Mozambique News Agency

No.167, 18th October 1999


Frelimo programme unveiled

Frelimo's general secretary, Manuel Tome, on 15 October unveiled the party's programme for government for the next five years. Tome said that the new programme is to "consolidate the policies undertaken since 1994, to improve living conditions substantially, and to eradicate absolute poverty"."Over the past five years we laid the foundations, and now we will construct the building", he said.

Tome added that the new programme gives a more prominent place to the struggle against corruption than had been the case with the programme for 1994-99. The programme promises that Frelimo will introduce anti- corruption legislation, and will ensure that anti-bribery clauses are inserted into contracts, notably procurement contracts, and those concerning privatisation, and the development of natural resources.

The susceptibility of state employees, notably teachers, to corruption is linked, not only to their poor wages, but to the fact that, particularly outside of Maputo, they are often paid months late. Tome admitted that this was a serious problem, and promised that a future Frelimo government would be more rigorous in punishing officials whose negligence led to the late payment of wages.

Macro-economic targets

Frelimo plans to continue with much the same cautious macro-economic policies that have characterised its record in government over the past five years.

Frelimo states that its central goals will be "to ensure that the rate of inflation is held to single digits, and to implement policies that guarantee investor confidence in the national currency".

It will aim for growth in the Gross Domestic Product of between seven and eight per cent a year. This would be slower than the growth rates of over 10 per cent in 1997 and 1998, but would still outstrip population growth (currently 2.3 per cent a year).

In order to combat poverty, Frelimo promises that its government will promote "rapid and sustainable economic growth" aimed particularly at labour-intensive sectors of the economy in order to create more jobs.

Frelimo also promises to "reduce regional asymmetries in development"through stimulating investment in the least developed rural areas, and to improve health care, water supply and the road network in those districts most lacking in these services and infrastructures.

In a sharp departure from previous documents, the party now declares that "the development of a strong national business class is one of the pillars for the consolidation of national sovereignty".

It calls for mechanisms to protect Mozambican businesses "by prioritising their access to the sustainable use of natural resources, to the management of infrastructures and services, and to financial resources and instruments, both those already available and those yet to be created".

Frelimo promises "additional mechanisms" that will grant businessmen access to credit, such as "guarantee funds" and "special financing instruments".

Education and health

The programme sets specific targets for the education service. By the year 2004, three million children (or 94 per cent of children of primary school age) should be attending first level primary schools (teaching grades one to five). This compares with the figure of 86 per cent projected for the year 2000. This target will require 51,000 teachers of whom 20,000 will be new recruits.

The number of pupils in second level primary education (grades six and seven) should reach 300,000 pupils by 2004, taught by 6,800 teachers.

As for first cycle secondary education (eighth to tenth grade), the target is to raise pupil numbers from 70,000 in 2000 to 100,000 in 2004.

The Frelimo programme also demands that special attention be given to improving the quality of education.

While most children will attend state schools, Frelimo is also encouraging the expansion of private education.

In health care, Frelimo promises to expand the network of health posts, particularly in the poorest areas.

The most significant quantitative target is to reduce infant mortality from 145.7 to 120 per 1,000 live births.

The programme aims to cut by 50 per cent deaths in hospital from such causes as diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infections, measles, malaria, peri-natal pathologies and malnutrition.

The programme hopes to bring ante-natal care to 90 per cent of pregnant women, "with efficient identification of cases of high obstetric risk", and to increase to at least 50 per cent the number who give birth in health units.

The programme calls for "developing a funding system that reduces heavy dependence on foreign aid, by promoting greater participation of users and communities in health costs, and by finding alternative forms and sources of finance".

AIM Reports will cover the Renamo-Electoral Union's programme in a future edition.

1997 national census results published

On 12 October, the National Statistics Institute (INE) published the results of the 1997 census, carried out in the first fortnight of August 1997, which physically counted 15,278,334 people. A subsequent "coverage survey" discovered an omission rate of 5.1 per cent.

This means that the census reached 94.9 per cent of the population. This coverage rate is classified as "good" by the United Nations (an omission rate of less than four per cent is "very good", five to eight per cent "good", eight to ten per cent "regular", and over ten per cent "bad").

Based on the coverage survey, the census figures were adjusted to estimate that the county's population on 1 August 1997 was 16,099,246. The population is overwhelmingly young: 44.8 per cent of the total population is aged 14 or under, 52,6 per cent is aged between 15 and 64.

