Mozambique News Agency
President Filipe Nyusi on 29 June warned residents of the northern province of Cabo Delgado not to be deceived by the false promises made by the terrorist groups who have been committing atrocities in the province since last October.
The death toll from these attacks, carried out by Islamic fundamentalists known locally as Al-Sunna or Al-Shabaab, now stands at around a hundred. In some incidents the terrorists have beheaded their victims in what seems a clear imitation of the self-styled “Islamic State”. Several villages have been burnt down, particularly in Macomia district, sending hundreds of people fleeing into towns or to offshore islands.
Speaking at a rally in the town of Palma, the northernmost district in the province, and the one closest to enormous offshore natural gas discoveries, President Nyusi described the terrorist attacks as a new phenomenon. He noted that they began last October in Mocimboa da Praia district, and later spread to Palma, and more recently still into Nangade and Macomia.
President Nyusi said the defence and security forces are on the ground to guarantee the security of the people of the province – but the greatest defence of their homes comes from citizens themselves. Addressing the young people of the province, President Nyusi stressed they should not allow themselves to be fooled by promises of eternal happiness.
“It is not true what they say, that you can die on earth but live well up there (in heaven), by killing your father, burning down your father’s house”, he said, pointing out that those who give such orders are in no danger themselves, since they stay at the rear issuing instructions, while the young people who rush forward end up losing their lives.
The President dismissed the jihadist argument that the terrorists use to justify their crimes – namely that their intention is to impose a genuine Islamic religion.
Members of the public should turn the criminals over to the authorities – President Nyusi pledged that nobody will kill them. He said that, of the over 200 suspects captured, those against whom there was no evidence have been set free, while the others have been turned over to the institutions of justice for trials.
As for young jihadists themselves, the President urged them to have no fear about turning themselves in, even if they did not want to reveal who had recruited them. He also urged parents to take appropriate measures if their sons had gone missing.
Palma citizens should be patient, he urged, since it will still take same time before the production and export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) begins - the current earliest date for the start of production is 2022.
President Filipe Nyusi on 16 June inaugurated a water supply system in the town of Homoine, in the southern province of Inhambane.
The 146 million meticais (US$2.5 million) system was financed by the European Union and UNICEF, in partnership with the government. It has the capacity to supply water to 39 per cent of the town’s population.
Addressing Homoine residents who attended the inauguration ceremony, President Nyusi recalled that when he had visited the town in October 2014, residents had asked for an improved water system. “I am here to say that the first significant phase has now happened”.
The EU’s first consul in Mozambique, Stergios Varvaroussis, stated that the project reflects the concern of the EU member states in promoting human rights. Complying with human rights, he said, includes “improving the quality of life in Mozambique, particularly in the rural areas”.
The inauguration of the Homoine system marks the end of the Aguasani programme, which involved the rehabilitation and installation of water systems in three Inhambane districts – Homoine, Jangamo and Morrumbene. The project was budgeted at €10 million (US$11.6 million), and 90 per cent of the costs were disbursed by the EU.
Venancio Mondlane, formerly the rapporteur of the parliamentary group of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), has defected to Renamo.
Mondlane, who owes his entire political career to the MDM, shot to prominence in the 2013 municipal elections, when he was MDM candidate for mayor of Maputo and took 40 per cent of the vote. This came as a severe shock to the ruling Frelimo Party, which had regarded Maputo as a stronghold. The Frelimo candidate, current mayor David Simango, won, but his vote was slashed from 85 to 58 per cent.
It had seemed that Mondlane would stand for the MDM again: MDM members in Maputo twice elected him as their candidate for mayor in the elections scheduled for 10 October – once at a meeting in October 2017, and again last month.
In October, Mondlane gave the impression of being an enthusiastic MDM candidate, hoping to improve on his 2013 result. But in June, Mondlane was not present at the meeting which endorsed him, and issued a statement saying the MDM announcement was false.
