Mozambique News Agency

No.241, 8th October 2002


Leaders embrace on peace anniversary

Current political problems were temporarily shelved as President Joaquim Chissano and Renamo's leader Afonso Dhlakama publicly embraced at the celebrationsof the tenth anniversary of the peace agreement signed in Rome on 4 October 1992, bringing an end to the war of destabilisation.

President Chissano and Dhlakama both spoke at a rally of several thousand people in Maputo's peace park. Chissano said the peace accord had ended "a decade and a half of suffering" in which millions of people had been displaced from their homes.

There were many who feared that the gap between the two sides would prove unbridgeable - but all such problems were overcome by "the clamour of the people for peace". He argued that it was popular pressure from all over the country that led the government and Renamo "to put aside hatred and recriminations and reach a peace without victors and vanquished".

President Chissano recalled that, prior to 1992, he did not know Dhlakama - they met for the first time in a Rome hotel room in August, in the presence of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Chissano said that he had immediately asked Dhlakama "Do you want peace ?". When the Renamo leader said "yes", and the two men shook hands, Chissano was convinced that peace was within grasp. "The peace was signed in October, but it was made at that meeting in August", he said.

The President also argued that the downfall of apartheid, "the main source of destabilisation and violence in the region", had been a powerful stimulus to the peace accord. He was too polite to mention that Renamo had been under the control of apartheid military intelligence from 1980 right through to 1992.

Chissano stressed that ten years of peace had allowed Mozambique to rebuild its economy, which was now growing at an average rate of seven per cent a year. But there remained serious challenges to be overcome. Chissano pointed to the huge disparity in wealth between Maputo city and the rest of the country, and the political problems this could provoke. He stressed that some two thirds of the Mozambican people still live in absolute poverty, and called for a better division of the country's resources.

Perhaps most serious of all was the rise in diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and particularly AIDS. "Not a week goes by without someone that we know being struck down by one of these diseases", he said. He warned that halting the spread of AIDS was "a question of survival for our society and our state".

Dhlakama hails unshakeable peace

Afonso Dhlakama declared that Mozambique is an example of "stability, achieved through a strong peace that nothing can shake". He stated that Renamo had played a key role in "political stabilisation and democratisation", and that Renamo "always relied on the unconditional support of the Mozambican people. Our great goal is the wellbeing of the Mozambican people".

Dhlakama said that, now that political independence and peace had been achieved, Mozambique should strive for "development and social justice". "Mozambique is not a poor country - it is a country that has been impoverished", he said. "We must work together to create the political and human conditions for the country's development".

Dhlakama added that "strengthening civil society should be one of the government's top priorities - only thus can democracy be strengthened".

There were many other speeches - from the men who led the two negotiating teams (Armando Guebuza for the government, and Raul Domingos for Renamo), from two of the mediators (the Archbishop of Beira, Jaime Goncalves, and Italian priest Matteo Zuppi of the Santo Egidio Community), from Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Alfredo Mantica, from South African Deputy President Jacob Zuma, and from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Referring to Zimbabwe's military alliance with Mozambique against Renamo in the 1980s, Mugabe said "It is not that we hated his (Dhlakama's) person, but we hated his actions. But we are happy now. There is peace in the family. Let us not talk of violence again. Let us not raise our hands against each other".

Renamo boycotts Beira celebrations

While supporters of Frelimo and Renamo celebrated together in Maputo, in the country's second city, Beira, Renamo boycotted the official ceremonies.

According to Beira daily paper "Diario de Mocambique", Renamo held its own rally in what they have baptised "Peace Square" in the Pioneiros suburb, while the official ceremonies were taking place in Chota neighbourhood. Renamo also marched from Pioneiros to Independence Square in the centre of the city, singing and chanting slogans.

The Renamo Sofala provincial delegate, Manuel Pereira, said that Renamo would have participated in the official ceremonies, if they had been held in Independence Square, "but they changed the programme and celebrated only in Chota".

His objection to Chota is that this is where the Beira Monument to the Mozambican Heroes has been built. "It makes no sense for us to celebrate the day of peace at the Monument to the Heroes, because the so-called heroes are Frelimo heroes", he said. "Andre Matsangaissa [the first leader of Renamo] is not in that square".

Sofala Provincial Governor Felicio Zacarias shrugged off the absence of Renamo from Chota. "If the opposition isn't with us here, I think it's not my problem. They know why they're not here".

Renamo also boycotted the celebrations in the neighbouring province of Manica. In the provincial capital, Chimoio, there was a march through the city that attracted 10,000 people, according to "Diario de Mocambique"'s estimate. They danced, and chanted slogans such as "War never again", and eventually concentrated for a rally in Chimoio's Independence Square, addressed by Provincial Governor Soares Nhaca and religious figures.

