Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 21 August 2018

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 21 August, 2018.

Agenda

  • Today: President Filipe Nyusi conducts a working visit to the province of Gaza

Today’s Headlines:

 

  • Election authority bars Renamo’s Venâncio Mondlane from Maputo mayoral race
  • Mozambique forces capture rebel leader in Cabo Delgado
  • Mozambique national airline in deep debts to other SOEs

 

Election authority bars Renamo’s Venâncio Mondlane from Maputo mayoral race (CanalMoz, VoA)

The national elections commission, the CNE, last night ruled that Venâncio Mondlane is ineligible to run for the Maputo municipal assembly in elections this October, because he  renounced his seat in the municipal assembly in 2014.

Mondlane says he and Renamo will appeal the decision to the Constitutional Council, a process which could take up to three weeks. His lawyers are likely to make two arguments: firstly, that the new electoral law may not be applied retroactively to something that happened in 2014; secondly, that he was forced to give up his seat having won a seat in the national assembly, rather than renouncing it on his own initiative.

Yesterday’s ruling came as a result of a protest at Mondlane’s candidacy made by his former party, the MDM – who had hoped he would run on their behalf. The MDM’s candidate in Matola, Silvio Ronguane, is in the same position – but no protest has been made, so he will be allowed to stand. In its bid to stand in the way of Mondlane it is clear that the MDM’s interest is not in ensuring the rule of law or in promoting democracy – but in taking revenge on its deserters. Appeals against the candidacy of other former MDM politicians who are running this time for Renamo, including Manuel Araujo in Quelimane and Ricardo Tomas in Tete, were unsuccessful.

Mozambique forces capture rebel leader in Cabo Delgado (Bloomberg)

Mozambican security forces carried out a major attack on a base of an Islamist militant group in the gas-rich north last week, killing at least four fighters and capturing a suspected rebel leader, according to three anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg. The assault took place on 16 August near the village of Pundanhar in Cabo Delgado province, close to the Rovuma river that separates Mozambique from Tanzania. Government forces captured Abdul Raim, who police said earlier this month was a leader of the group. Some roads out of Palma, where the gas projects are based, were closed on 17 August, and Mozambican authorities are cooperating with Tanzania to intercept insurgents who fled across the border.

The reported attack comes 10 days after the first attack on an insurgent base in Pundanhar. The capture of Raim would be a big scalp for the Mozambican forces – but military action is unlikely to bring a lasting solution to the insurgency. Historically, removing an insurgency’s leadership has led to a short-term decline in insurgent violence, but has no effect on the chances of conflict recurring in the long term because it     fails to address the underlying causes of conflict.

Mozambique national airline in deep debts to other SOEs (@Verdade)

National airline LAM owes MZN 2.6 billion ($43m) to state petrol company Petromoc and MZN 2.4bn ($40m) to state airports company AdM according to its most recent results, seen by @Verdade. Its total debts to suppliers are MZN 6.3bn ($105m).

Mozambique’s state-owned enterprises are in a bit of a death loop – not paying each other because they’re all in financial difficulty. Petromoc has stopped supplying LAM, but there’s no alternative to Aeroportos de Moçambique that LAM can use. AdM’s debts have been extensively documented by Zitamar – including its default on its loan from Brazilian development bank BNDES.

© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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