Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 22 August 2018

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 22 August, 2018.

Agenda

  • Today: Cervejas de Moçambique launches a $180m project to build a new brewery in Maputo province
  • Today: President Filipe Nyusi inaugurates the Maputo thermal power plant, owned by state utility Electricidade de Moçambique and built by Japan’s Sumitomo
  • Today: The first lady, Isaura Nyusi, begins a three-day working visit to Manica and Sofala provinces in central Mozambique

The latest from Zitamar News:

Candidates backing ‘Samito’ Machel complain of Frelimo persecution

The leadership of the ruling party must also weigh up whether to allow Renamo’s Venancio Mondlane to contest the mayoralty

Mozambique graphite leader grapples with higher costs and lower production

Poor results prompt review by company’s newly-hired COO

The best of the rest:

 

  • Renamo calls on election authority not to be a ‘source of conflict’ at moment of national reconciliation
  • MDM and Frelimo vote to eject Manuel de Araújo as Quelimane mayor
  • General Chipande bought a state company last year despite delinquent debt to the state
  • EU disburses €348m for rural development projects in Nampula and Zambézia

Renamo calls on election authority not to be a ‘source of conflict’ at moment of national reconciliation (MediaFax, Correio da Manhã)

Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, said yesterday that election authority CNE should not jeopardise the reconciliation between it and the government by rejecting the candidacy of Venancio Mondlane from the Maputo mayoral race.

Frelimo’s representatives – and half of the MDM’s – on the CNE joined forces with some civil society appointees to vote to exclude Mondlane. The decision will go to the Constitutional Council (CC) which probably has sufficient grounds to decide either way. Ultimately it is likely to come down to how the CC is directed by Frelimo’s Political Commission – which will have to weigh up the possibility of losing the Maputo mayoralty against jeopardising the peace process with Renamo. That equation will also be heavily influenced by whether Samora Machel Junior is allowed to run at the head of the AJUDEM list. Frelimo’s candidate Eneas Comiche can probably beat either Mondlane or Machel, but will struggle to beat both at the same time.

MDM and Frelimo vote to eject Manuel de Araújo as Quelimane mayor (O País, Rádio Moçambique, Jornal Txopela)

The Quelimane municipal assembly, made up of MDM and Frelimo members, voted apparently unanimously this morning to remove Manuel de Araújo as mayor following his defection from the MDM to Renamo.

The MDM’s petty revenge on its defectors continues, following its attempt to block Venancio Mondlane from running for Renamo in Maputo. It’s unlikely to do them any favours with voters, but the party is probably a lost cause anywhere outside of Beira now in any case. The MDM has also, unsuccessfully, tried to block the mayoral candidacy of Manuel de Araújo and of Ricardo Tomás in Tete.

General Chipande bought a state company last year despite delinquent debt to the state (@Verdade)

General Alberto Chipande’s company Grupo Mecula, which has an unpaid debt to the treasury of MZN 42.3 million, last year bought the assets of a defunct state-owned logistics company in northern Mozambique, called Romon, for MZN 25.3m. The General, famous for firing the first shot of the liberation war and who remains hugely influential in Frelimo, borrowed $2.75m through Mecula in 1999 and 2000, which was supposed to be paid back in five years. Mecula also still owes money for Romon, having so far paid only MZN 14.6m of the MZN 25.3m bil.

Privatisations remain a way for the government to enrich Frelimo elites. Chipande’s exact level of influence on the Nyusi government is unclear; he was thought to be the president’s mentor, but Nyusi has not followed his hard line on Renamo. Nevertheless his two sons and one of their wives joined Chipande on Frelimo’s powerful Central Committee at last year’s Congress.

EU disburses €348m for rural development projects in Nampula and Zambézia (Lusa, AIM)

The money will go towards road building, power generation, nutrition fortification and agricultural development, and will be invested in projects between 2019 and 2022 in coordination with the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

The EU recently agreed to unfreeze the remaining €290 million ($339m) that it had allocated for budget support in Mozambique up to 2020, agreeing to redeploy it in projects to be agreed with member states and the Mozambican government. The projects announced yesterday could swallow up a large chunk of that – though it is also supposed to be going on education and support for the peace process with Renamo.

The financing also emphasises the  increasing role played by MITADER and its influential minister, Celso Correia. Yesterday, in answer to a question over why school desks were being delivered by MITADER, Nyusi said: “Everything is rural development”.

© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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