Mozambique News Agency

No.219, 13th November 2001


I will not rest until I am President - Dhlakama

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has pledged that he will not rest until he is the country's president. Interviewed in the Beira daily "Diario de Mocambique" on 12 November, Dhlakama denied allegations that some Renamo members were protesting that he is a tired man who needs a rest. "Why should I rest, when I have not yet governed this country?", he retorted.

Far from wanting him to resign, ordinary Renamo members wanted to see him occupy the highest post in the land, Dhlakama claimed. "Any strong party wants its leader in the presidency", said Dhlakama. "My party will not accept that a leader with charisma, a leader who brings votes to the party, should go and rest".

He added that it is part of his party's goals to win the 2003 municipal elections. "This time there will be no boycott", said Dhlakama, recalling that Renamo boycotted the first municipal elections, in 1998, and thus there are no Renamo members in any of the 33 elected Municipal Assemblies.

Dhlakama accused the ruling Frelimo Party of "destroying Renamo's political base", referring to the "regulos", the supposedly traditional chiefs, who lost much of their power at the time of independence. He accused Frelimo of "threatening" regulos, and of "replacing the true traditional chiefs with its puppets, thus breaking with customary succession rights through the family lineage".

As for the current review of the electoral legislation, Dhlakama insisted on the politicisation not only of the National Elections Commission (CNE), but also of its executive body, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), which is the electoral branch of the civil service.

He demanded that Frelimo and Renamo should have an equal number of representatives on both bodies, and that decisions should be taken by a two thirds majority - which would give Renamo the power of veto.

As for complaints by some Renamo members that the grass roots had been ignored by the party's leaders, Dhlakama acknowledged that there was a huge gap between the opposition leaders and their supporters.

He even said that the parliamentary deputies of the Renamo-Electoral Union opposition coalition are "academics, people who have never been to the bush (in the war), who are used to town life. They are afraid of going to the field. They have been criticised and there has even been a strong discussion between the intellectuals and the non-intellectuals".

Commenting on his re-election as party leader, during the Renamo Congress in October, Dhlakama said that this was a demonstration that there is democracy within Renamo.

Two candidates stood against Dhlakama, but many observers suspected that this was no more than a facade - particularly since one of these candidates, Agostinho Murrial, was constantly promoting Dhlakama. When the votes were counted, Dhlakama had over 95 per cent. Murrial did not get any votes, while Manuel Pereira picked up seven.

President Chissano visits Cuba and announces closer cooperation

The Mozambican and Cuban governments on 2 November in Havana signed a series of agreements and protocols, aimed at reviving the cooperation between the two countries. The areas covered by the agreements are education, trade, sport and physical education, the reciprocal protection of investments, and the abolition of entry visas for holders of diplomatic passports.

The signing ceremony was a high point in the week long official visit to Cuba by President Joaquim Chissano. Both sides view the agreements as reactivating bilateral cooperation that had been virtually interrupted for the past ten years, because of the serious economic difficulties that Cuba faced following the collapse of its main trading partners in what was once the Soviet bloc.

During his visit, President Chissano praised Cuba's role in assisting independent African states. When he met with African ambassadors in Havana, he recalled the days when Cuba sent hundreds of doctors to African countries that had just gained their independence. In the same spirit of disinterested aid, Cuba built schools on its own soil where many thousands of African children, from Mozambique, Angola, Ethiopia and other countries, studied.

"Today, after Cuba has overcome the crisis of the past ten years, it again offers us support with the same spirit that moved it in the past", said President Chissano.

INGC director acquitted

A Maputo Court has acquitted, for insufficient evidence, INGC director Silvano Langa, and Jesselina Langa, the head of the INGC's logistics department, who were accused of neglect that resulted in the deterioration of foodstuffs intended for distribution to flood victims earlier this year.

Judge Wilson Dambo, delivering his verdict on 8 November, said the prosecution had not presented sufficient evidence to hold the two responsible for the deterioration of 670 sacks of wheat flour and 200 sacks of beans.

Reacting to the verdict, Langa said "I believed, from the beginning, that justice would be done, and it has been done".

Access to clean water and health care remain poor

Most of the Mozambican population has no ready access to clean drinking water, and must walk for over an hour before reaching the nearest health unit.

These are some of the sombre findings of a detailed survey on "basic indicators of well-being", undertaken by the National Statistics Institute (INE), and unveiled in Maputo on 19 October.

The survey took a representative sample of 14,500 households, of whom 13,790 were interviewed in depth between October 2000 and May 2001. The living standards revealed by the survey are precarious indeed. Thus only 37.1 per cent of the population has access to piped water (inside or outside the house) or to a protected well. The rest of the population derives its water from sources that are easily contaminated - mainly rivers, lakes or unprotected wells.

