Mozambique News Agency

AIM Reports

 

No. 615, 8th August2022

 


 

Contents

  • President Nyusi hails positive results from peace with Renamo
  • Cabo Delgado health units reopening
  • Former Labour Minister sentenced to 16 years
  • Three judges charged with corruption
  • Natural gas exports to start in October
  • ILO has US$18 million to promote employability
  • Angolan drug trafficker arrested
  • First Lady calls for robust promotion of breastfeeding
  • Government considering buying Russian fuel
  • CNE lacks funds to prepare municipal elections
  • President Nyusi inaugurates Tete slaughterhouse
  • President Nyusi defends right of access to land
  • Rhino poaching kingpin arrested
  • Voter registration starts on 20 February
  • EDM announces electrification of Machoca in Cabo Delgado
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    President Nyusi hails positive results from peace with Renamo

    President Filipe Nyusi declared on 6 August that the positive results of the peace agreement which he signed three years ago with Ossufo Momade, leader of the main opposition party, Renamo, “are evident, since its terms are being observed, which brings added hope to the country”.

    Of particular importance, said President Nyusi, was the programme for the Demobilisation, Disarmament, and Reintegration (DDR) of members of the Renamo militia, which was now “in its concluding phase”.

    President Nyusi congratulated Momade for honouring the agreement. Implementing the promises contained in the 2019 agreement “is making Mozambique a country of peace and harmony”, he said.

    Mirko Manzoni, the personal envoy to Mozambique of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, also issued a statement marking the anniversary and praising the results of the peace agreement. Giving details on the DDR, he said that to date 3,558 former Renamo guerrillas (3,402 men and 156 women) have been demobilised. This is 68 per cent of the total number of “residual forces” claimed by Renamo. In addition, 12 of the 16 known Renamo bases have been closed.

    Manzoni said he expected the Renamo demobilisation and disarmament to be concluded by the end of this year and that 2023 would be a year for “reintegration and reconciliation”.

    “Progress in these areas”, said the UN envoy, “will be fundamental for the consolidation of peace and will require the collective efforts of all stakeholders. We all benefit from peace, and so we all have a role to play”.

    Manzoni pointed out that, in recent years, “Mozambique has been to the forefront in promoting African solutions for African problems. This approach has guided us in implementing the 2019 agreement, and, more recently, in the country’s response to the questions of security in northern Mozambique” (he was referring to the terrorist raids in parts of Cabo Delgado province).

    It was because of these successes, Manzoni stated, that last month Mozambique was elected a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, with the unanimous support of all UN member states with the right to vote.

    Since the 2019 agreement, the Renamo mainstream, which owes allegiance to Momade, has made no attempt to go back to war. However, a dissident faction, calling itself the “Renamo Military Junta”, led by Mariano Nhongo, denounced Momade as “a traitor” and attempted to re-ignite the war. The Junta staged a series of ambushes in 2020 on the main roads in Manica and Sofala provinces. But on 11 October 2021, Nhongo died in a clash with the Mozambican police, and the Junta proved unable to outlive its leader. Since then, the central provinces have been calm, and the main focus of instability remains the jihadist attacks in Cabo Delgado.

    Cabo Delgado health units reopening

    The Mozambican health authorities are reopening most of the 34 health units wrecked by islamist terrorists in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, according to the director of the provincial health services, Anastacia Lidimba, cited in the Maputo daily “Noticias”.

    The health units attacked by the terrorists are in the districts of Palma, Mocimboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Macomia and Quissanga. In these places, Lidimba said, patients are now being cared for in tents. In the more remote areas where the jihadists struck, she added, “care is guaranteed by mobile units of health staff, who go from village to village”.

    The terrorist raids led to over 500 health staff fleeing to safer areas. But with the recent improvement in security, Lidimba said, these health workers are returning to their posts. “Most of them have come back”, she stated. However, she added that “for various reasons, some are not yet back at work. We are dependent on the Cabo Delgado Reconstruction Plan becoming operational for the total rehabilitation of the destroyed health units. That does not depend solely on the health sector”.