Renamo, however, chose to celebrate shut away in its own offices. A Renamo parliamentary deputy, Albino Faife, said they were boycotting the peace march in protest against the alleged "marginalisation" of Renamo members and supporters in the province.

Former police chief calls for protection

The former head of the Maputo branch of the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC), Antonio Frangoulis, has demanded "appropriate and adequate protection for myself and my family", following death threats against him made by Anibal dos Santos Junior ("Anibalzinho"), the alleged assassin who escaped from the city's top security prison on 1 September.

Anibalzinho is one of six men charged with the November 2000 murder of Mozambique's best-known journalist, Carlos Cardoso. Frangoulis headed the investigation that led to his arrest, and subsequently interrogated him repeatedly in prison.

Frangoulis informed Interior Minister Almerino Manhenje of the death threats in a letter of 23 September, with copies sent to the General Commander of the police, Miguel dos Santos, Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi, and several other prominent figures, including foreign diplomats.

The independent newsheet "Mediafax" has obtained a copy of the letter and published it in full on 3 October. Frangoulis told Manhenje that Anibalzinho rang him up on his mobile phone at 21.34 on 20 September, and spoke to him for some 15 minutes, issuing a series of threats. As far as he could recall, Anibalzinho said, repeatedly, and in a threatening tone, "Are you my friend, or aren't you ?" He boasted of his escape. "Frangoulis, didn't I tell you would leave the B.O. (the top security prison) on whatever day I liked ? Didn't I tell you that the Red Berets (the police of the Presidential Guard) are in my hands ?" "Frangoulis, my brother, I want you to leave my mother in peace", said Anibalzinho. "Do you want to go to war with me ? (The menacing tone in his voice rose at this point, Frangoulis noted). Look, I want you to return to my mother all the things you took from my house. I've got my eyes on you".

"My men are on top of you", he continued. "I don't want to kill you now. I want you to get down on your knees to me".

Frangoulis was sure, from his earlier talks with Anibalzinho, that the man who rang him was indeed the fugitive. The following day, Frangoulis found a series of messages on his mobile phone, all sent from a number in Portugal, and all apparently coming from Anibalzinho.

The first message was a simple boast: "Frangoulis, remember I told you I would get out. You can put cameras, gates, the presidential guard and every other security, but I'll get out. I even offered you a bet. Remember?" Threats began in the second message: "I'm warning you not to play around with me. If you do, you'll be playing around with power, and you don't play with power".

The third message extended the threats to Frangoulis's children. Anibalzinho claimed that, when he left the jail, "I went past your house at about 22.00. I wanted to take one of your children to keep me company, but a neighbour said you were in South Africa, so I left it". Message number four mocked Frangoulis for losing his job (with no plausible explanation, Frangoulis was removed as head of Maputo PIC on 20 June). Anibalzinho suggested he still had great influence over the police. "Frangoulis, if you want to go back to PIC, just tell me", he said. "I still have power. It's some charity I can offer you. I'm going to have one of your children brought to me. I'm feeling very lonely".

The fifth message referred to the new witness, a man named Opa, who told the investigating magistrate that Momade Abdul Assife Satar, one of the businessmen accused of ordering Cardoso's murder, had claimed he was acting on behalf of Nhimpine Chissano, son of President Joaquim Chissano.

"Frangoulis, so you've been teaching Opa to say in court that it was the boss's son who had Cardoso killed. You're going to fuck up your life", said Anibalzinho. What is of particular interest about this message is that the magistrate questioned Opa on 20 September, and the first mention of this hearing in the Mozambican press was on 26 September. So how did Anibalzinho know about it less than 24 hours later?

The sixth and final message was very short. It declared "Frangoulis, you're sticking your nose in places where you shouldn't". Frangoulis pointed out to Manhenje that he is the victim of these threats "because of what I did in carrying out my duty as a police officer. I have the undeniable right to demand appropriate and adequate protection for myself and my family".

He pointed out that Manhenje had paid no attention to his earlier warnings (on 24 August 2001 and 3 July this year) that Anibalzinho would try to escape. Now he was on the loose and was a menace to "the people who were directly linked to his arrest and to the investigation, among whom I am undoubtedly target number one".

Yet in November 2001, months before Frangoulis was removed from his job, "you took away what is essential for the physical existence of someone in charge of the Criminal Investigation Police in Maputo city - the guard on my house" "Last week", he added, "you took away my bodyguard's gun".

Frangoulis concluded by saying the main reason for his letter was that he believed his family was "in real danger".

But if Manhenje and dos Santos thought he had no right to protection, "please tell me, so that I can ask for assistance from other national or foreign institutions in good time".

Prime Minister promises protection

Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi on 3 October said that the government is taking measures to protect Frangoulis.

Asked about these threats at a Maputo press briefing, Prime Minister Mocumbi said "it is certainly the responsibility of the state to protect its citizens, and Frangoulis is a citizen to be protected".

