- Wednesday: Mozambique 6th Licensing Round Virtual Roadshow, 4pm (CAT)
The latest from Zitamar News:
TotalEnergies chief executive visits Rwanda and Maputo
Total’s Patrick Pouyanne has flown on to Maputo from Kigali – but the EU’s Josep Borrell was forced to turn back before reaching Mozambique
Syrah looks to Pemba to ease Mozambique graphite export bottlenecks
A shortage of container shipping capacity contributed to Syrah’s graphite operation running at a heavy loss last year
Also in the news:
- Pathfinder International staff dismissed over allegations of misconduct (Carta de Moçambique)
- Government adjusts terms for notifying mergers of companies (A Verdade)
- Investigation to be launched into infrastructure resilience in the aftermath of storm Ana (DW, Carta de Moçambique)
- Administrative Tribunal suspends ring road tolls (VoA, AIM)
- Deadly attack on transport in Niassa not linked to insurgents, say police (DW)
- Tanzania’s president visits Mozambique (Daily News, allAfrica, VOA)
- Covid-19 stymies EU Mozambique trip, as Total head visits Rwanda and Maputo (Lusa; announcement)
- Storm survivors want to get out of flood zones (Lusa)
Pathfinder International staff dismissed over allegations of misconduct (Carta de Moçambique)
A number of staff based at the Mozambican office of Pathfinder International, an NGO dedicated to sexual health and reproductive rights, have been dissmissed due to allegations of misconduct and breaching of the company’s policies. Charges include violation of anti-discrimation and harassment policies, violation of whistleblower policy and failing to protect whistleblowers. No investigation into the cases has been opened, according to Carta.
In a number of similar cases involving high-level national staff, cases were dropped after very generous monetary compensation was paid.
Government adjusts terms for notifying mergers of companies (A Verdade)
The government has changed some of the terms and conditions for companies notifying the Mozambican competition regulatory authority. Under the new terms, companies should notify if they represent between 30% and 50% of the national market for the product or service, or at least two companies of the merger have an individual revenue of MZN105m ($1.65m), or if the merger report revenue of MZN925m ($14.5m).
Investigation to be launched into infrastructure resilience in the aftermath of storm Ana (DW, Carta de Moçambique)
Mozambique’s agriculture and rural development minister, Celso Correia, announced the launch of an investigation into the real causes of the lack of resilience in public infrastructure, which has been damaged by cyclones and storms. The minister was visiting areas in Tete province affected by storm Ana during the announcement but has yet to confirm the date the inquiry will start. Several pieces of infrastructure were damaged or destroyed during the storm, including a bridge over the Revuboé River, which had already undergone restoration works after cyclone Idai in 2019. The rehabilitation of the bridge cost Mozambique €3.2m ($3.57m). The recent floods also affected the bridge over the Licungo River, in Zambézia province, which had opened in December 2021 and cost around €12m. Ivone Soares, deputy of the opposition party Renamo, said that public works minister João Machatine should resign because “in moral terms he is responsible for these tragedies”.
Sources heard by Zitamar suggested a proper investigation should be carried out on the high-profile consultant for public works MZ Betar and builder Mota Engil, which was the executive builder for rehabilitation work at the bridge in Moatize. One problem faced by authorities is that due to a lack of proper funding, specific works have been accepted with money coming from the companies doing the rehabilitation work, as is the case for emergency repairs in N1 on stretches in Inhambane and Sofala provinces.
Administrative Tribunal suspends ring road tolls (VoA, AIM)
Mozambique’s Administrative Tribunal (TA) has suspended charging motorists tolls to use the 70km Maputo Ring Road, following an injunction submitted by NGO Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), which has waged a bitter campaign against the them, claiming that they are “unjust”, “fraudulent”, “extortionate” and even “criminal”. The tolls in question were due to begin 1 February. The suspension is provisional, and the government members directly concerned, Public Works Minister João Machatine and Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane, may appeal against the injunction. Far from the tolls being too high, Machatine argued last week that they were too low. The minister believed an economically rational toll would be between MZN50 ($0.78) and MZN65. The state, he said, had reduced the toll to MZN40 as part of its “social responsibility”.
It seems an odd campaign for CDD to pour so much energy into, but it is an important precedent of a civil society successfully contesting the government, which is used to imposing decisions without consultation and transparency.