    Lidimba said that the provincial health authorities are allocating medicines to the re-opened health centres, to cater for the needs of the displaced people who are now returning.

    The Cabo Delgado Reconstruction Plan, approved in September 2021, is budgeted at US$300 million. About US$200 million are earmarked for short-term actions, to be implemented within a year. These include the restoration of the public administration, restoring electricity, telecommunications, water supply and sanitation, and rebuilding health units, schools, and access roads. Other priority actions include employment initiatives, particularly for young people.

    Former Labour Minister sentenced to 16 years

    The Maputo City Court on 28 July sentenced former Labour Minister, Helena Taipo, to 16 years imprisonment for embezzlement and illicit participation in business. Three of her accomplices received the same sentence: Anastacia Zitha, former head of the Directorate of Migrant Labour (DTM) in the Labour Ministry, Jose Monjane, head of the finance department in the DTM, and Pedro Taimo, head of the Miner’s Office in the DTM. Five others were sentenced to 12 years for embezzlement, while two were acquitted.

    The prosecution alleged, and judge Evandra Uamusse agreed, that Taipo and her accomplices had stolen 113 million meticais (US$1.8 million) from the DTM.

    The prosecution case was that the Labour Ministry and DTM officials involved, and the managers of the private companies with whom the DTM signed fraudulent contracts, formed a group to appropriate public funds, as well as to harm the former miners and their dependents, by seizing their funds.

    The prosecution argued successfully that the accused had failed to comply with the procedures for withdrawing money from the DTM accounts, had transferred money to personal accounts, and had issued fraudulent invoices and receipts. To justify the withdrawals of money, they produced documentation for purchases and events that had never happened.

    The prosecution also stated it was proven, during the two months long trial, that the authorisations of payments made by Helena Taipo opened space for the embezzlement of funds in the DTM, through a scheme in which all the defendants implicated took part.

    Taipo’s lawyer claimed that the former minister, “acted within her powers, authorising payments to enable the projects previously programmed in the 2013 Economic and Social Plan”. The defence also said that the construction of a house in favour of Taipo and her daughter, in the Muhaivire neighbourhood, in Nampula province, costing five million meticais paid by the DTM, was not proven in court. This was the only significant point where the judge agreed with the defence. Uamusse accepted that the location of this house and its ownership had not been proven. But it was only one of many accusations against Taipo, most of which the judge accepted as true.

    The lawyers for Anastacia Zitha, Jose Monjane, and Pedro Taimo claimed that their clients acted within their powers and duties. They did, however, admit that they made some “administrative mistakes”, without intending to harm the State and much less the miners to whom they provided services.

    This did not impress Uamusse who imposed the maximum penalty for embezzlement on the top four defendants. She said she had done so because she could detect no sign of repentance. Instead, what the court had heard were claims such as “I did nothing” or “What I did was for the good of the institution”.

    Uamusse believed long sentences were appropriate, “because we must prevent any repetition of such acts”. She believed the defendants had acted out of simple greed – to obtain money with no more effort than that needed to sign a cheque.

    As part of the sentence, Taipo and her accomplices must repay the stolen 113 million meticais.

    Taipo was Minister of Labour throughout the ten years that President Armando Guebuza was in office. Under the current President, Filipe Nyusi, she was governor of the central province of Sofala, and then demoted to ambassador to Angola. She was sacked from her ambassadorial position when it became known that she was under investigation for corruption.

    The defence now has 20 days to appeal against the court’s verdict and sentence.

    Three judges charged with corruption

    Seven months after he was thrown out of Mozambique’s judicial magistracy, former judge Acacio Mitilage has been charged with corruption.

    Mitilage used to work in the Matutuine district court, in the far south of the country, and the Public Prosecutor’s Office has now sent his case to the Maputo Provincial Court.

