Mozambique News Agency

AIM Reports


No. 585, 21st October 2019







FRELIMO set for landslide victory

As more polling station results from Mozambique’s general and provincial elections that were held on 15 October become available, so the landslide victory for the incumbent president Filipe Nyusi and the ruling Frelimo Party, even in provinces once regarded as opposition strongholds, becomes increasingly evident.

The latest count from a sample of almost 3,000 polling stations, published in the “Mozambique Political Process Bulletin”, issued by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP) gives President Nyusi and Frelimo an unassailable lead.

This count indicates that President Nyusi has won 71 per cent of the vote. His nearest rival, Ossufo Momade, leader of the main opposition party Renamo, has taken about 21 per cent and Daviz Simango, mayor of Beira and leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) comes third with seven per cent.

Frelimo is on track to win at least nine of the ten provincial governorships. The only province in doubt is Zambezia.

Frelimo won a surprise victory in Sofala province which was the cradle of both Renamo and the MDM. On 19 October at a ceremony in Beira, the Sofala Provincial Elections Commission announced the following results:

Presidential elections

Filipe Nyusi (Frelimo) 377,902 (67.78 per cent)

Daviz Simango (MDM) 65,066 (11.67 per cent)

Ossufo Momade (Renamo) 111,925 (20.08 per cent)

Parliamentary election

Frelimo 361,408 (66.25 per cent)

MDM 67,115 (12.31 per cent)

Renamo 110,385 (20.25 per cent)

These figures omit the blank and invalid votes, and the number of votes cast for minor parties and candidates.

As for the Provincial Assembly elections, Frelimo won in all districts in Sofala, including the provincial capital, Beira. This city has long been a stronghold, first of Renamo, and, since 2009, of the MDM. MDM leader Daviz Simango was re-elected mayor of Beira in last year’s municipal elections, and his term of office expires in 2023.

Renamo boycotted the Beira ceremony and refused to speak to reporters about the result. The independent television station STV reported that the MDM was present but denounced the results as “shameful” because of alleged ballot-box stuffing.



Inhambane results declared

Results from the southern province of Inhambane show an overwhelming victory for President Filipe Nyusi and Frelimo. The results were as follows:

Presidential election

Filipe Nyusi (Frelimo) 266,424 (82.1 per cent)

Ossufo Momade (Renamo) 43,592 (13.4 per cent)

Daviz Simango (MDM) 14,505 (4.5 per cent)

Parliamentary election

Frelimo 233,935 (80.2 per cent)

Renamo 43,801 (15 per cent)

MDM 13,805 (4.7 per cent)

Provincial Assembly election

Frelimo 258,148 (80.7 per cent)

Renamo 46,428 (14.5 per cent)

MDM 15,420 (4.8 per cent).

In calculating the percentages, the tiny number of votes for minor parties and candidates has been omitted, as have the blank and invalid ballots.

There are 13 parliamentary seats for Inhambane. By AIM’s calculations, these will divide 11 for Frelimo, two for Renamo and none for the MDM.

Under the new system for provincial governors, introduced with these elections, governors are no longer appointed by the President of the Republic. The head of the list of whichever party wins the most votes in the Provincial Assembly election becomes the governor. In Inhambane’s case, that will be Frelimo’s Daniel Chapo, who is already provincial governor. President Nyusi appointed him to the post in 2016.



Victory for Frelimo in Maputo City

Presidential election:

Filipe Nyusi (Frelimo) 276,087 (69.23 per cent)

Ossufo Momade (Renamo) 91,471 (22.98 per cent)

Daviz Simango (MDM) 29,471 (7.39 per cent)

Parliamentary election

Frelimo 242,105 (61.66 per cent).

Renamo 109,362 (27.85 per cent)

MDM 30.646 (7.81 per cent).

These figures omit minor parties and candidates. There were 23 minor parties standing in the parliamentary election. Between them, they took about 2.6 per cent of the vote.

The turnout in the capital was around 52 per cent. About 1.9 per cent of the votes cast were blank and 1.5 per cent were invalid.

