Zitamar Daily Briefing, 21 January

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for Tuesday, 21 February 2020

Zitamar Daily Briefing Jan 21

Zitamar News is excited to announce the creation of our sister company: Zitamar Consulting LLP. Through this new company we now offer bespoke political risk and security consulting, in areas such as due diligence investigations, political risk forecasting and security intelligence. To find out more, email consultancy@zitamar.com


Agenda:

  • Today: President Nyusi at Mozambique investment round-table event in London
  • Tomorrow: Provincial governors sworn in by President Nyusi in Maputo

Today’s headlines:

Renamo politicians questioned in Beira over Junta links (Carta de Moçambique)
Deputy attorney general Amabelia Chuquela travelled yesterday from Maputo to Beira City where she questioned the former Secretary General of Renamo, Manuel Bissopo, and former Renamo MP Sandura Ambrósio, on accusations of involvement with the Renamo Military Junta. Bissopo is at liberty, but Carta sources say he could be arrested at any time, joining Sandura and Mussacarua João Simango who were arrested last week. Today Chuquela is expected to interview General Elias Dhlakama, brother of the former leader of Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, regarding the same allegations.
The state is clearly helping the Renamo leadership of Ossufo Momade by giving credibility to allegations against certain of his apparent adversaries in Renamo — in particular Bissopo and Elias Dhlakama. The decision to send Chuquela to Beira shows how seriously the PGR is taking this issue. 

Heavy rains hit central Mozambique (MediaFax, Carta de Moçambique)
Heavy rainfall is forecast for central Mozambique in the coming days, particularly in the provinces of Sofala and Zambézia, though Nampula province could also be affected. Some neighbourhoods in the city of Beira are already heavily flooded following 162 millimeters of rainfall over the weekend. Beira’s $50m drainage system, paid for by the World Bank, failed because of solid waste dumped by the local population into the system. Beira and Quelimane will be strongly impacted by the coming days’ rain that could reach 124 millimeters, according to meteorology institute INAM.
Beira is used to being flooded but has had an exceptionally terrible 12 months. It’s a shame that the new drainage system has proven so vulnerable to what is predictable behaviour by the local population; practical measures should be put in place to prevent solid waste being put into it, including by providing a better alternative.

Cabo Delgado solar power plant to be built by Isabel dos Santos’ company (Savana, Carta de Moçambique)
A new solar power plant in Cabo Delgado will be built by a contractor majority-owned by Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of Angola’s former President whose business interests are in the spotlight after the so-called ‘Luanda leaks’ investigation was published this week. Dos Santos bought a majority stake in Portugal’s Efacec in 2015, and told Lusa last year she wanted to turn the company into a global leader in ‘electric mobility’. France’s Neoen is the sponsor of the Metoro power plant, which is 25% owned by Mozambique’s state-owned electricity utility EDM.
Isabel dos Santos is also present in Mozambique through the ZAP cable TV distributor, which previously removed the SIC TV channel from its roster — one of the media outlets involved with the ICIJ investigation into her fortune.

ENH revenue fell in 2018 (Carta de Moçambique)
The National Hydrocarbons Company (ENH) brought in about MZN 1.7 billion ($27m) in revenues in the year ending 30 June 2018, down from MZN 2.7bn ($43m) in 2017, due to poor natural gas sales, because electricity utility EDM was not buying gas to fuel its Ressano Garcia power plant. ENH chairman Omar Mitha also blamed EDM for late payments toENH, causing the national oil company to accumulate a debt of more than $12m to its suppliers such as Sasol and Mozambican Hydrocarbons Company (CMH), an ENH subsidiary. Despite the situation, state-owned ENH has the capacity to continue operating, Mithá said. ENH auditors were forced to place EDM debt as non performing.

European Union expects inclusion and reforms in new governance of Filipe Nyusi (MediaFax)
The European Union has finally congratulated Filipe Nyusi on his reelection as President, reiterating its readiness to continue in partnership for the development of Mozambique, but saying it hopes the recommendations made by the EU’s observer missions to improve democracy and elections will be considered.
The EU observer mission was one of the harshest critics of the elections in October last year, pointing to evidence of widespread fraud as well as the intimidatory atmosphere in which the elections were held. The EU also did not send an envoy to Nyusi’s inauguration ceremony on January 15th. Nevertheless, it has now decided it must accept the reality that Nyusi and Frelimo are in charge for the next five years — so they have to do business with them. 

© 2020, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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