    Speaking at a Maputo press conference on 2 August, the spokesperson for the Central Office for the Fight Against Corruption (GCCC), Romualdo Johane, said that Mitilage is one of three judges facing charges of corruption. Mitilage is accused of embezzlement: the Higher Council of the Judicial Magistracy (CSMJ) expelled him from the judiciary in December after he was accused of stealing over 3.7 million meticais (about US$57,800) from the Matutuine court. Despite his expulsion, Mitilage is still practising law, as a member of the Mozambican Bar Association (OAM).

    The other two judges, who were not named, worked in the Gaza and Niassa provincial courts. The Gaza judge is also accused of embezzlement, while the GCCC says the Niassa judge demanded bribes to give favourable rulings.

    Johane was summarising the GCCC’s activities in the first six months of this year. He said it had processed 1,373 cases, 518 of which led to charges. 59 of these cases concerned corrupt behaviour by members of the police force – which makes the police the state institution facing the largest number of accusations of corruption.

    In addition, the GCCC handled 11 cases of corruption involving agents of the National Criminal Investigation Service (Sernic), and four officials of the immigration service (Senami).

    Asked about possible criminal mishandling of funds earmarked for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, Johane said the case is still under investigation. The GCCC investigation began in June, arising from findings by the Ministry of Economy and Finance of significant abuses in the use of over two billion meticais of Covid-19 funding. A Ministry report in May pointed to the failure to observe correct contracting procedures, undue payments, expenditure not eligible for financing, and contracts not submitted to prior authorisation by the Administrative Tribunal.

    Natural gas exports to start in October

    President Filipe Nyusi has announced that the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG), extracted from the Coral South field, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, will start in October.

    Speaking on 4 August in Maputo during the Business Meeting of the African Agenda of the Community of Chairpersons of Boards of Directors and Chief Executive Officers, President Nyusi pointed out that Mozambique will be the first in East Africa to export LNG. He pointed out that “according to estimates, the initial production could contribute an additional 1.1 percentage points to economic growth in 2023”.

    LNG will be produced on a floating platform belonging to a consortium led by the Italian energy company ENI. The platform, built in a Korean shipyard, arrived in Mozambican waters in January and is now anchored in Area Four of the Rovuma Basin, some 40 kilometres from the mainland. This is the first deep-water platform in the world to operate at a water depth of about two thousand meters.

    The Coral South project is expected to produce 3.4 million tons of LNG per year over its estimated 25-year lifespan.

    A second project is planned for Area One of the Rovuma Basin, where the operator is the French company TotalEnergies. The LNG plants for this project are onshore, in the Afungi Peninsula. But work has stopped, due to the threat posed by islamist terrorists.

    The jihadists seized Palma town in March 2021, and TotalEnergies withdrew all of its staff from the district. Subsequently, the Mozambican defence and security forces and their Rwandan allies drove the terrorists out of both Palma and the neighbouring district of Mocimboa da Praia – however, the Afungi project has not yet resumed.

    Cited by the television station, STV, President Nyusi said he could not understand why such projects in Cabo Delgado had not restarted. He admitted that terrorism had not finished, “but life cannot stop”. Displaced people were returning to Palma, the President added, “and the companies have to think about this”. He said he had recently spoken to his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, about how the anti-terrorist work was going.

    President Nyusi pointed out that security in Palma today is better than it had been on the eve of the March 2021 attack. Terrorism would not just come to a full stop, he warned. Terrorist acts continued in Europe and the United States – but life did not grind to a halt.

    Nonetheless, President Nyusi was confident that TotalEnergies will eventually resume its work. In the talks he had held with the Total CEO, Patrick Pouyanne, “he never raised the possibility that they would not come back”, sad President Nyusi.

    “The country is moving towards energy development”, declared the President. “Investments for the production of electricity, cooking gas, and for the petrochemical and fertiliser industry, will diversify and transform our economy, generate jobs and bring benefits for food security”.

    ILO has US$18 million to promote employability

    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has announced the availability of US$18 million to support the elaboration and implementation of actions, policies and measures to promote work and employability in Mozambique.

    The initiative, to be implemented through the Project “Moz Trabalha”, is currently in its second phase and will last five years with funding from the Swedish International Development Agency.