Deadly attack on transport in Niassa not linked to insurgents, say police (DW)
The attack and robbery on Friday of a vehicle carrying 17 passengers in Muoco, Maua district, Niassa province, is not related to insurgent groups, the Mozambican police spokesman in Niassa told the press. According to Alves Mates, they are common bandits and are currently being sought by the authorities. The attackers, he explained, made a barricade on the public road and opened fire on the ‘minibus’ and fatally shot the driver, and wounded two passengers. After the attack, the two hooded men, armed with an AK-47 machine gun and a machete, stole what goods they could from the vehicle and left it abandoned on the road.
The police claim seems accurate. After the first incidents involving jihadists in Mecula, security forces have managed to move away the insurgent groups that are now back in Cabo Delgado and operating in the area of Negomano and west of Nangade.
Tanzania’s president visits Mozambique (Daily News, allAfrica, VOA)
Tanzanian president Samia Suluhu Hassan pledged to strengthen her country’s long-standing cooperation with Mozambique during her one-day working tour on Friday. President Samia assured President Filipe Nyusi and Mozambique citizens that Tanzania will continue to strengthen the friendship. President Nyusi thanked her for visiting his country and pledging to strengthen bilateral ties. He also thanked Tanzania for its contribution in northern Mozambique through the SADC mission to fight the insurgency.
It seems Nyusi’s quiet diplomacy is paying off, reversing policies dating back from the Magufuli era. Nyusi decided to “forget” a number of protocolar incidents and invest in new relations with Tanzania’s new president Samia Suluhu, using his good relationship with Vice-President Mwyini, who was defence minister at the time Nyusi had the same portfolio in Maputo. Zitamar understands that Rwandan president Paul Kagame was quite instrumental in ensuring Suluhu’s support for the presence of Tanzanian troops in Mozambique. Nyusi is also using the same approach with President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi, as he looks to overcome decades of misunderstandings and cold relations between Lilongwe and Maputo.
Covid-19 stymies EU Mozambique trip, as Total head visits Rwanda and Maputo (Lusa; announcement)
The European Union’s foreign policy chief, the High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell, had to cancel a planned trip to Mozambique on Sunday after a member of his travelling party tested positive for covid-19. Borrell was due to visit Mozambique after Kenya, where he was on Friday and Saturday last week. The meeting, which a spokesperson told Lusa will be rescheduled, would have discussed “the EU integrated approach to address security challenges in Cabo Delgado and surrounding provinces”, according to a statement. Meanwhile on Sunday, the CEO of French energy company TotalEnergies visited the capital of Rwanda, Kigali, meeting with President Paul Kagame and signing a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on energy projects. Today he is due in Maputo, where he will cut the ribbon on a TotalEnergies petrol station.
Borrell’s visit was scheduled amid news that the EU is considering offering financial support for the Rwandan military mission in northern Mozambique — which is primarily engaged in providing security for Palma and Mocímboa da Praia, the two districts vital to TotalEnergies’ ability to resume work on its LNG project on the Afungi peninsula in Palma. But EU support for that mission could be a political hot potato, compared with funding the SADC mission which is providing security in the rest of the province. For a discussion of why the solution might be to combine the Rwandan and SADC missions, listen to Friday’s Zitamar podcast, here. It is suggested in Maputo that the high-level meeting between Patrick Pouyanné and President Nyusi could indicate a new stage in preparations to restart the gas project in Afungi, as well as allowing a number of Rwandan companies to participate in the phase of the project.
See also Zitamar’s news on this topic, above
Storm survivors want to get out of flood zones (Lusa)
Many of the people who escaped flooding caused by storm Ana in Tete, central Mozambique, do not want to return to their old homes but have nowhere else to go. As the waters from the Revuboé River retreat, people in the Chingodzi neighbourhood are returning to what’s left of their houses — they find rubble immersed in mud, and residents demand urgent resettlement. “It’s no longer possible to go back” to the lower area of the Revuboé River, Celestina Paulo told Lusa. Many residents returned to the flood zone after cyclone Idai caused flooding in 2019, because they thought that new floods would only be “ten or 40 years away.” “The neighbourhood is built on a water path. Next time we won’t be saved anymore,” she says. Amusa Ussene’s house, which was hit by flooding two years ago, too, has collapsed, and he hopes the government will give them land to recover from the trauma: “I don’t want to continue building in that space”, he told Lusa.
This is very common for people affected by floods. They demand new plots of land from the government but then they come back to rent their previous areas with the complicity of local authorities. This happens particularly in urban areas where land has a much higher value.
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