The population is also overwhelmingly rural: 71.4 per cent live in the countryside, while only 28.6 per cent is defined as "urban" (meaning that they live in the 86 settlements defined either as cities or as towns).

The census gives an average life expectancy at birth of 42.3 years (40.6 for men and 44 for women) - an improvement on the findings of the last census held in 1980, when life expectancy was only 38.7 years.

The infant mortality rate is very high: out of every 1,000 live births, 145.7 children do not survive beyond their first birthday. However, this is an eight per cent improvement over 1980.

Based on the 1997 census, the INE calculates that the population will reach 17.2 million in the year 2000, 22 million in 2010, and 28 million in 2020. But these projections do not take account of the demographic impact of the AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) pandemic, which is expected to slow down, and perhaps even reverse, population growth. The INE is now working with the health ministry to revise these projections to include the likely effects of AIDS.

Workforce statistics

The vast majority of economically active Mozambicans work in the primary sector, principally in agriculture, according to the census.

Of the 8.49 million aged 15 or above, 69.7 per cent - 5.87 million - are defined as economically active. The 28.2 per cent who are not, consist mostly of domestic workers, students, the disabled and the retired.)

80.9 per cent of the economically active population work in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Only three per cent work in manufacturing industry, two per cent in the building industry, 1.2 per cent in transport and communications, 6.9 per cent in commerce and finance, and 2.7 per cent in administrative services.

When broken down by gender, the figures show that women are overwhelmingly relegated to agricultural tasks. There are more women than men in the economically active population - 3.03 million women and only 2.83 million men. But 91.3 per cent of these women work in agriculture, forestry and fisheries: the figure for men is 69.6 per cent.

Birth rate and fecundity

The average woman bears 5.9 children in her life, according to the census. However, this is a 13 per cent drop, when compared with the figures from 1980, when the average woman bore 6.8 children.

As expected, there is a sharp difference in fecundity between urban and rural areas. The average rural woman bears 6.2 children in her life: for urban women the figure declines to 5.2.

There are also marked differences between provinces. The highest fecundity rate is in the northernmost province of Niassa where the average woman bears 6.8 children. All the central and northern provinces have rates of over 5.5 births per woman. The figure drops significantly in the better educated southern third of the country: to 5.3 children born per woman in Inhambane, five in Gaza, 4.8 in Maputo province, and 4.2 in Maputo city.

28.9 per cent of Mozambican women aged between 15 and 19 have given birth at least once. In the 20-24 age bracket only a minority of women (24.6 per cent) are still childless. 53.5 per cent of all women aged between 25 and 29 have three or more children (and in this age bracket, 10.2 per cent have six children or more).

The census showed that the gross birth rate is 44.4 per 1,000, while the gross death rate is 21.2 per 1,000. The population growth rate is estimated at 2.3 per cent per .


The census shows that 60.5 per cent of people aged 15 and above are illiterate. Only 19.4 per cent of urban men are illiterate and 46.2 per cent of urban women. However, in rural areas, 56.4 per cent of men and 85.1 per cent of women are illiterate. 49.6 per cent of Mozambicans aged between 15 and 19 are illiterate. The figure rises to 96.2 per cent for rural women over the age of 60.

The vast majority (78.4 per cent) either never went to school, or never concluded their primary education. Among women, the figure rises to 86 per cent.

18.4 per cent of adults concluded their primary education, but did not advance to secondary school. Just 2.6 per cent of the population attended secondary school, technical schools or higher education.

Portuguese is the official language and, until very recently, it has been the sole medium of education in state schools. Yet only a small minority (6.5 per cent) give Portuguese as their mother tongue. Just 2.1 per cent of those over 50 give Portuguese as their mother tongue, compared with 5.5 per cent of those aged between 20 and 49, and 8.5 per cent of those in the 5-19 age bracket.

In the towns and cities the majority of people claim a working knowledge of Portuguese - 2.69 million compared with 1.03 million who are ignorant of the language. But in the countryside only 2.19 million people in rural areas claim to understand Portuguese, while 6.43 million do not.

In linguistic terms, Mozambique is highly fragmented. No single language is dominant. The census showed that the most spoken African language is Emakhuwa: 26.3 per cent of Mozambicans, mostly in the north of the country, give it as their mother tongue.