    The announcement was made on 4 August by the ILO representative in Mozambique, Paulo Selemane, during a meeting of the Coordinating Council of the Ministry of Labour, a three-day event taking place in Chidenguele, Gaza province, under the theme “Labour Administration for the Continuous Improvement of Services”.

    According to Selemane, the renewal of the initiative is a clear demonstration of the trust that the ILO has in the country for the design and implementation of employment policies for Mozambicans.

    The interventions of the "Moz Trabalha" project are aimed at creating productive jobs and decent work for Mozambicans, particularly youth and those living in poverty. Selemane stressed that “the interventions will always be anchored in the national priorities set by the government and will focus on outcomes that are sustainable”.

    He added that cross-cutting issues will also have primacy in the Project's intervention with emphasis on social dialogue, job creation, dissemination of international labour standards, and promotion of gender equality.

    Selemane also acknowledged the government's efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labour in the country. “The ILO commitment is to continue supporting the National Plan to Combat Child Labour and the list of jobs considered dangerous for children, as well as the evaluation and construction of a new generation of legal and strategic instruments to improve the situation of children in Mozambique”, he said.

    Angolan drug trafficker arrested

    Mozambican authorities have arrested a 37 year old Angolan man at Maputo International Airport on charges of drug trafficking, according to the Criminal Investigation Service (Sernic), cited by the daily newspaper “O Pais”.

    Sernic said the individual, who was not named, had travelled from Brazil via Qatar and was arrested on 4 August when he disembarked from a flight of Qatar Airways. He was taken to Maputo Central Hospital, where 38 capsules of cocaine were found in his stomach.

    Presented to reporters, the Angolan refused to make any comment about the accusations against him.

    He is the fourth drug trafficker arrested at Maputo airport so far this year with police spokesperson Leonel Muchina declaring that “we are making joint efforts to dismantle any attempt at international drug trafficking”.

    First Lady calls for robust promotion of breastfeeding

    Mozambique’s First Lady, Isaura Nyusi, has called for combined efforts to promote breastfeeding, in order to strengthen healthy nutrition and child survival.

    Speaking on 4 August in the southern province of Inhambane at the launch of World Breastfeeding Week, Isaura Nyusi pointed out that “there is no more adequate and perfect food for a baby than breast milk. It supplies all the nutritional needs of a child in the first months of life and has immunological properties that protect babies from gastrointestinal, respiratory, and allergic infections”.

    Breastfeeding, she said, also stimulates proper intellectual, and psycho-social development and visual ability. “It is cheap, and it is available at all times and the ideal temperature”, she stressed.

    In this context, she argued that the superiority of breast milk is indisputable, “not to mention that the act of breastfeeding promotes an unsurpassable bond between mother and child”.

    According to the first lady, only about half of the children are exclusively breastfed in Mozambique. “We want a country free of chronic malnutrition which, despite having registered a slight decrease in recent years from 43 per cent to 38 per cent, is still very high, even though we know that a large part of the solution lies in ourselves”, she said.

    Isaura Nyusi pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic, the cyclical emergencies that the country has faced in recent years, and the terrorist conflict in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, “create conditions for increased food insecurity, and limit the ability of health professionals to provide all the necessary support for breastfeeding.”

    “Even in times of emergency and armed conflict, we must do everything in our power to ensure the well-being of children”, said Isaura Nyusi, calling on health professionals, educators, employers, religious community leaders, and the community, in general, to continue with disease promotion and prevention activities to ensure that children grow up healthy.

    Government considering buying Russian fuel

    Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Carlos Zacarias, on 4 August revealed that Mozambique might buy fuel from Russia. A proposal to this effect was made by the Russian ambassador, Alexander Surikov – but he stipulated that any purchase would have to be in the Russian currency, roubles.

    Speaking to reporters during a meeting of his Ministry’s Coordinating Council in Chidinguele, in the southern province of Gaza, Zacarias said “I am sure that we shall study the viability of this offer”.