Unlike the rest of the country, voters in the capital only had two ballot papers, not three, to complete. In the other ten constituencies, there was also an election for the provincial assembly. There is no such assembly in the capital, because the whole of the city is one municipality, and a provincial assembly would needlessly duplicate the work of the existing municipal assembly.

Maputo city elects 13 deputies to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. By AIM’s calculations, eight of these will be from Frelimo, four will be from Renamo and one will be from the MDM.



Frelimo win in Zambezia on low turnout

Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party and incumbent President Filipe Nyusi won the general and provincial elections in the central province of Zambezia, but on a low turnout. The turnout in the province was about 42 per cent, much lower than the average national turnout of 53 per cent.

Presidential election

Filipe Nyusi (Frelimo) 541.399 (69.58 per cent)

Daviz Simango (MDM) 29,403 (3.78 per cent)

Ossufo Momade 201,444 (25.89 per cent)

Parliamentary election

Frelimo 505,906 (65.49 per cent)

MDM 26,217 (3.39 per cent)

Renamo 228,615 (29.6 per cent)

Provincial Assembly election

Frelimo 536,816 (65.29 per cent)

MDM 32,804 (3.99 per cent)

Renamo 252,524 (30.72 per cent)

These figures omit minor parties and candidates, who received a very small total of votes.

Zambezia sends 41 deputies to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. On these results, by AIM’s calculations, they will be 27 from Frelimo, 12 from Renamo and two from the MDM.



Renamo reject results

On 19 October Renamo rejected the results of the general and provincial elections and demanded that new elections be held.

At a Maputo press conference, the Renamo general secretary, Andre Majibire, said there had been open fraud during the elections, often spotted by Renamo monitors at the polling stations. He cited cases where polling stations chairpersons had been caught in the act of handing “four or more” extra ballot papers to certain voters, and others in which voters themselves had been found in possession of extra ballot papers marked in advance in favour of Frelimo and President Nyusi.

Majibire also cited cases in which party monitors who tried to protest at irregularities were thrown out of the polling stations or even arrested. In cases reported to the authorities, “it’s the whistleblowers who are arrested and not those who committed the crimes”, he said.

"We saw total violence characterised by the blocking and expulsion of Renamo party monitors and party nominated polling station staff by polling station heads with the help of the police, and the arrest of delegates and voters when they tried to protest against ballot box stuffing," he declared. Those expulsions and arrests at the polling stations, he continued, made it impossible to collect the evidence needed when presenting complaints to the district courts.

The election scandal, Majibire accused, showed that Frelimo “does not want peace”. He said that violence at the elections was a breach of the agreement of 6 August between the government and Renamo which states that the two sides "will not practice acts of violence and intimidation for political objectives". He said the next steps will be decided at a meeting of the Renamo Political Commission scheduled for 21 October.



MDM also rejects results

The second-largest opposition party, the Mozambican Democratic Movement (MDM), on 18 October rejected as the election results as fraudulent. At a Maputo press conference, MDM general secretary Jose Domingos claimed that the elections were marked by serious fraud, including ballot-box stuffing organised by polling station chairpersons, along with members of the defence and security forces and certain national “observers”.

“The work of the opposition was obstructed, and the exercise of democracy was denied”, accused Domingos. “These elections were not fair, free or transparent. They were the most violent elections the country has ever organised”. He attacked those foreign election observers who described the elections as “orderly and peaceful”, and who called on the political parties to use the legally established channels in the event of election disputes. He claimed these observers “are acting as spokespersons for the devil, in exchange for I know not what”.

The results announced so far “do not reflect the will of Mozambicans”, he added. “In no civilised country would this sort of election be accepted”.



EU allocate €10 million for humanitarian aid

The European Commission on 10 October announced that it is to disburse a further €10 million (about US$11 million) for humanitarian assistance in Mozambique for the victims of the two tropical cyclones that hit the country earlier this year.