Mocumbi said that the question of the death threats was being dealt with "by the relevant bodies". Frangoulis, he stressed, "is not just anybody. He's a police officer whose contribution in identifying and arresting those who murdered Carlos Cardoso must be taken into account".

World Bank urged to pay for cashew rescue

The chairman of Mozambique's Cashew Industry Association (AICAJU), Kekobad Patel, told AIM on 1 October that the World Bank ought to support the Mozambican government in attempts to rescue the cashew processing industry.

He pointed out that it was the liberalisation of the trade in raw cashews, imposed by the World Bank in 1995, that had led to the collapse of the processing industry.

With the export of raw nuts to India encouraged, and the local industry stripped of protection, the factories found themselves unable to acquire raw material, and one by one they ground to a halt. Now it was time for the World Bank to pay for its disastrous mistakes, and provide the funds to rescue the deeply indebted processing companies.

Speaking at a Maputo conference on "Public-Private Partnerships", Patel pointed out that cashew had once been a cornerstone of the Mozambican economy. Four years before Mozambican independence, in 1971, cashew exports (both processed kernels and unprocessed nuts) amounted to $151 million. Last year, virtually no kernels were exported, and the value of exported raw nuts was just $11.5 million.

Patel pointed out that the liberalisation imposed by the World Bank had been strongly opposed both by the factory owners, and by the Cashew Workers Union (SINTIC). Now, seven years later, their fears have proved all too well-founded, and the processing industry is in ruins.

He recalled that the World Bank consultants had argued that liberalisation would promote competition, which would lead to greater production. They predicted that within five years the cashew orchard would expand to produce 80-90,000 tonnes of nuts a year. Peasant producers would supposedly receive higher prices for their nuts, and though some jobs might be lost in the factories, those workers could earn good money by growing their own cashews.

None of this has happened. Patel pointed out that production has stagnated. Over the last five years, average annual production has been 50,000 tonnes of raw nuts, "almost the same as when the liberalisation policy was introduced".

Whatever gains producers may have made in the late 1990s were annulled as from 2000, when the producer price for raw cashews fell, and export prices for down by 40 per cent.

Patel attributed this to the fact that there is only one buyer - India. It is the Indian industry that sets the export price, and with the annihilation of the local processing industry competition to purchase the nuts has disappeared.

Patel said that currently 12 large processing factories are closed "with investments of about $50 million transformed into scrap metal".

10,000 jobs in the processing industry had been lost, with severe knock-on effects in local economies. Towns such as Manjacaze in Gaza province, or Angoche in Nampula, had been heavily dependent on the cashew factories. When the factories closed, there was "a considerable increase in poverty" in these areas.

Cashew industry wages had been about nine billion meticais ($380,000 at current exchange rates) a month. That monthly injection of cash into local economies no longer exists.

The Mozambican balance of payments suffered, because processed cashew kernels fetch more money than do raw nuts. Mozambique lost heavily every time it exported a tonne of raw cashews rather than transforming the nuts into processed kernels first. Patel put total losses to the balance of payments over the past five years at $15 million.

"Once recognised as one of the major suppliers of cashew kernels, Mozambique has now disappeared from the market", Patel accused.

The failure of the policy followed since 1995 was "more than evident", and Patel called on the government "to make a deep reflection on the future of the cashew sector".

That had to involve drawing up a "harmonised and sustainable policy that defends the national interest and promotes the country's development".

Patel did not believe the current Cashew Master Plan was viable. It deals almost exclusively with improving the yields from the cashew orchard: but the stress is not on planting more trees, but on the expensive use of chemicals to treat the existing trees against fungal diseases.

Patel believed the costs of chemical treatment were beyond the reach of most peasant farmers, and it was fundamental to research into higher yielding and disease resistant varieties of trees.

As for the processing industry, Patel believed it could be rescued if the government and World Bank were to clean up the debts of viable factories (while liquidating those deemed not to be viable).

He also called for medium and long term credit lines, at preferential interest rates, to help relaunch existing factories, and encourage new ones.

President confirms telephone call

President Chissano has confirmed that Afonso Dhlakama telephoned him to request the release of Renamo supporters jailed for their part in the riots of 9 November 2000 in the northern town of Montepuez.

Speaking to reporters who accompanied him to the Southern African Development Community summit in Luanda, Chissano said he explained to Dhlakama the extent of his powers under the constitution and the law.

The President said that the head of state cannot issue a blanket pardon, though he can commute sentences. But for this to happen, the prisoners concerned must have served at least half of their sentence. Only two of the dozen Renamo members sentenced in connection with the riots have served half their time. The remaining 10 were sentenced to terms of up to 20 years. Furthermore, any prisoners wanting clemency must make the request in writing to the head of state.

The powers to pardon or amnesty convicted prisoners, he continued, belong not to the head of state, but to the Assembly of the Republic.