    It came, he added, at a moment of great volatility in international oil prices caused in part by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

    The idea of obtaining fuel from Russia originally came from the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), which met with Surikov. After that meeting, CTA Executive Director, Eduardo Sengo, said that businesses looked favourably on directly importing fuel from Russia – but this would only be viable if approved by the government and the Bank of Mozambique.

    However, the Bank of Mozambique does not hold large quantities of roubles. To pay for the fuel in roubles would mean selling other currencies to the Russian central bank in order to obtain roubles. The Bank of Mozambique would have to consider whether it was worth spending some of its reserves in dollars or euros to acquire roubles – particularly as there might be a political price to pay, given that Russia is under sanctions from most western powers.

    Nonetheless, Sengo argued that Russian fuel would be cheaper than fuel from other sources, and this could help alleviate the Mozambican cost of living increases.

    CNE lacks funds to prepare municipal elections

    Mozambique’s National Elections Commission (CNE) still lacks enough money to prepare for the municipal elections scheduled for October 2023. CNE spokesperson Paulo Cuinica told reporters in Maputo on 5 August that the CNE faces a deficit of 2.2 billion meticais (about US$34.4 million) in funding required to prepare the municipal elections.

    He said that 3.2 billion meticais are needed for work that includes installing the CNE’s support bodies in all the provinces and acquiring all the materials needed for voter registration – that includes a pilot voter registration exercise this year, and the full voter registration in all 53 municipalities between 20 February and 5 April next year.

    Cuinica lamented that we are still lacking two-thirds of the sum needed for the preparatory activities”, and added that negotiations are underway with the government and with cooperation partners to cover the deficit

    Matters are even worse if the presidential, parliamentary, and provincial elections scheduled for 2024 are also taken into account. Together the municipal and general elections will cost 18.7 billion meticais (US$292 million).

    Cuinica said that costs have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Health protocols must be observed during the initial preparations, the voter registration, and the voting itself. The CNE has been working with the Ministry of Health to reduce the risk of spreading the virus among the voters and everybody else involved in the proceedings.

    The health protocols have also delayed the transport of election materials. Before Covid-19, said Cuinica, a container would take four weeks to reach Mozambique from China. Now it takes up to 16 weeks because of the need to follow the health procedures.

    The pandemic “has complicated still further the acquisition of equipment and material for the elections”, Cuinica added, since more than 90 per cent of the material is ordered from abroad.

    President Nyusi inaugurates Tete slaughterhouse

    President Filipe Nyusi on 29 August inaugurated in the western city of Tete the largest, and most modern meat processing unit in the country. Known as the Canefood Processing Unit this slaughterhouse can process 200 head of cattle and 500 goats a day.

    President Nyusi pointed out that the construction of the slaughterhouse is in line with the government’s programme “Industrialise Mozambique”.

    “With this undertaking, we have accepted high-quality standards, and we are integrating the family livestock sector into the national market and potentially the foreign market, to generate income and improve living conditions for rural families, in a province with excellent conditions for livestock activity”, declared the President.

    According to President Nyusi, the technical characteristics of the slaughterhouse meet the highest standards of international certification for slaughter, processing, and conservation and open prospects that Mozambique can become a reference point in the production of quality red meat.

    “This slaughterhouse”, he said, “will contribute to the gradual elimination of the practice of indiscriminately butchering animals in the streets, without appropriate sanitary conditions, which is an attack on public health”.

    President Nyusi praised the fact that this unit will allow the use of animal by-products, such as blood and skins. He noted that Canefood meets high standards of environmental sustainability, notably a system which allows wastewater to be recycled.

    He said that due to its strategic importance in the red meat production value chain the unit has received public financing through preferential credit lines provided by the World Bank, the African Development Bank (ADB), and the Catalytic Fund, through the government’s agricultural development programme, Sustenta.

    “No less important”, added President Nyusi, “was Canefood joining the programme to integrate family agriculture into productive value chains, in the framework of Sustenta, which will allow small family livestock farmers to have access to this slaughterhouse as a preferential market”.

    There are about 2.2 million head of cattle in Mozambique, and 16 per cent of these animals are in Tete. The county also has about 4.9 million small ruminants (such as goats and sheep).