Worse still is basic household sanitation. The majority of the population (57.5 per cent) have no latrines in their homes, and must defecate in the bush. Just 9.7 per cent use modern flush toilets or "improved" pit latrines.

As for health services, 56.7 per cent of the population has to walk for an hour or more to reach a health unit. 10.9 per cent of the sample had used the health services in the past year, and of these 47.9 per cent said they were dissatisfied with the service they received. The main causes for this dissatisfaction were the long waiting time before being attended, and the lack of medicines in the health posts.

But the picture is not homogenous across the country - in general, the healthiest place to live is Maputo city, while the provinces with the most severe problems are Zambezia and Nampula.

In Zambezia, 74.6 per cent of the population, and in Nampula 69.7 per cent, lives an hour's walk or more from the nearest health unit: in Maputo city, the figure is only 3.8 per cent.

In Zambezia, a staggering 93 per cent of the population have no latrines. In Maputo the figure is just 0.7 per cent. 75.2 per cent of the Maputo population has either a flush toilet or an improved latrine in their homes. Nowhere else comes anywhere near this figure: even in Maputo province decent sanitation is only available to 23 per cent of the inhabitants.

As for water, 91.7 per cent of Maputo households have access to piped water either inside their homes, or from standpipes. In Maputo province 50.6 per cent of households, and in neighbouring Gaza a surprising 72.4 per cent, have clean water (either piped water or protected wells).

Everywhere else in the country, most people draw their water from unprotected sources, thus risking all manner of water borne diseases. Zambezia is easily the worst case, with 83.1 per cent of its population drinking unsafe water, followed by Nampula with 73.8 per cent.

Illiteracy rates fall

The illiteracy rate in Mozambique has fallen by around four percentage points over the past four years, according to the latest figures released by the INE.

The illiteracy rate among Mozambicans aged 15 and above is 56.7 per cent - an improvement on the 60.5 per cent illiteracy rate found by the 1997 population census. The illiteracy rate among men has fallen from 44.6 to 40.2 per cent, and among women from 74.1 to 71.2 per cent.

There have been gains in both urban and rural areas. Urban illiteracy has declined from 33 to 31.4 per cent, and rural illiteracy from 72.2 to 68.9 per cent.

The most significant gain is among young women: in 1997, 59.2 per cent of women aged 15 to 19 were illiterate, and this figure has now fallen to 51 per cent.

There are enormous regional differences in literacy. In the four provinces south of the Save river, the majority of adults are literate, but in the seven central and northern provinces the majority are illiterate.

Maputo city has far better figures than anywhere else: only 13 per cent of adults are illiterate in the capital. But the illiteracy rate soars to 77.3 per cent in the northern province of Cabo Delgado (and to 91.6 per cent among Cabo Delgado women). Zambezia and Nampula are not far behind, with 74.7 and 69.9 per cent illiteracy rates respectively.

The great majority of Mozambicans (70.6 per cent) have either never gone to school, or dropped out before concluding first level primary education (1st to 5th grades). Only 3.7 per cent have completed secondary education - which is better than the 2.6 per cent found by the 1997 census.

In the survey sample, only 3.3 per cent of children aged between 6 and 12, and 21.5 per cent in the 13-17 age bracket were not enrolled in school. Among these children household poverty was the main reason for not attending school: 37.9 per cent of the 6-12 year olds who were not at school, and 26.7 per cent of the 13-17 year olds, said school was "too expensive".

But a surprisingly high number (22 per cent of the 6-12 year olds, and 30.2 per cent of the 13-17 year olds) dismissed school altogether as "useless".

Premature marriage and pregnancy are significant reasons for adolescents dropping out. 10.3 per cent of the 13-17 age bracket said they were not studying because they had got married, while 3.3 per cent gave pregnancy as the cause.

Child nutrition and vaccinations

Almost half of all Mozambican children have been malnourished at some stage in their lives, but most children are also receiving at least some of the vaccinations they need against the killer childhood diseases.

The INE survey showed that 5.5 per cent of under fives are acutely malnourished - they have low body mass for their height, and are therefore in serious danger of starvation.

A further 43.8 per cent have low height for their age - a sign of past malnutrition (often referred to as chronic malnutrition).

But the health service does manage to vaccinate most children. The survey found that 81 per cent of children aged between 12 and 23 months had their vaccination card, and 53.9 per cent had received all the necessary vaccinations.

76.9 per cent had received their BCG shot, 67.5 per cent had been inoculated against measles, and 59.2 per cent had received all three doses of polio vaccine.