Between October and June, Mondlane fell out with the MDM leader Daviz Simango, and at a meeting of the MDM National Council in April, he was not re-elected to the Party’s Political Commission. By then he was in discussions with Renamo, although he denied travelling to the central district of Gorongosa to meet with the then leader of Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama.
Mondlane has now formally resigned from the party and has informed the chairperson of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Veronica Macamo, that he has resigned his parliamentary seat.
This was then followed by the highly public resignation of a dozen or so senior MDM figures in Maputo, led by the head of the MDM group in the Maputo Municipal Assembly, Ismael Nhacucue, and including political delegates from Maputo municipal districts, and members of the MDM provincial council.
All were welcomed into Renamo at a ceremony in central Maputo on 29 June. Nhacucue stated that MDM was demoralised by the silence of the leadership after the assassination in October last year of the MDM Mayor of Nampula, Mahamudo Amurane, a crime that has not yet been solved. Amurane had also strongly disagreed with Simango, particularly over anti-corruption issues.
The General Secretary of the main opposition party Renamo, Manuel Bissopo, says it will take three months to integrate Renamo’s armed men into the country’s defence and security forces.
Speaking on 27 June in the northern city of Nampula, Bissopo said this would be long enough for the “rules and principles” established under the current agreements between the government and Renamo to be followed.
He added that Renamo wants the whole procedure to take place in a healthy environment so that the integration can occur within the spirit of the consensus that had been achieved between President Filipe Nyusi and the late leader of Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, shortly before the latter’s sudden death.
Bissopo made his statement on his arrival in Nampula, to prepare the campaign for the municipal elections scheduled for 10 October.
Bissopo claimed that the demilitarisation of Renamo is proceeding “normally” under the agreements reached between President Nyusi and Dhlakama. “We feel that we have a great commitment to the people – which is to keep the peace”, he declared.
Bissopo’s optimistic approach was a far cry from the angry verbal clashes between Renamo and the ruling Frelimo Party in Maputo in recent days. The extraordinary sitting of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, needed in order to amend the legislation on municipal elections, is on hold precisely because Frelimo is insisting that Renamo give some proof that it is serious about demilitarisation.
The sitting should have taken place on 21-22 June, but the head of the Frelimo parliamentary group, Margarida Talapa, warned that, unless there is some sign that Renamo really is demilitarising, then Frelimo will not allow the sitting to go ahead.
“Demilitarisation” means demobilising and disarming the Renamo militia, and then integrating its members, either into the defence and security forces, or back into civilian life. If this starts now, and Bissopo was correct about a three-month calendar, then the demilitarisation could be complete before the municipal elections.
As for the Islamist insurgency that has erupted in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Bissopo regarded the armed attacks against Cabo Delgado villages as a criminal, not a religious, matter.
The National Elections Commission (CNE) has registered 21 parties and coalitions who have expressed an interest in taking part in the municipal elections scheduled for 10 October.
The deadline for registration was 29 June, and the parties must now choose their candidates for the 53 municipal assemblies. The head of the list of whichever party wins a majority of votes in an assembly election will automatically become the mayor.
Of the 21 who registered very few, outside of the three parties represented in parliament, have any chance of winning any seats. Only the three parliamentary parties – the ruling Frelimo Party, Renamo, and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) – have the strength to stand lists in all 53 municipalities.
The minor parties only appear during election periods, usually in order to obtain money from the state – and are bitterly disappointed that no subsidies are available for municipal election campaigns.
The American oil and gas company Anadarko expects to take its final investment decision (FID) on its liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in northern Mozambique in the first half of 2019.
Announcing this at the World Gas conference in Washington on 27 June, Mitch Ingram, the Anadarko Vice-President for International Deepwater and Exploration, said that Anadarko and its contractors are making significant cost savings amounting to about US$4 billion over 2016 estimates.
Anadarko is the operator of Offshore Area One of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where reserves of at least 75 trillion cubic feet of gas are known to exist. The Anadarko project envisages building an initial two gas liquefaction plants (known as “trains”) on the Afungi peninsula in Palma district.
