Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 28 August 2018

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 28 August, 2018.

Agenda

  • Today: The National Election Commission (CNE) draws lots for the position of candidate lists on the ballot papers at municipal elections which take place on 10 October
  • Today: Workshop on agribusiness financing in Maputo, organised by private business association CTA
  • Today: Foreign minister José Pacheco in Singapore for the Third Singapore Sub-Saharan Africa High-Level Ministerial Exchange Visit
  • Tomorrow: The Bank of Mozambique’s monetary policy committee (CPMO) meets to update its monetary policy

The best of the rest:

  • Maputo airport gets ‘Cat 4’ international certification
  • Renamo submits appeal against the exclusion of Venâncio Mondlane
  • Ten Renamo members to be given police ranks
  • Police say they’re on top of illegal artisanal mining in Cabo Delgado

Maputo airport gets ‘Cat 4’ international certification (AIM, Notícias)

Maputo airport was yesterday officially certified as a ‘category 4’ airport, able to receive the world’s biggest jumbo jets, following a series of upgrades and the implementation of international best practice. Transport minister Carlos Mesquita said Beira airport should reach the same status later this year, and Nampula next year.

The lack of this certification has never stopped Maputo airport – and many others in Mozambique – from receiving international flights. Ironically, the only airport in the country which is properly certified for international flights is Nacala, which currently only hosts irregular flights to and from Maputo. It’s unclear why there is arush to get Beira and Nampula certified – they’re unlikely to start receiving huge airliners on intercontinental routes. While any improvement of Mozambique’s civil aviation infrastructure is welcome, the focus should perhaps be on providing a more reliable domestic service.

Renamo submits appeal against the exclusion of Venâncio Mondlane (DW, Magazine Independente)

Opposition party Renamo yesterday submitted its appeal against the decision of the CNE to bar Venâncio Mondlane from running as its head of list, and thus mayoral candidate, in the Maputo municipal election in October. The CNE – which has five days to direct the case to the Constitutional Council (CC) – based its decision on the rule that municipal assembly members who give up their seats cannot run again next time. Mondlane was elected to the municipal assembly in 2013 and was forced to give up his seat when he was elected to the national assembly in 2014. Renamo argues that, as he gave up his seat involuntarily, he should not be punished.

Yesterday, civic association AJUDEM also submitted its complaint to CNE after its list, headed by Samora Machel Jr., was disqualified on the grounds that four of its members had withdrawn. An AJUDEM spokesperson insisted the four have been under pressure to resign. AJUDEM has not received any document from those who have withdrawn, nor have they been formally informed (as the legal procedures demand) of the papers submitted to CNE.

Despite indications that CNE and CC both received instructions to turn down the appeals coming from Mondlane and Samito, the balance of opinion is that Mondlane has some chance of being reinstated. His exclusion could, for one thing, set a precedent which resounds in future elections and could on occasions be awkward for Frelimo too. Moreover, negotiations between the government and Renamo are at a sensitive moment, and President Nyusi wants to avoid giving Renamo reasons to cry foul. The case of Samito Machel, however, which is also expected to be ruled on by the CC, does not have those advantages.

Ten Renamo members to be given police ranks (AIM)

Ten members of Renamo’s ‘residual forces’ are to be given ranks and included in the Mozambican police force, as part of agreements reached between Renamo and the government on what is hoped to be a lasting peace settlement. Interior minister Basilio Monteiro said some of the ten men will be promoted to leadership positions in the General Command of the police, while others will be given positions in the traffic police, the frontier guard and the lake and river police, once they’ve completed police training.

The government resisted Renamo’s demand for former soldiers to not just be included in Mozambique’s armed forces and police, but appointed to senior leadership positions, for a long time – but late Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, insisted it was non-negotiable What Renamo appears not to have got – for now at least – is access to SISE, the secret service, which Nyusi has so far refused.

Police say they’re on top of illegal artisanal mining in Cabo Delgado (O País)

The provincial police commander in Cabo Delgado, Joaquim Sive, said his force had carried out a successful operation to control illegal ‘garimpo’, or artisanal mining, and the pillage of various natural resources such as gold and rubies across the province. He said the ‘garimpeiros’ frequently had firearms – at times resembling an armed militia. Aside from the anti-garimpo operation, Sive said his force is preparing to supervise the peaceful running of municipal elections in the province’s four urban municipalities of Pemba, Mocimboa da Praia, Mueda, and Montepuez.

The police in Cabo Delgado, who are also tackling the Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamâ insurgents, have their hands full – but the question of armed garimpeiros could well be linked to that of the insurgency. A study conducted by Mozambican research institutions IESE and MASC earlier this year asserted that the insurgency is being funded by the export of illegally mined precious stones, as well as illegal timber.

© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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