at Dec 19, 2014 1:03:49 PM
MOZAMBIQUE EXPORTS US$1BILLION IN GOODS T CHINA IN 2013/2014
The Chinese ambassador to Mozambique said in Maputo that in the last two years Mozambican exports to China reached US$1 billion making China Mozambique’s third largest trading partner right behind South Africa and the European Union.
Li Chunhua also said that the volume of trade between Mozambique and China had seen growth in recent years, rising from US$1.64 billion in 2013 to US$2.942 billion in the first 10 months of this year.
The diplomat, who was speaking at the opening of a photo exhibition on bilateral relations since 1975, also noted that areas of cooperation had been extended to sectors such as public health, culture, education and the social economy for agriculture, infrastructure, energy, transport and communications, production of building materials, vehicle assembly and tourist facilities.
The ambassador, cited by the Mozambique News Agency (AIM), also noted that cooperation between Mozambique and China led to the implementation of 26 construction projects, training of over 1,000 Mozambicans and granting of loans for 17 infrastructure projects.
There are currently 60 Chinese companies operating in Mozambique. (macauhub/CN/MZ) (top)
GOVERNOR OF THE BANK OF MOZAMBIIQUE ESTIMATES GDP OF 7.5 PCT IN 2014
The Governor of the Bank of Mozambique (BM), Ernesto Gove, said Wednesday in Maputo he estimated Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is expected to be around 7.5 percent in 2014, increasing his forecast from the beginning of year.
Gove said economic performance was again supported by the contribution of agriculture and the extractive industries.
“We are pleased to note that the dynamism of economic activity comes from sectors that traditionally have a higher multiplying effect on employment and on the activity of small and medium enterprises, which should be continuously pursued for the purpose of more equitable redistribution of wealth,” he said as he took stock of the 2014 financial year.
With regard to challenges facing Mozambique the governor of the Bank of Mozambique, cited by Mozambican newspaper Notícias said maintaining peace and consolidation of the normal functioning of the country were essential conditions for strengthening macroeconomic stability and the financial sector, as well as for achieving the targets that will be set by the Government in the Economic and Social Plan for 2015.(macauhub/MZ) (top)
IFAD FINANCES AGRICULTURE AND ASTISANAL FISHERIES IN MOZAMBIQUE
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has granted over US$46 million to Mozambique this year for fisheries and agriculture, Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported.
The money is part of funding of US$213 million to be paid by IFAD by 2020.
The government of Mozambique and staff from IFAD met in Maputo to analyse the use of funds in seven projects that are currently underway.
Agricultural projects are being carried out in northern Mozambique, in Zambezia and Limpopo while those linked to promotion of artisanal fisheries are located in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Maputo, Sofala and Manica. (macauhub/MZ) (top)
MONTEPIO OF PORTUGAL CONFIRMS PURCHASE OF 44.5 PCT OF BANK IN MOZAMBIQUE
Montepio of Portugal confirmed Wednesday in Lisbon it had acquired 44.537 percent of Banco Terra, a Mozambican financial institution, in a statement sent to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM).
Besides Montepio, Rabo Development Bank of the Netherlands holds an equal share of 44.537 percent, the remaining capital being split between the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (8.409 percent) and GAPI (2.517 percent), the Portuguese bank said.
Banco Terra was founded in 2008 with the goal of being one of the leading institutions for funding in the areas of food and agriculture and to provide financial services to rural and suburban populations, with a network of branches in the provinces of Maputo, Inhambane, Manica, Sofala, Tete and Nampula. (macauhub/MZ) (top)
THERMAL POWER STATION IN SOUTHERN MOZAMBIQUE HAS GUARANTEED GAS SUPPLY FOR TWO YEARS
Mozambican state oil and gas company ENH will provide 2 million gigajoules of natural gas per year to state power company EdM to supply the Ressano Garcia power plant, under a contract signed Monday in Maputo.
The Ressano Garcia power plant, the largest in the country, powered by natural gas, puts 175 megawatts (MW) into the Mozambican electricity grid that mainly benefits the south of the country and, in particular, the city and province of Maputo.
The agreement, valid for two years (2015/17) was signed by the Chairman of EdM, Gildo Abilio Sibumbe and his ENH counterpart, Nelson Ocuane.
The Ressano Garcia power plant, costing around US$250 million dollars, is a public-private venture, with the participation of EdM, which owns 51 percent and Sasol New Energy of South Africa, with the remaining 49 percent. (macauhub/MZ) (top)
SPANISH GROUP COOPERATES WITH TECHNOLOGICAL MOZAMBIQUE PROGRAMME
Spanish group Indra will work on the promotion of the “Technological Mozambique” programme and provide work placements for staff training, under an agreement signed with the Mozambican Ministry of Science and Technology.
The agreement will promote participation of new graduates of technological courses in Mozambique in professional internships at Indra, with special interest in development programmes and research projects and innovation, the group said in a statement issued on its website.
