Zitamar Daily Briefing, 17 February

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for Monday 17 February 2020

Zitamar Daily Briefing Feb 17

Agenda:

  • 20 -21 February: The First Extraordinary Session of the newly elected parliament will be held Maputo


The latest from Zitamar News:

Mass incursion at Montepuez Ruby Mine leaves unknown number of miners dead
Hundreds of illegal miners invaded the Montepuez ruby mine this month, leading to at least 11 deaths


The best of the rest / Today’s headlines:

  • Nyusi asks partners for ‘concrete’ help to combat attacks in Cabo Delgado (Lusa, O País)
  • Has the Cabo Delgado insurgency reached Niassa? (Carta de Moçambique)
  • Maputo water supply should be fixed by tomorrow (Notícias)
  • Decree on decentralisation creates confusion over the powers of provincial directorates (CanalMoz)
  • More Renamo members unhappy with Momade’s leadership (Carta de Moçambique)
  • Police officers vandalize lights at Nacala airport (Carta de Moçambique)
  • Former PM Mário Machungo dies at 79 (O País)

Nyusi asks partners for ‘concrete’ help to combat attacks in Cabo Delgado (Lusa, O País)
Many countries have offered help to Mozambique to stop the armed extremist attacks in Cabo Delgado province, but it has not materialised, President Nyusi said on Friday at a meeting with the accredited diplomatic corps in Maputo. “When we ask how they want to support, they don’t say anything, there are no concrete things”, Nyusi said, calling for the support to be “objective and concrete”, Lusa reported. Before the meeting, the US Defence Attaché in Maputo, Fergal James O’Reilly, and the Russian Ambassador in Maputo, Alexander Surikov, expressed their willingness to cooperate with the Mozambican State in the fight against the attacks.
The Russian ambassador refused to go into details about Russia’s current involvement in Cabo Delgado through the Wagner Group.

Has the Cabo Delgado insurgency reached Niassa? (Carta de Moçambique)
Attackers burned a village in the Niassa district of Mecula last Wednesday, it has emerged — making it increasingly likely that the group confronted by security forces were linked to the insurgency which has been burning villages in Cabo Delgado since late 2017. A police source told Carta that the group fired into the air and burned houses, before security forces reached the village and killed eight of them in a gunfight. Last year, police chief Bernardino Rafael warned that some young people from Mecula district were being recruited to join the Cabo Delgado insurgency, blaming a Tanzanian named Amisse Bacar. The Mecula district borders Tanzania to the north, and the Cabo Delgado district of Mueda to the east.

Maputo water supply should be fixed by tomorrow (Notícias)
Maputo’s water supply could be back to normal from tomorrow, 18 February — 10 days after the bridge supporting one of two pipes carrying water to Maputo from the Pequenos Libombos dam collapsed. Two Chinese companies, CRBC and China GEO, have been carrying out the repair.
CRBC built the Maputo ring road and Katembe bridge projects, and China GEO built the water supply network in the cities of Xai-Xai and Chokwe.
FIPAG, the national entity responsible for water supply, has now also launched a tender for a consultant to investigate why another bridge collapse happened in December last year (but which was not reported on)— this time carrying the supply pipe from the Corumana dam over the Incomati river at Moamba. A similar investigation needs to be launched into the Umbeluzi incident.

Decree on decentralisation creates confusion over the powers of provincial directorates (CanalMoz)
The decree that outlines the competencies of the different provincial directorates within the framework of the new decentralized government, is creating confusion and could lead to conflicts. For example, the provincial directorate of tourism and the provincial directorate of education, are both responsible for culture development; the directorate of labour and that of education, are both responsible for employment opportunities;  and the provincial directors or agriculture and environment are both responsible for rural development.
These inconsistencies show the lack of competence and commitment from the government to ensure decentralization, an issue promoted by late Renamo president Afonso Dhlakama, is actually successful.

More Renamo members unhappy with Momade’s leadership (Carta de Moçambique)
Renamo members in Nampula feel betrayed by the party’s leader, Ossufo Momade, for failing to follow through on a promise to challenge the results of the October 2019 elections, in which members believe that, at least in that province, the party won. The leadership also failed to provide the jobs and better living conditions it had promised its members. André Magibiri, party’s secretary-general, told the crowd that the fraud was predictable, but it was not his job to give an answer on the party’s position regarding the election results.
The discontentment of members of his home province shows how deeply unpopular the leadership of Ossufo Momade has become. The elitization of Renamo, when some remain poor and others are enriched as they take office in the parliament, has been the main complaint of the dissident group led by Nhongo, the military junta.

Police officers vandalize lights at Nacala airport (Carta de Moçambique)
Police officers were filmed vandalizing about 200 meters of lighting cables along the runway at Nacala International Airport, supposedly to prevent the landing of the Russian Wagner group mercenaries who are supporting the fight against the insurgency in Cabo Delgado, and who prefer to land at night to avoid being seen, anonymous sources told Carta. Although the officers have been identified by the cameras, the case has not been pursued as those giving the orders have links with people at government level, Carta said. This is the third time lighting cables have been vandalized since the airport’s inauguration in 2014.
The fact that lighting cables at the airport have been stolen twice before, suggests this is unlikely to be connected to the landing of Wagner group troops.

Former PM Mário Machungo dies at 79 (O País)
Mário Fernandes da Graça Machungo, a senior Frelimo member who served as Prime Minister from 1986 to 1994, died today at the age of 79. He held various ministerial posts following independence in 1975, and was governor of Zambezia province from 1983 to 1986, as well as being a member of the Political Bureau (a forerunner of the Political Commission). During the colonial era he worked in the banking system as an economist, and was a lecturer at the School of Economics at the University of Lourenco Marques. He was an independence advocate in the 1970s after returning from studying economics in Lisbon. He later served as chairman of the bank BIM from 1995 to 2015.


© 2020, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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