The second most spoken language is Xichangana - 11.4 per cent, mainly in Gaza and Maputo provinces, give it as their mother tongue. Only three other languages - Elomwe, Cisena and Echuwabo - are the mother tongue of more than five per cent of the population. 33 per cent give a wide variety of other African languages as their mother tongues.

Living conditions

Most Mozambicans live in traditional huts, and have no electricity, no piped water, and no sanitation. There are 3.54 million houses of which 3.04 million (85.88 per cent) are huts. Modern brick housing accounts for just 10.08 per cent of the country's homes.

Just five per cent of Mozambican houses have electricity, and only 8.5 per cent of homes have piped water - either inside the house or in the yard. 6.8 per cent of the population have access to standpipes, but two thirds of all households (66.5 per cent) draw their water from wells or boreholes. The remaining 18.2 per cent are in the most precarious condition of all, relying on rivers, lakes or "other sources" for their water. Toilets or latrines are found in 34 per cent of the houses.

Poverty is such that even a radio is a luxury. 69.3 per cent of all Mozambican houses have no radio.


The majority of citizens regard themselves as Christians - but only a minority follow the Roman Catholic religion that was imposed by Portuguese colonial rule.

According to the census only 23.8 per cent of Mozambicans aged five and above are Roman Catholics. 17.5 per cent described themselves as followers of the Maziones churches, a myriad of independent African Protestant churches. A further 7.8 per cent belong to the "Protestant/evangelical" mainstream, while 3.6 per cent are "other Christian" denominations. This means that 52.7 per cent regard themselves as Christians.

Only 17.8 per cent told the census brigades that they were Moslems. 23.1 per cent of Mozambicans are described as "without religion". It is thought that these are mostly the same people who, in the demographic survey of 1991, were described as following "traditional African religion" (31.9 per cent in that survey). Since ancestor worship and its rituals are not an organised religion, huge numbers of people said they belonged to no religion, even though they are deeply spiritual.

Only 2.1 per cent actually described themselves as "animists" - but this is just an artifice of language, since few will ever have come across the word "animismo".

Deadline for parliamentary candidates

By the deadline of 14 October for political parties to deliver their lists of candidates for December's parliamentary elections the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) had received documentation from 13 parties and coalitions.

According to a note issued by STAE, the parties who handed over lists of candidates are the ruling Frelimo Party and nine minor opposition groupings, namely: Liberal and Democratic Party of Mozambique (PALMO); Labour Party (PT); Mozambican Party for Social Broadening (PASOMO); Mozambican Green Party (PVM); National Workers and Peasants Party (PANAOC); Independent Party of Mozambique (PIMO); Progressive Liberal Party of Mozambique (PPLM); Social-Liberal Party (SOL); Democratic Party for the Liberation of Mozambique (PADELIMO).

In addition, three coalitions have given STAE their lists: the Renamo-Electoral Union, Democratic Union (UD) and Mozambican Opposition Union (UMO)

STAE says that its legal office has accepted the PVM documentation "provisionally", since the National Elections Commission (CNE), the independent body in charge of the elections, is awaiting clarification about the leadership. The party has split into two factions, one of which backs Renamo.

Over the next fortnight, the CNE must verify the lists of candidates, ensuring that all are eligible to stand.

Three presidential candidates rejected

Mozambique's Supreme Court on 11 October rejected three candidates for December's presidential elections because they did not bring sufficient nominations.

Under the country's electoral law, any candidate for the presidency must be nominated by a minimum of 10,000 registered voters. Their signatures on the nomination papers must all be notarised.

Armando Siueia, leader of the National Workers and Peasants Party (PANAOC), Joaquim Nyota of the Democratic Party for the Liberation of Mozambique (PADELIMO), and Wehia Ripua, who heads the three party coalition UMO (Mozambican Opposition Union), all failed to provide enough signatures.

There are to be three presidential candidates: Joaquim Chissano of Frelimo; Afonso Dhlakama of Renamo; and Yaqub Sibindy of the Independent Party of Mozambique.

Mozambican stock exchange opens

Mozambique's stock exchange opened in Maputo on 14 October. The stock exchange started its activities by trading in the treasury bonds issued by the state last May. That bond issue was for a total of 60 billion meticais ($4.6 million). The bonds each have a face value of a million meticais, and pay interest every three months.