    President Nyusi defends right of access to land

    President Filipe Nyusi on 28 July declared that the government’s Secure Land Programme is implementing the constitutional right of access to land for citizens, particularly for those who live in rural areas.

    “The country is making history in regards to the effective right to land. The people, especially the disadvantaged communities, now have access to this vital resource,” said the President in the locality of Cateme, Moatize district, in the central province of Tete.

    President Nyusi also delivered Land Use Titles (DUATs) to the population of Cateme, declaring that this expressed the government's commitment to protecting the communities on the land”

    This act, according to the President, represents an important milestone in the implementation of “the programme which we launched in 2015, in Manhica district, Maputo province, whose goal is to register and regularise five million plots occupied, according to customary norms and practices, in good faith, as well as the delimitation of five thousand rural communities, within the framework of the programme.”

    “We know how important secure land tenure is, particularly for the most disadvantaged citizens, especially women”, stressed President Nyusi. He noted that most Mozambicans have land as their most important resource, because it guarantees their survival, and represents their cultural identity, particularly at this time when society is experiencing many transformations.

    “I am talking about the transition to a market economy, generational transition, technological and cultural transition, rapid urbanisation, population growth, and the entry of new investments, including in the area of land”, he explained.

    President Nyusi recalled that land is a universal means for the creation of wealth and social well-being and that, under the country’s constitution, “its use and enjoyment is the right of all Mozambicans”. He explained that formal recognition of access to land can be done in three ways: first, by occupation according to ancestral practices, norms and customs; second, by occupation in good faith, and using it for ten years, and third obtaining land by request and by permission of the State. Thus, according to the President, the Secure Land Programme intends to accelerate the implementation of the first two forms, to ensure that the majority of Mozambicans have access to land without too much inconvenience and as soon as possible.

    The programme, he added, also intends to avoid the existence of Mozambicans without access to land “because they cannot read or write, or because they do not speak Portuguese, or because they are farmers, or because they have no money, or because they are poor, or because they live in rural areas, or because they are women, or because they are orphans, or because they are displaced, among many other reasons.”

    The President stressed that since the programme was launched, more than 1.5 million plots of land have been registered and regularised, and more than 700,000 DUATs have been delivered throughout the country.

    The Five-Year Plan for 2020/2024 envisages the delivery of two million DUATs under this programme, and from 2020 until the first half of this year, according to Nyusi, 315,455 DUATs have been delivered.

    “We are protecting Mozambicans, we are protecting the future of their children”, he stressed, appealing to the beneficiaries to keep their documents in order to ensure the protection of their land rights.

    Rhino poaching kingpin arrested

    The Mozambican authorities on 29 July detained two men in Marracuene district, about 30 kilometres north of Maputo, caught in possession of eight rhinoceros horns.

    One of them is 45-year-old Simon Valoi, better known as “Boss Navarra”, who is believed to head the country’s most dangerous poaching ring, in the province of Gaza.

    According to a report in the newssheet “Carta de Mocambique”, Valoi is also wanted in South Africa on two charges of murder. His whereabouts have never been a mystery – he lives in Massingir district, in the southern Mozambican province of Gaza. His home is in the settlement of Mavodze, inside the Limpopo National Park.

    He achieved a certain level of fame in 2015 when a German journalist from the magazine “Der Spiegel”, Batholomaus Grill, and the Swiss photographer Toby Selander were investigating rhino poaching. The poachers kidnapped the two journalists and threatened to kill them. It was clear to the journalists that Navarra and his gang enjoyed protection from the Massingir police and local prosecution services.

    Navarra and his accomplice, 32-year-old Paulo Zucula, were arrested as a result of joint work undertaken by the National Criminal Investigation Service (Sernic) and various wildlife protection bodies, notably the Wildlife Justice Commission.

    During the operation, the authorities confiscated eight rhino horns which weighed 7.5 kilos. It is thought that their value on the illegal market would be more than 30 million meticais (US$470,000).