Ingram said the company now expects to deliver these two trains, with a production capacity of 12.88 million tonnes of LNG a year, for about US$7.7 billion. Previous cost estimates given by Anadarko have been much higher at over US$14 billion.
He said that the company already has offtake agreements for 6.7 million tonnes a year, and has agreed to “key terms” for the targeted volume of 8.5 million tonnes a year”, which would allow it “to proceed with incremental project financing discussions with lenders”.
The focus now, Ingram said, “is on converting these non-binding commitments into fully termed Sale and Purchase Agreements. Once we complete that, we will be ready to make a final investment decision in the first half of 2019”.
Ingram was speaking a fortnight after Anadarko and its partners in the Area One consortium had signed sales agreements with Tokyo Gas Co Ltd and the British company Centrica Plc. The deals with the Japanese and British energy companies call for the delivery of 2.6 million tonnes per year from the start of production in Mozambique until the early 2040s.
Other firms lined up to buy gas from Anadarko and its partners include Electricite de France, the Tohoku Electric Power Company, and PTT of Thailand.
Anadarko holds 26.5 per cent of the shares in the consortium. Its partners are Mitsui of Japan (20 per cent), PTT (8.5 per cent), the three Indian companies ONG Videsh, BEAS Rovuma Energy and BPRL Ventures (10 per cent each), and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company, ENH (15 per cent).
Mozambique is losing at least US$60 million a year because of illegal fishing, according to the Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane.
Speaking in Maputo on 26 June at the opening of the seventh meeting of Fish-i Africa, a partnership of eight east African countries, Mondlane said the scale of economic losses “raises great challenges for us in monitoring our immense maritime waters”.
He declared that unity between African counties bordering the Indian Ocean would be one of the most effective ways of fighting illegal and unreported fishing. “We should take on individual and collective responsibility for defending the noble interests of our peoples and nations”, he said, warning that illegal fishing corrodes the economy, and holds back the development, not only of Mozambique, but of the region and of the continent.
Mondlane welcomed the election of Mozambique as the host country for the Regional Fishing Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Centre of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The centre will be installed in the Maputo urban district of Katembe.
The Minister stressed it is crucial that governments and development partners should cooperate and work together to exploit maritime resources sustainably, promoting the development of a robust and prosperous regional economy. Fighting against illegal fishing, he stated, will help increase food production, and thus strengthen food and nutritional security.
Mondlane said that Fish-i Africa has been playing a key role in the fight against illegal fishing with the use of modern monitoring and surveillance tools. Due to this regional platform, he said, “it was possible to monitor and capture vessels that invaded our territorial waters such as, for example, the “Thunder”, the “Nessa 7” and the “STS 50”.’
Fish-i Africa identified the “Nessa 7” as a “high risk vessel” in December 2015. It was tracked across Namibia and South African waters and boarded when it entered Mozambican waters in late December 2015. Evidence of multiple fisheries infringements was found, and the boat was seized by the Mozambican state.
The “STS 50” entered port in Madagascar in February 2018, where fisheries inspectors confirmed that is was a vessel listed for illegal fishing and previously known under other names (the “Andrey Dolgov”, the “Aida” and the “Sea Breeze 1”).
The “STS 50” slipped across the Mozambique Channel, tracked by Fish-i Africa. When it tried to obtain provisions in Mozambique, it was seized. But it fled onto the high seas, and was forced to refuel at sea. Mozambique requested assistance from other Fish-i Africa members to re-arrest it. The ship was then successfully tracked across the Indian Ocean, until it was arrested by the Indonesian navy.
The third vessel, the “Thunder” was one of a number of illegal vessels linked to the company Vidal Armadores in Spain. It was illegally fishing for Patagonian toothfish in the Southern Ocean, when an Interpol notice to seize the ship was issued in 2013. Fish-i Africa does not seem to have been directly involved in the subsequent 110-day chase from Antarctic waters to West Africa where the captain scuttled it off the coast of Sao Tome and Principe.