In Maputo city 95.2 per cent of children have been vaccinated against measles, 97.1 per cent have received their BCG, and 92.3 per cent are fully inoculated against polio. Three per cent of Maputo under fives are acutely malnourished, while 19.9 per cent show signs of chronic malnutrition.

It is not the drought prone provinces of Inhambane, Gaza or Tete that have the worst child malnutrition rates, but the fertile provinces of Zambezia, Cabo Delgado and Nampula. The most shocking figure comes from Zambezia where 65.3 per cent of under-fives are either acutely or chronically malnourished, followed by Cabo Delgado (59.8 per cent), and Nampula (58.5 per cent).

Zambezia also has the lowest vaccination rate: only 57.8 per cent of the children had vaccination cards, and most of these had not actually been vaccinated. 37.7 per cent had taken the BCG vaccination, 42.8 per cent were vaccinated against measles, and only 15.8 per cent against polio.

In every other province a majority of children had been vaccinated against at least measles and tuberculosis. The determining factor for children's health appears to be their mothers' education. Vaccination is well nigh universal among children whose mothers have completed secondary education (99.2 per cent for BCG, and 97.6 per cent for measles). 3.8 per cent of children born to such mothers had acute malnutrition, and 16.6 per cent had signs of chronic malnutrition.

In households where the mother had no education at all, levels of acute malnutrition among under fives rose to 5.8 per cent and of chronic malnutrition to 47.2 per cent.

Mozambicans show optimism

Most Mozambicans believe that the economic situation of their households has not deteriorated, when compared with a year earlier, according to the INE survey.

The sample (of 13,790 households) was asked to compare their situation with what it had been a year earlier - in most cases that would mean comparing it to before the floods of February 2000.

35.1 per cent said they were in much the same situation as a year previously, 26.3 per cent said they were better off, or much better off, while 38 per cent said they were worse off or much worse off (0.6 per cent said they did not know).

Thus almost two thirds of the population have the perception that their standard of living is not declining.

In only two provinces - Gaza and Sofala, both severely hit by the floods - did a majority of the sample say their lives had deteriorated. In Sofala 13.6 per cent said their situation was worse, and 45.6 per cent said it was much worse than it had been a year before the survey: the figures for Gaza were 33.2 and 26.8 per cent.

The most optimistic province was Niassa, in the far north: only 12.5 per cent of households here thought their situation was worse or much worse than it had been a year previously.

As for domestic appliances, most households have very few. Thus only 6.6 per cent of households own a modern stove, 4.7 per cent have a sewing machine, and four per cent have refrigerators. The most common appliances are radio sets (49.5 per cent of households possess one), followed by clocks (36.5 per cent). 5.1 per cent of the sample possessed a television: but television is only common in Maputo city (where 53.6 per cent of households own a set), and Maputo province (16.9 per cent, mostly in the city of Matola). In no other province does television ownership reach even four per cent of households.

The vast majority of households (95.9 per cent) rely on firewood or charcoal for cooking. Even in urban areas the figure is 65.6 per cent. Only in Maputo city and province does the use of modern fuels reach significant levels. In the capital, 38.9 per cent of households cook with gas, and 9.7 per cent use electricity (in Maputo province, these figures are 21.7 per cent and 1.8 per cent).

Swiss support for mine clearance

The Swiss government has made $500,000 available for the second phase of clearing land mines from the Mozambican police training centre at Matalane, in Marracuene district, about 30 kilometres north of Maputo.

An agreement to this effect was signed on 2 November by the director of Mozambique's National Demining Institute (IND), Artur Verissimo, and the Swiss ambassador, Rudolf Barrefuss.

In the first phase, 850,000 square metres of land were cleared. Verissimo announced that the second phase would cover 633,000 square metres, and should take about five months.

So by the end of this operation, about 1.5 million square metres will have been cleared, out of an estimated two million square metres of land mined in the entire district of Marracuene.

Mozambique is spending between $12.5 and $15 million a year on demining. Switzerland provides $1.5 million a year of these funds.

Swedish support for Niassa

The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) has undertaken to provide about 1,000 micro-credits to groups of peasant farmers in the northernmost province of Niassa between now and 2003.

The credits are for a total of around $400,000, and are intended to stimulate the cultivation of a variety of cash crops.

Through the "Malonda" ("wealth" in the Macua language, widely spoken in northern Mozambique), SIDA hopes to benefit about 3,600 households.

A pilot micro-credit programme, also covering agricultural marketing, has already taken off in Niassa, involving about $500,000, and is now being consolidated.

European support for agriculture

The European Commission and the Mozambican government signed an agreement in Maputo on 2 November under which the commission will provide 17.4 million euros (about $15.7 million) to support Mozambican agriculture.