    At a Maputo press conference, Sernic spokesperson Hilario Lole described Navarra as “the mentor or leader” of poaching gangs. “This individual provided the guns”, said Lole. “He selected the poachers, and provided the other equipment used in hunting wild animals, in this case, rhinoceros”.

    Lole added that Sernic has been working for a long time to “neutralise” the people who organise rhino poaching. Navarra’s gang, he said, had undertaken its criminal activities in Gaza, and along the border with South Africa.

    Speaking to reporters, the two men denied any involvement in poaching. Navarra said, “I was just taking merchandise to Maputo to a man named Pedro. I was sent by my friend Beneth who lives in South Africa”. He said he went to the hotel where “Pedro” was supposedly staying. “I asked the hotel reception to call him, and at that moment the police arrived”, he claimed.

    “I was only hired as a middleman”, said Navarra. “I haven’t been a poacher since 2016. My commission for delivering the product would have been 20,000 meticais”.

    He said Zucula was a relative who had asked him for a lift to Maputo and knew nothing about the rhino horns.

    Zucula, however, said it was Navarra who asked him to accompany him to Maputo. “He rang to say that I was to go with him to Maputo. He didn’t tell me what he was carrying in his plastic bag”.

    Voter registration starts on 20 February

    Voter registration for Mozambique's sixth municipal elections, scheduled for October next year, will start on 20 February, and last until 5 April.

    Speaking on 2 August at the press briefing after the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, Deputy Justice Minister Filimao Suaze, said that these dates had been proposed by the National Elections Commission (CNE), and accepted by the Council of Ministers.

    Currently, Mozambique has 53 municipalities, but it has been suggested that other towns should be upgraded to municipal status before the 2023 local elections.

    Proposals for new municipalities should be made by the Ministry of State Administration. Asked whether it is reasonable to set up new municipalities at this stage, Suaze declined to answer on the grounds that the matter was not discussed at the meeting.

    Expanding the number of municipalities will also increase the cost of the elections, and the CNE has repeatedly complained that it does not know where the money will come from. The budget for the municipal elections is 9.1 billion meticais (US$ 142 million), of which the CNE so far has only received one billion meticais.

    The government and the CNE want to hold the elections in all municipalities – but there are serious doubts as to whether voting will be possible in Mocimboa da Praia, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

    Mocimboa da Praia was occupied by islamist terrorists for about a year. Mozambican and Rwandan forces expelled the jihadists from the municipality in August 2021, but many of the residents have not yet returned to the town. Some of them fled to other municipalities, such as the provincial capital, Pemba, and the towns of Montepuez, Mueda and Chiure. The question facing the CNE is whether these people should be allowed to vote for the Mocimboa da Praia municipal assembly, even though they do not currently live there, or whether the Mocimboa da Praia election should be postponed.

    The voter registration is from scratch. One of the peculiarities of the Mozambican system is that every five years, the entire electorate is registered – first for the municipal election, and then for the general elections the following year. New voter cards are issued, and the old ones become useless. Thus, someone who voted in the first multi-party elections in 1994, will by now have registered as a voter six times, and must now register for a seventh.

    EDM announces electrification of Machoca in Cabo Delgado

    Mozambique’s publicly owned electricity company, EDM, on 2 August announced the electrification of the Machoca administrative post, in Namuno district, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

    This was the fortieth administrative post in Cabo Delgado to be electrified, out of the 56 in the province.

    All district capitals in the country were electrified by the end of the first term of office of President Filipe Nyusi in 2019. Now EDM is concentrating on the next rung down the latter of the public administration, the administrative post, and plans to have all administrative posts electrified by 2024. This is the target set in the government’s five-year programme for the period 2020-2024.

    The electrification of Machoca consisted of building 25 kilometres of 33 kV medium voltage power lines from the village of Chopa, also in Namuno, and 35 kilometres of low voltage lines. In addition, 14 distribution transformers of 100 kVA and 150 lampposts for public lighting were installed.

    This project is expected to link 1,500 new consumers to the electricity grid. The project was paid for entirely by the Mozambican government with 141 million meticais (US$2.2 million) from the state budget.

     


     

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