Zitamar Daily Briefing, 21 November

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 21 November 2019

Nov 21 Subscriber’s post

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Agenda:

  • Today: President Filipe Nyusi is making a working visit to Cabo Delgado province
  • Today: Mozefo — Mozambique Economic Forum, Katembe, Maputo
  • Today: Inclusive Growth in Mozambique (IGM) fourth annual conference in Maputo
  • Today – Friday: Bank of Mozambique ‘Conselho Consultivo’ meetings, Xai-Xai
  • Friday: ‘Mozambique General Elections 2019 — Lessons and Challenges’, seminar organised by IESE, in Maputo

Today’s headlines:

  • Nyusi got $1m from Privinvest, Frelimo $4m, Boustani says (CIP)
  • Nyusi: fight against corruption requires cultural shift (Lusa)
  • Guebuza wanted Prinvivest to support Frelimo, Boustani says (DW)
  • Guebuza family and Privinvest are strong business partners, says Boustani (DW)
  • Daviz Simango criticises Renamo and Frelimo return to violence (CanalMoz, VoA)

Nyusi got $1m from Privinvest, Frelimo $4m, Boustani says (CIP)
Filipe Nyusi was given $1 million by Privinvest to help fund his 2014 election campaign, Privinvest salesman Jean Boustani said in court yesterday. Boustani said Nyusi was the person called ‘Nuy’ or ‘New Man’ in Privinvest internal emails listing payments to Mozambican officials. Privinest also gave Frelimo $4 million for the party’s election campaign, and gave former finance minister Manuel Chang $5 million to help him open a bank. Of the $3 million paid to Isaltina Lucas, who was at the time director of treasury in the Ministry of Finance, part was “for a company related to her brother, who was the manager of the Maputo port and it was to establish the Mozambican maritime authority,” Boustani said.
Boustani, who is neither a US national or a representative of a US entity, is not liable for prosecution under America’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — so he can confess to these payments all day long so long as they don’t incriminate him on defrauding US investors and using the US financial system in a fraudulent manner.
What’s notable is Boustani’s ongoing relationship with Guebuza, whom he has tried to protect during his testimony and who appears to remain an important business partner to Privinvest. Nyusi, on the other hand, is clearly no friend of Boustani — who accuses the current President of having deliberately sabotaged the Privinvest projects to spite the previous administration. An alternative interpretation is that Nyusi has seen his first term, and probably his second, marred by the ongoing scandal — though he is clearly not blameless either.

Nyusi: fight against corruption requires cultural shift (Lusa)
The fight against corruption requires a cultural shift in mindset across society, “everyone has to take on his task, it cannot be a campaign struggle,” President Filipe Nyusi said at the Mozefo conference in Maputo on Wednesday. Nyusi said there is no minor or major corruption, because both hurt the population — “what is considered small corruption hurts the peasant more” — and drive away business investment. Political stability is also crucial for the development of the country Nyusi said, and for this permanent dialogue and tolerance are important.
Nyusi’s anti-corruption protestations were almost immediately blown out of the water by Jean Boustani’s testimony in the New York court that his political campaign received $1 million from the hidden debt scandal. And while low-level bribes may have a more obvious impact on the day-to-day lives of the poor, a $2bn scandal that bankrupts the country, puts the economy into a tailspin and leads to an aid freeze, ultimately hurts them more.

Guebuza wanted Prinvivest to support Frelimo, Boustani says (DW)
Former president Armando Guebuza asked Prinvivest to support Frelimo, Jean Boustani said during his testimony at his trial on Tuesday in New York. Boustani said that this request was made in 2013 at the Presidential Palace in Maputo, when he presented the Prinvivest proposal to protect Mozambique’s exclusive economic zone. Boustani said Guebuza also asked Privinvest to assist the country’s security forces, and to help attract international investors, particularly from the UAE. Last month, bank records presented to the court by the FBI revealed that Frelimo received $10m from Privinvest in 2014.

Guebuza family and Privinvest are strong business partners, says Boustani (DW)
Privinvest and Guebuza family have been business partners since 2014,  and still have active partnerships in sectors such as real estate, electricity or gas, Privinvest salesman Jean Boustani, who is on trial for defrauding US investors, told  a court in New York. According to Privinvest owner Iskandar Safa a relationship with the Guebuza family was “as important and strategic as a relationship with the Abu Dhabi royal family,” Boustani said in court, as the Guebuza had the “largest family business of Mozambique “and the largest in Africa.

Daviz Simango criticises Renamo and Frelimo return to violence (CanalMoz, VoA)
Daviz Simango, leader of the opposition MDM party, expressed surprise at President Nyusi ordering the state security forces to confront breakaway Renamo fighters who have been conducting attacks in the centre of the country during the disarmament process. He described it as a “witch hunt” which could create new wave of displaced people, VoA reported. Simango accused Renamo and Frelimo of repeating conflict patterns that have escalated before and plunging civilians into unnecessary suffering. Simango said he has no doubts that the attacks are a result of the “poorly signed peace deal” [acordos de paz mal assinados].” He said a new political order for a final peace, and insists that the country “cannot be pledged by arrogant dictators”, alluding to the belligerent parties, which “abuse arms”, VoA reported.
The failing peace deal is a big opportunity for Daviz Simango. If Frelimo and Renamo are incapable of coming to an agreement that actually brings peace, it opens the door for a third force. But it may be too late for Simango to claim that he is the solution — having squandered the opportunity of the last decade to build a political movement capable of challenging the existing duopoly. 

© 2019, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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