According to Christos Stylianides, the Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, “tropical cyclones Idai and Kenneth left a trail of destruction that is still being felt by the most vulnerable in Mozambique. The European Union is reinforcing humanitarian support to deliver emergency food aid and health care. We will also step up support for communities to be better prepared for future natural disasters”. He added, “we are committed to supporting Mozambique for as long as it takes”.

The new aid package will increase resources for emergency food and nutritional support, health care, and disaster preparedness.

The European Union allocated €11 million in 2019 for disaster relief in the immediate aftermath of the tropical cyclones and for preparedness measures. In addition, the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism was activated with Member States sending 60,000 relief items, search and rescue teams, communications support, medical services and water treatment, and a coordination support team of EU experts. The European Union financed three-quarters of the transport costs of these teams and equipment, amounting to more than €4 million.

According to the European Commission, the EU will also provide funds for reconstruction as a result of promises made at the International Donors Conference in Beira in May. The EU pledged €200 million in recovery support for Mozambique after cyclones Idai and Kenneth, and to help the country strengthen its resilience and preparedness for natural disasters. Of this, €100 million will come from the European Development Fund, with the rest coming from loans through the European Investment Bank.



Senior judge expelled from judiciary

Alexandre Njovo, the former presiding judge of the Maxixe City Court, in the southern province of Inhambane, has been expelled from the judiciary for theft, reports “O Pais” on 18 October.

Njovo was presiding judge in Maxixe for almost two years, from early 2017 to late 2018. An audit of the court’s accounts for that period showed that Njovo and a court registrar, Francisco Cumbane, stole more than 2.7 million meticais (about US$43,500).

According to a dispatch from the Higher Council of the Judicial Magistrature (CSMJ), the regulatory body for judges, cited by “O Pais”, thefts from the court’s accounts began almost as soon as Njovo took office. Njovo signed cheques drawn on the court’s accounts in favour of Cumbane, and To try and hide the thefts, Njovo and Cumbane tore up the stubs of the court’s cheque books. Njovo also asked his brother, the manager of a building company, to provide fake receipts that would justify the disappearance of the money.

Disciplinary proceedings against Njovo began on 10 April this year, and on 9 October the CSMJ decided to expel him from the ranks of the judiciary. It also sent the relevant documents to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to initiate criminal proceedings against Njovo and Cumbane.



Military officer sentenced for illegal logging

The Sofala Provincial Court, sitting in the central city of Beira, has sentenced a senior military officer to 12 years imprisonment for illegal logging, attempted bribery, and possession of illegal weapons, according to a report in the newssheet “Carta de Mocambique” on 9 October.

The officer is Lt-Col Artur Vasco Jambo, whose workers were caught on 21 November 2018 in Gorongosa district in possession of 20 logs of the protected tree species mondzo (leadwood: with the scientific name combretum imberbe).



Inflation almost negligible

Prices remained virtually stationary in the main Mozambican cities in September, according to the latest figures on inflation from the National Statistics Institute (INE). Based on the consumer price indices for the three largest cities (Maputo, Nampula and Beira), the INE puts the inflation rate for September at just 0.1 per cent.

The main price rises in September were for groundnuts (7.3 per cent), dried fish (2.6 per cent), wine (3.4 per cent), butter beans (2.1 per cent), and printed fabrics (1.1 per cent).

The prices of various other goods declined over the month. The main price reductions were for tomatoes (6.8 per cent), onions (3.4 per cent), coconuts (4.1 per cent), lettuce (3.8 per cent) and diesel (1.1 per cent).

Inflation from January to September was only 1.28 per cent. Prices rose slightly between January and April, and then fell for the three month period from May to July. As from August, the trend has been one of a slight overall price increase. On current trends, by the end of the year the inflation rate for all of 2019 could be less than two per cent.

Inflation for the entire previous year (1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019) was 2.01 per cent. This is a startling victory for the anti-inflationary policies of the Bank of Mozambique. In March 2017, annual inflation had been running at over 21.5 per cent.

The September inflation rate varied between the three cities. The monthly inflation rate was highest in Nampula at 0.3 per cent, following by Maputo on 0.11 per cent. In Beira, prices fell and so inflation was minus 0.25 per cent.



