Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 29 August 2018

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 29 August, 2018.

Agenda

  • Tomorrow: The Bank of Mozambique’s monetary policy committee (CPMO) meets to update its monetary policy

The latest from Zitamar News:

Latest election rulings could harm Mozambique peace process, Renamo leader warns

Renamo interim leader Ossufo Momade gives his reaction to the Venancio Mondlane case – and clarifies Renamo’s position on SISE

The best of the rest:

 

  • Rivals for Quelimane mayoralty complain of death threats
  • HCB revenues set to bounce back thanks to sharp rise in Eskom tariff
  • Mphanda Nkuwa hydro environmental impact studies to be redone
  • Bar Association head Flavio Menete to defend Nini Satar
  • NGO denounces human rights violations at Kenmare mine in Nampula

Rivals for Quelimane mayoralty complain of death threats (AIM, Jornal Txopela)

The police in Zambezia province have upgraded the security around the head of the Quelimane municipal assembly, Domingos Albuquerque, who led efforts to have mayor Manuel de Araujo ousted – and would replace him for the remaining months of his mandate if his ouster is upheld. Albuquerque says he’s received death threats – something Araujo has also claimed, according to the local Jornal Txopela yesterday.

Araujo has long said he fears for his safety – which is understandable after the assassination last October of Nampula mayor Mahamudo Amurane, who – like Araujo – was a charismatic politician whose popularity transcended his party and who potentially threatened Mozambique’s political elite.

HCB revenues set to bounce back thanks to sharp rise in Eskom tariff (O País, AIM)

Cahora Bassa Hydro (HCB)’s revenues fell 12% last year, due to a drought which led to an historic low level of water in the dam. The 12% fall is measured in South African rands, which is the company’s billing currency; in meticais, revenues rose 3.5%, thanks to currency movements. This year, revenues should rise sharply thanks to a 46% increase in the tariff charged to South African utility Eskom, by far HCB’s biggest customer.

The tariff with Eskom is negotiated every five years, and the low price the South Africans get has been a source of controversy in Mozambique. Nevertheless, HCB remains profitable – and should now be even more so, allowing it to implement a $500m investment plan to rehabilitate the plant. And HCB does need to keep Eskom onside in order to get the Mphanda Nkuwa project off the ground (see below), as only Eskom is a big enough customer to justify the investment.

Mphanda Nkuwa environmental impact studies to be redone (O País)

HCB chairman Pedro Couto said at the company’s results presentation that the first step in getting the Mphanda Nkuwa project up and running, as his company has been charged with doing alongside EDM, will be to redo the the environmental impact studies for the project which has attracted sharp criticism from environmentalists in the past.

Couto made clear that Mphanda Nkuwa has overtaken Cahora Bassa North as HCB’s next big project. He said – surely disingenuously – that he’d never heard of Manannan Hydro, the Emirati company which believes its rights to the Mphanda Nkuwa project are being violated by President Nyusi’s decision to hand it to HCB and EDM, as Zitamar News revealed on Friday.

The project will certainly affect the flow of the Zambezi – making navigation to Malawi impossible once and for all, and drying the marshes at the mouth of Zambezi which will have a huge impact on the flora and fauna there. It will also affect the Sofala Bank, where the population’s main source of development and income is shrimp fishing.

Bar Association head Flavio Menete to defend Nini Satar (Canal de Moçambique)

Flavio Menete, the head of Mozambique’s Bar Association (Ordem dos Advogados), has taken on the notorious criminal Momade ‘Nini’ Satar as his client – despite the protests of the Association and of President Filipe Nyusi, according to Canal de Moçambique. ‘Nini’ Satar was paroled part way through his sentence for ordering the killing of journalist Carlos Cardoso in 2000, but broke the terms of his parole by leaving the country. He has also not paid the compensation to Cardoso’s family that the courts ordered. He was recently arrested in Thailand and extradited to Mozambique, where he is facing charges of organising a kidnapping ring.

NGO denounces human rights violations at Kenmare mine in Nampula (VoA)

The Solidariedade Moçambique NGO has denounced human rights violations at Kenmare’s heavy sands mine in Larde district on the coast of Nampula province, where two people were allegedly shot dead in July by members of Mozambique’s armed forces protecting Kenmare’s mining concession. One of the victims also showed signs of having been beaten and their arms and feet shackled. The police say they had heard of the cases, but that it was too soon in their investigations to apportion blame.

The government and its security forces are taking pride in how they are cracking down on illegal miners, in defence of companies with formal concessions. But continued accusations of human rights abuses, as have also been flagged at Gemfields’ ruby mine, suggest a worrying trend to the force’s disregard for human life. In areas where artisanal mining is a large part of the local economy, and the government and companies can offer little in the way of alternative employment, a hard line on garimpeiros could lead Frelimo to be punished at the ballot box.

© 2018, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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