Authorities in Hong Kong on 17 June seized 3.1 kilogrammes of rhinoceros horn at the city’s airport. According to local reports, the horn was found in the luggage of a man who had flown from the central Mozambican city of Beira via Johannesburg and Doha.
This was the second seizure of rhino horn at the Hong Kong airport this month. On 6 June 5.9 kilogrammes of horn were confiscated from a traveller on a flight from Johannesburg.
Hong Kong has strict laws covering the import of animal parts from endangered species without a licence, with penalties of up to ten years in prison and 10 million Hong Kong dollars (about US$1.3 million) in fines.
First Lady, Isaura Nyusi, declared on 12 June that illiteracy remains an obstacle preventing women from the full enjoyment of their rights.
Speaking at a meeting with residents of the town of Muecate, in the northern province of Nampula, she said this was why the government lays such a heavy stress on education, particularly of girls.
Illiteracy, she warned, increases poverty and vulnerability to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, particularly among adolescent girls and young women. “That’s why education remains a priority for the government”, said Isaura Nyusi, “and why we extend this priority to adults who did not have the opportunity in the past”.
“Adults are responsible for ensuring that children go to school”, she told the crowd. “Each child should be registered at birth, and on reaching six years of age should be enrolled in school”.
Education, the first Lady continued, is fundamental for human and social development, and makes gender equality viable. “Education also helps reduce gender-based discrimination and violence”, she said.
The vertical transmission of the HIV virus, from pregnant women to their unborn children remains a challenge, she stressed. “We call on all influential bodies, community and religious leaders, parents and guardians, health workers, teachers and civil society to help our girls avoid HIV infection”, the First Lady urged.
While in Muecate, Isaura Nyusi visited a first-year literacy class, with 30 students, of whom only five were men. A message read out on the occasion, by the teacher, Regina Machel, said that the district is committed to the fight against child marriages, against malnutrition and for the empowerment of women.
Police have arrested 11 people in the central city of Beira who are accused of illegally removing sand from Beira’s beaches, destroying the dunes that form part of the city’s protection against coastal erosion. The coastal protection police also seized trucks and hand carts used to remove the sand.
The sand is used for construction and those accused of this crime say that they cannot obtain sand elsewhere because the areas where they live are swampy, reports the daily newspaper “Noticias” on 3 July. Residents interviewed by “Noticias” defend the stealing of sand from beaches, on the grounds that they do not have the money to obtain sand from appropriate places inland.
The criminals operate at night, and the police say they do not have enough resources to control the situation.
Beira cannot afford the destruction of the dunes. Parts of the city are below sea level, and that level is gradually rising due to climate change. With the removal of natural barriers such as the dunes, Beira becomes even more vulnerable to disasters.
The Mozambican and Zambian governments are discussing how to handle the huge debt that the Zambian electricity company (ZESCO) has run up to its Mozambican counterpart, EDM.
According to EDM spokesperson, Luis Amado, EDM has interrupted the supply of power to ZESCO because the debt had reached US$70 million.
In 2016, Mozambique and Zambia inaugurated a floating power station in the Bay of Nacala, off the northern Mozambican coast with the purpose of supplying power, not only to northern Mozambique, but also to Zambia.
Zambia received 110 megawatts from the Nacala power station plus a surplus generated at two gas-fired stations in the south of the country. But ZESCO has proved unable to honour its commitment to pay for this power.
At the end of last year, the chairperson of the EDM board, Mateus Magala expressed serious concern at the failure of other southern African countries to pay for power purchased from EDM.
The debt stands at almost US$100 million, most of it owed by ZESCO, which is two years in arrears.
The other major debtor is Zimbabwe, but the Zimbabwean electricity authority (ZESA) has promised to pay its debt in kind, by supplying electricity transformers to EDM.
email: Mozambique News Agency