Chissano said he had informed Dhlakama of the mechanisms involved in commuting sentences, before the Renamo leader made his declaration on 1 October threatening to boycott the peace agreement commemorations unless the Montepuez prisoners were released.

Contractor must return $900,000

The governor of the central province of Sofala, Felicio Zacarias, has declared that the Beira-based construction company Emprecil must return to the state coffers over $900,000, reports "Diario de Mocambique" on 30 September.

Zacarias made this demand during a three day visit to the district of Maringue, where he discovered that Emprecil had been vastly overpaid for the work it had carried out for the provincial government. Zacarias did not say how it was possible for officials to pay Emprecil this amount, but told reporters that the case is now in the hands of the judicial authorities.

"It is not the provincial government that will collect this money because, when I received the report, the first thing I did was to hand the case to the provincial attorney's office. Now it is up to the institutions of justice. What is certain is that Emprecil will have to return the money to the state", he said.

He attacked the shoddy work done by Emprecil in Maringue. Everything this company had built in the district now shows serious structural defects - and none of the buildings is as much as a decade old.

"When we order construction work for the state, the buildings must last a long time", said Zacarias. "We're not doing this just to deceive people".

Among the buildings in question are the district administration offices, and the district administrator's residence, in Maringue town, and the offices and residence of the head of the Canxixe administrative post.

Maringue administrator Agostinho Matique said that the district offices are in such bad condition that on rainy days the staff have to take off their shoes to enter the building, and struggle to a corner somewhere, where they can keep documents dry.

He said that, when it rains, there is little difference between working in the offices, and working under a tree. "So much water comes into the building that we have to find a corner where we can keep the documents and, in my house the situation is even worse", he said.

As for the situation in Canxixe, Matique said that the home of the head of the administrative post is at risk of collapse, and if nothing is done soon, "I will have to force him to abandon the house".

As a way to persuade Emprecil to return the money, the state has seized some of the company's possessions in Maringue, namely a caravan and a tractor and trailer.

Malawians encroach on Mozambican land

Malawian farmers have been accused of removing posts that mark the Mozambique/Malawi border in the western province of Tete, in order to extend their farms into Mozambican territory, reports "Noticias" on 27 September.

The Malawian encroachment is reported in the districts of Angonia and Moatize - but the Tete provincial director of agriculture, Gaspar Semente, declined to confirm or deny the allegations. He said his institution is investigating the matter.

Semente noted that situations of border violation are also reported from some areas in Magoe district, also in Tete, by Zimbabwean farmers.

Following reports by residents of the border areas, the Tete provincial Land Registry Services (SPGC) launched an inspection of the border markers a month ago but, according to Semente, this is a time consuming job, because of difficult access to certain areas. "Some of the marks are placed in the mountains", Semente said.

The issue of border violation by farmers from neighbouring countries is not new. There have also been such reports from Mossurize district, in central Manica province, blamed on Zimbabweans, particularly on the "Tanganda Tea Estates" company, which is said to have occupied a large chunk of Mozambican agricultural land, to extend its plantation.

This case is said to have been a matter brought up in discussions between Mozambican and Zimbabwean government officials who met on 5 June in Chimoio, the Manica provincial capital, where they decided to set up a joint technical team to study the issue further. During this meeting, the two parties also acknowledged the existence of land mines planted along the border. They agreed to exchange information on this matter, and to carry out joint demining work.

Tete governor denounces customs

The governor of the western province of Tete, Tomas Mandlate, has said that the customs service is not living up to the province's expectations due to the "manifest irresponsibility" of dishonest customs staff.

Speaking to AIM in Beira, where he attended a meeting of provincial governors from the central region of the country earlier in September, Mandlate described the performance of the Tete branch of customs as "appalling". He was convinced that not all the revenue collected by the Tete customs finds its way into the state's coffers.

Tete borders on Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and possesses 11 customs posts, through which large amounts of goods, which ought to pay customs duties, enter the country. Because of its revenue-raising role, in its development plan the Tete provincial government identified the customs service as a priority for recovery and economic growth in Tete.

But two years later, Mandlate is deeply concerned at the poor performance of customs staff. "Over the past two years I have personally, and repeatedly, expressed this concern to the customs management". He was thus convinced that the top management of customs in Maputo are fully aware of the situation in Tete. He said that imports from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe should be a sure source of revenue: instead much of the money that should be collected in fact was never handed over to the state, thanks to the corruption reigning "among certain public officials".

He based his accusation on the imbalance between the volume of cross-border traffic and the revenue delivered by customs. "What we are collecting does not correspond to the real capacity of the province to raise money at the borders", he said.

But Mandlate he could not give specific instances of corruption. "If we had specific cases, we would not be saying there's dishonesty in the customs - we would already have taken the necessary measures", he declared.

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