11.4 million euros is to be spent on crop improvement and diversification, and food security sustainability. Institutional support for the National Secretariat for Food Security Coordination and Early Warning Data accounts for 3.6 million euros, while the remainder is to be spent on consolidating and decentralising financial management reform in the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

These are all components of the 2000-2002 Multi-Annual Food Security Programme.

Assembly of the Republic passes money laundering bill

The Mozambican government on 8 November presented a bill to the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, to outlaw money laundering.

The government document explaining the bill said there were four major criminal activities which generated large amounts of money, which criminal organisations then needed to launder - drug-trafficking, gun-running, the traffic in stolen vehicles, and organised prostitution.

The bill makes it a criminal offence, punishable by 16 to 20 years imprisonment, for anyone who knows that money or property derives from the illicit trade in drugs, guns or stolen vehicles to assist in any conversion or transfer operation designed to hide the origins of this capital. Merely receiving capital derived from trafficking will attract an eight to 12 year prison sentence.

The government has also introduced the offence of gun-running. To date, people who sell guns illicitly can only be prosecuted on charges of the illegal possession or use of firearms, which carries a maximum two year jail term. This leniency derives from the pre-independence Portuguese Penal Code.

The penalty proposed in the bill for gun-running is a 20 to 24 year prison sentence. Anyone who is simply found in illegal possession of guns will face two to eight years in jail.

Similarly with vehicles: up until now Mozambican law treated car theft much the same as any other theft, and the maximum prison sentence for stealing a car was eight years. The bill introduces the new offence of "illicit traffic in stolen vehicles", which carries a jail term of 16 to 20 years.

If three or more people work together on money laundering, that constitutes a "criminal association", membership of which will be punished with between 20 and 24 years imprisonment.

The bill imposes obligations on banks and other financial bodies to identify all their clients properly, and to verify their addresses. When financial operations, because of their complexity, volume, or unusual character, are such as to arouse suspicions, financial institutions must obtain information from their clients as to the origin and destination of the funds involved, and the identity of the beneficiaries.

When clients are acting on behalf of somebody else, whom they decline to identify, the financial institutions must refuse to undertake the operation. They must also inform the Attorney-General's Office of all suspect operations, and must halt them until the Attorney-General has given his opinion.

The financial institutions must collaborate with the relevant judicial authorities, if these ask for information on operations undertaken by their clients, or for documentation on their deposits or securities. The bill thus sweeps away the veil of "banking secrecy" behind which criminals have laundered the proceeds of their activities. Financial bodies that do not comply with these provisions will risk heavy fines, and the suspension or withdrawal of their licence to operate.

When investigating suspicions of money laundering, the judicial authorities can demand access to banks' computer systems, as well as to the accounts of the individuals or companies involved. They can also bug their telephones.

Requests for such violations of privacy must be signed by a judge, and strict time limits (of no more than a year) observed for bugging telephone lines.

Unanimous support

The Assembly of the Republic unanimously passed the money-laundering bill on its first reading - but with several deputies indicating that, in the committee stage, they will introduce amendments to widen the scope of the bill.

Maximo Dias, of Renamo-Electoral Union , wanted the bill amended to cover funds acquired through "embezzlement and corruption", and from contraband.

Eneas Comiche of Frelimo wanted the bill to deal with the proceeds from banking frauds. "Since it is a criminal activity which also results in illicitly obtaining money which needs to be laundered to legitimise it, banking frauds should also be expressly dealt with in this bill", he said.

Frelimo deputy Teodato Hunguana noted that the terrorist attacks of 11 September against New York and Washington had pushed money laundering towards the top of the international agenda (although the Mozambican bill was drafted prior to the September atrocities).

Mozambique could not avoid this battle. "While the towers of the World Trade Centre are a continent away, and even Nairobi and Dar es Salaam are quite distant, the summary liquidation of citizens such as Lima Felix, Carlos Cardoso or Antonio Siba-Siba, happened round the corner, in connection with cases that are linked to this very problem", declared Hunguana. Those three murders were "more than enough reason for a bill on money laundering".

Lima Felix was a Portuguese banker murdered in December 1997, Carlos Cardoso, the country's best-known journalist, was assassinated on 22 November 2000, and Antonio Siba-Siba, interim chairman of the Austral Bank, was killed on 11 August this year. All three had been investigating financial scandals of one sort or another.

Hunguana stressed that a tough law was not enough. The rest of the legal system, notably the police and the courts, must work properly, and there must be "a banking supervision that is effective and pro-active, rather than merely reactive".

He warned that the bill was seriously weakened by making knowledge of the criminal origin of funds a key element in the definition of money laundering. "If a condition for the crime of money laundering is that the agent of this crime knows where the money he is laundering comes from, then we can be certain that nobody will be punished under this law unless they are completely incompetent", said Hunguana.

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