LAM to resume flights to Lisbon

Mozambique Airlines (LAM) announced on 7 October that it will resume direct flights between Maputo and Lisbon as from 31 March 2020 with three flights a week.

Speaking at a Maputo press conference, the head of LAM’s marketing department, Adil Ginabay, said that LAM has entered into an agreement with the Portuguese company Hi Fly for a wet lease on an Airbus A340.



Cabo Delgado offensive continues

The Mozambican defence and security forces have announced that on 16 October they launched a further operation against groups of Islamist insurgents in the northern province of Cabo Delgado including artillery strikes “against camps of the insurgents who had taken refuge in the southern part of the Miangalewa administrative post in Mocimboa da Praia district”.

The statement added that this operation followed the earlier attack by the security forces against the terrorist groups on the night of 7 October, at Mbau, between the Messalo and Muera rivers, also in Mocimboa da Praia.

After this attack, the insurgents, the release claims, fled in various directions. Some have been “neutralised” in Chitolo, in Mocimboa da Praia, and others in the region of Nova Zambezia, in the neighbouring district of Macomia.



Mozambique Rovuma Venture takes initial investment decision

Mozambique Rovuma Venture (MRV), a consortium owned by the Italian energy company ENI, the US oil and gas giant ExxonMobil, and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), on 8 October announced its initial investment decision that includes the construction of two liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants, with the capacity to produce 15.2 million tonnes of LNG per year.

The gas comes from Rovuma Basin Offshore Area Four, in which ENI is the operator. MRV is separate from ENI’s Coral South floating LNG project, which will float above the Coral South gas field in Area Four and is expected to come into production in 2022.

Total MRV investment is expected to be in the order of US$23 billion. The onshore LNG plants (known as “trains”) will be built in the Afungi peninsula, in Palma district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

President Filipe Nyusi attended the ceremony, at which engineering and procurement contracts were also awarded. President Nyusi said this initial commitment is an important landmark on the path towards a final investment decision which is expected to be announced in the first half of 2020.

“This means that the LNG project in Area Four of the Rovuma Basin meets the conditions for advancing to the following phases of construction, development, production and marketing”, said the President. During the construction phase, he added, the project will employ about 5,000 Mozambicans, and he expected the increase in the country’s gross domestic product “to speed up our capacity to respond to the problems that affect Mozambicans”.



Total buys Anadarkos’ assets

The French oil and gas company Total on 30 September announced the conclusion of its acquisition of a 26.5 per cent holding in Offshore Area One of the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado.

The announcement came three days after President Filipe Nyusi had met the Total Chairperson, Patrick Pouyanne, in the central city of Chimoio.

The holding in Rovuma Basin Area One had been held by the Texas-based company Anadarko, which has now been taken over by a second US firm, Occidental Petroleum. Occidental immediately sold all of Anadarko’s African assets, of which Rovuma Basin Area One is the most significant, to Total.

Total purchased those African assets for US$8.8 billion. A release issued by Total in Paris puts the value of the holding in Area One at $3.9 billion.

The natural gas from Area One is to be processed at liquefaction plants on the Afungi Peninsula in the Cabo Delgado district of Palma.

Total puts the total amount of known natural gas reserves in Area One at 60 trillion cubic feet (lower than other estimates of 76 trillion cubic feet). Of this sum, amount 18 trillion feet will be processed at the first two liquefaction plants to be built on the Afungi Peninsula, which will have the capacity to produce 12.9 million tonnes of LNG a year. The first production is expected in 2024.

The Mozambique LNG project has “minimal risk”, says the release, “because 90 per cent of the production has already been sold through long term contracts with the main buyers of LNG in Asia and in Europe.

The other partners in the Mozambique LNG consortium are the Japanese company Mitsui (20 per cent), PTTEP of Thailand (8.5 per cent), the three Indian companies ONGC Videsh, Bias Rovuma Energy, and BRPL Ventures (each with ten per cent), and Mozambique’s own National Hydrocarbon Company (ENH – 15 per cent).



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