The first company to be quoted on the stock market will be Cervejas de Mocambique (CDM - Beers of Mozambique), the privatised brewing company, in which the majority shareholder is South African Breweries. CDM made net profits of $11.3 million in 1998.

At a later stage, the government will sell off the shares it still holds in the 1,000 or so privatised companies.

Human rights not fully respected

Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi admitted in Maputo, on 5 October, that "respect for human rights in the country has not yet attained the desired level".

Speaking during a ceremony to launch the first report on the human rights situation, produced by the Mozambican NGO, the Human Rights and Development Association (DHD), Mocumbi said, however, that the government has been striving to respond to the calls from citizens for more respect for their rights.

Among the actions carried out by the government in this regard, he mentioned the introduction of human rights as a discipline in police training courses, and the ongoing reform of the legal and prison systems.

Mocumbi also mentioned the abolition of the death penalty, the reintegration into society of former child soldiers, the reduction of the levels of absolute poverty, the maintenance of peace, and improvements in the education system as some of the principles the government defends and has been endeavouring to keep to in protecting citizens' rights

At the ceremony, the chairperson of another prominent NGO, the Community Development Foundation (FDC), Graca Machel, the widow of the first Mozambican President, Samora Machel, pointed out that long years of violence have led Mozambicans "to look at human suffering as a natural thing". She regretted most citizens do not know their rights and also the fact that the report does not broach the situation of the disabled.

Report denounces abuses

The DHD report noted that, although access to the legal system is a right enshrined in the constitution, in reality most of the population is deprived of this right, thanks to the collapse of the legal aid system.

It also noted the critical shortage of people who hold law degrees, estimating that there are no more than 500 of them in the entire country, most of whom are concentrated in Maputo. Of the qualified staff around 170 are judges, and 200 are qualified defence lawyers, numbers which "do not satisfy the country's real needs".

Furthermore, "in many cases citizens find their right to access to justice is barred by the slowness and discretionary nature of court cases, without mentioning the instances in which case papers simply disappear", adds the DHD report.

It attacks the Mozambican Bar Association for failing to discipline the country's lawyers, or to minimise corruption in the courts. The failure of the Bar Association is reflected in lawyers failing to honour promises made to their clients, sometimes even failing to turn up to court hearings, but collecting their fees all the same.

The report attacked judges who set derisory amounts of bail for serious offences. This frustrates the purpose of bail, which is to ensure that the accused will appear for his trial, rather than running away.

The report claimed there are cases in which judges take their decisions "based on the economic situation, social position, race, degree of influence, religion or ethnic group of those involved". Court clerks, it added, had also been bribed to speed up, or slow down, cases.

As for the police force, the DHD report accuses it of lack of professionalism, torture and arbitrary detention of citizens, corruption and abuse of authority. Searches and arrests are frequently made without warrants, it says, and the police use their firearms "indiscriminately".

As for the state of Mozambique's prisons, the report notes that they are characterised by overcrowding, malnutrition and even the deaths of prisoners from various diseases. Corruption in the prison system is evident in the large number of escapes, apparently with the connivance of prison guards.

The report also attacks generalised corruption and inertia and apathy within the state apparatus. The report warns that citizens have ceased to believe in state bodies.

The report also deals at lengths with problems in the education and health services, regarding such matters as teachers demanding bribes from the parents of their students as violations of human rights.

In health, the report attacks doctors who channel patients away from the national health service to private clinics which they own - and then use the facilities of the public hospitals to treat these private patients.

The report ranges far and wide, taking in many issues which are not normally regarded as human rights. Thus one section deals with consumers' rights, including the sale of goods past their expiry date, and overcharging by the publicly owned electricity and telecommunications companies, EDM and TDM.

National mourning for Nyrere

The Mozambican government has declared a seven day period of national mourning for the death of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, beginning on 16 October. Throughout this period the Mozambican flag will be flown at half mast. Nyerere died of leukaemia on 14 October in a London hospital. He was 77 years old.

He is remembered in Mozambique for his unflinching support for the country's struggle for independence from Portuguese colonial rule. It was in Dar es Salaam, and under Nyerere's aegis, that the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) was founded on 25 June 1962, and it was from camps in southern Tanzania that the first Frelimo guerrillas slipped over the border in 1964 to start the armed liberation struggle.

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