swazi
authorities. A court case in Swaziland against Ayoob was brought to an
abrupt end by his death.
The Ayoob family owns several companies, some of which were extremely
shady. One of the Ayoob companies, Niza Lda, achieved notoriety in 2010
when the Tax Authority ordered the public sale of its goods to pay off
a debt of 276 million meticais (about $7.9 million, at the exchange
rate of the time) to the mobile phone company M-Cel.
Niza had been an authorised vendor of M-Cel pre-paid phone cards, but
its cheques to M-Cel bounced.
China has donated 80 buses to
Mozambique for public passenger transport
services. Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario confirmed this
grant at a press conference in Macau on 12 October marking the end of
his participation in the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum for
Economic and Commercial Cooperation between China and the Portuguese
Speaking Counties (otherwise known as the Macau Forum).
He added that part of an earlier Chinese promise of 10,000 tonnes of
rice in emergency food aid has begun to arrive in the country.
As for the debt relief announced by Chinese Prime Minister Le Kequian,
covering the cancellation of payment due on interest-free loans,
Rosario said “we shall also work to ensure that we benefit from this
good Chinese initiative”.
“Participation in this Forum was worthwhile”, he continued. “We
exchanged information and ideas. China needs space to put its
industries to feed its growth, and for its part Mozambique needs
industries to transform its raw materials. This is one of the areas
where synergies should be capitalized on”. Rosario invited businesses
from China and from the Portuguese speaking countries to invest in
Mozambique, taking advantage of its geographical location, which makes
it a point of entry for the market of the Southern African Development
Monthly inflation in
Mozambique hit 2.71 per cent in September,
according to figures from the National Statistics Institute (INE),
drawing on the consumer price indices in the three largest cities
(Maputo, Nampula and Beira).
This compares with an inflation rate of 1.27 per cent in August, 0.9
per cent in July and 0.76 per cent in June.
Most of the rise in inflation is accounted for by food prices. Thus in
September, rice rose in price by 3.8 per cent, groundnuts by 10.4 per
cent, cooking oil by 8.2 per cent, live chickens by eight per cent and
maize flour by 2.3 per cent.
The accumulated inflation from January to September was 14.7 per cent,
and annual inflation (1 October 2015 to 30 September 2016) was 24.92
per cent. Food and drink accounted for the overwhelming bulk of this
Of the three cities, Maputo showed the sharpest price rise in
September, of 3.48 per cent. Prices in Nampula rose by 2.02 per cent,
and in Beira by 1.78 per cent.
Meteorology Institute (INAM) is forecasting above
normal rainfall in central and southern Mozambique during the 2016-2017
rainy season. Although “above normal” carries a risk of flooding, this
forecast will come as a relief to farmers in the southern and central
provinces, who were hit by severe drought this year. The rainy season
begins in October and ends in March.
INAM meteorologist Acacio Tembe announced the long term forecast after
a meeting between INAM and the Mozambican relief agency, the National
Disaster Management Institute (INGC).
Tembe also said that the forecast for the coming months was for below
normal rainfall in the northern provinces of Nampula, Niassa and Cabo
“We make probabilistic forecasts for three months”, he said, “but what
constitutes normal rainfall depends on the region. Each region has its
own rainfall behaviour”.
Thus average rainfall in the south and centre of the country is about
400 millimetres in the first three months of the rainy season, but in
the north the average is between 900 and 1,200 millimetres for the same
The Italian energy company ENI
and its partners in offshore Area Four
of the Rovuma Basin in northern Mozambique on 4 October signed an
agreement in London to sell liquefied natural gas (LNG) to BP Poseidon,
a company fully controlled by British Petroleum (BP).
ENI-East Africa holds 70 per cent of the shares in Area Four. This
company is 50 per cent owned by ENI itself and 20 per cent by the China
National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). Galp Energia of Portugal, Kogas
of South Korea, and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company
(ENH), each hold ten per cent of Area Four.
The LNG will be produced at the floating LNG facility which ENI intends
to install above the Coral South gas field.
According to a release from ENI, the contract with BP covers the sale,
for a period of more than 20 years, of all the LNG that will be
produced at the Coral South facility. This floating factory will have
the capacity to produce over 3.3 million tonnes of LNG a year.
The Mozambican government has already approved the contract, but it
remains conditional on ENI taking a Final Investment Decision. That
decision is expected by the end of 2016.
ENI describes the agreement with BP as “another fundamental milestone
for the execution of the Coral South Development Project, following the
approval in February of the Plan of Development by the Government of
The contract with BP gives ENI the guarantee it needs to seek the
necessary funding to build the floating LNG platform. That will require
investment of at least ten billion US dollars.
Huge reserves of natural gas have been discovered, not only in Rovuma
Basin Area Four, but also in the adjacent Area One, where the operator
is the American company Anadarko. Between them these discoveries could
amount to about 200 trillion cubic feet of gas, which would propel
Mozambique to among the five largest producers of natural gas in the
This is the first binding contract for the sale of the Rovuma Basin gas.