Via the “Technological Mozambique” programme the Ministry of Science and Technology intends to improve the technical and technological skills and competences of young Mozambicans, in order to facilitate their incorporation into the labour market.
The Spanish group is currently working in Mozambique in the implementation of an electronic platform to manage electricity distribution and supply for state-owned power company EdM.
Indra is one of the most important world consulting and technology groups and is the market leader in Europe and Latin America. It is currently expanding to many emerging economies, has annual sales of 3 billion euros, 43,000 employees and is present in 138 countries. (macauhub/MZ) (top)
ZAMBEZIA, MOZAMBIQUE, SEEKS FNDING TO REPLANT COCONUT GROVES
Zambezia province, central Mozambique, needs more than US$12 million to replace, over a period of four years, the coconut palm groves devastated by lethal yellowing disease, said the provincial director for Agriculture.
Cited by Mozambican newspaper Notícias, Ilídio Bande said that the funding would be applied to research, production and distribution of three varieties of coconut seedlings tolerant to lethal yellowing disease.
Currently, Bande said, US$1.5 million per year is spent by the Zambezia provincial government to produce and distribute coconut seedlings to drive recovery of the coconut palm sub-sector.
The challenge for the provincial government is raising additional financial resources to produce more than 50,000 seedlings annually and cut down 100,000 coconut palms, he said adding that around 4 million coconut palms are infected across Zambezia.
Figures show that by 2012 Zambezia province had 12 million coconut palms compared to around 6 million now and that the income of coconut producers ranged between US$7 million and US$12 million in total.
The Zambezia palm groves, according to the provincial director for Agriculture, employed over 110,000 people, providing wood for production of home furniture and funerary urns, leaves for roofing and raw material for production of alcoholic beverages. (macauhub/MZ) (top)
CONSTRUCTION OF THE MAPUTO / CATEMBE BRIDGE IN MOZAMBIQUE BEGINS IN 2015
Construction of the Maputo/Catembe bridge is expected to begin in the first few months of next year, said the company managing the project, ”the largest single suspended span on the African continent,” which is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.
About to enter the final phase of preparations for the work, Empresa de Desenvolvimento de Maputo Sul (EDMS) Friday presented the suspension bridge development plan, which will link the north and south shores of the Mozambican capital’s Bay channel.
The bridge itself will be 680 metres long, have two towers 137 metres high and two anchor blocks for suspending cables and make the project “simple” to carry out said Vicente Miranda, an EDMS engineer, noting that the two pillars of the bridge were designed for the ends of the channel, so that they do not interfere with maritime navigation in the area.
At the north end, he said, one of the towers will be installed in the port of Maputo, while the second tower will be built over the Maputo bay waters – just a few dozen metres from the shore of Catembe – which required construction of floating platform.
Before construction of the two structures, “about 40 storeys” high, 24 piles must be installed to a depth of 100 metres, and 2.2 meters in diameter on each of the banks on the which the towers will be erected, said Miranda, giving assurances that the original budget of US$725 million remained within initial limits.
Both the bridge and the Maputo Ring Road (ECM) are being implemented by the China Road and Bridge Corporation and ECM is already in its final stage of construction and includes seven road sections over a distance of 74 kilometres.
Ismael Sulemane, an EDMS engineer, who also manages this project, said the ring road was 75 percent complete, despite a delay of about six months, so it is only expected to be completed by the end of the first half of next year.
The complex process of relocation of services and families – about 2,300 in total – of which 1,700 are already in their new locations, was the source of the delays, he said, adding that the budget remained unchanged despite the extension of the schedule of work.
Moreover, population relocation is also the challenge of the project of the Maputo/Catembe bridge, according to Vincent Miranda, as it will affect about a thousand households: one hundred in the Catembe district (South) and 900 in the Malanga neighbourhood (North).
Most of these family homes will have to be demolished to allow for construction of the North approach viaducts (1,097 metres) and South viaducts (1,234 meters) and their connection to the Catembe/Ponta do Ouro and Boa Vista/Boane roads (both included in the budgeted cost of the suspension bridge) and to the Maputo Ring Road. (macauhub/CN/MZ/PT) (top)
MOZAMBICAN RUBIES AUCTIONED FOR US$43 MILLION IN SINGAPORE
The latest uncut Mozambican ruby auction carried out by British company Gemfields in Singapore raised US$43.3 million, the company said.
In a statement, the company said the auction of rubies mined by Montepuez Ruby Mining Limited (75-percent owned by Gemfields) in the Montepuez mine in northern Mozambique, sold 62,936 carats of rubies at an average price per carat of US$689.
“The two Montepuez ruby auctions, organised in June and December 2014, generated revenues of US$76.8 million,” the company said.
Montepuez Ruby Mining Limited, which mines rubies in the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, is controlled by Gemfields, whose partner is Mozambican company Mwirit.
At the end of November Gemfields said it had discovered an “exceptional” ruby weighing 40 carats (8 grams) in the rough at the Montepuez mine.
“This gem will set a new benchmark for the quality of African rubies and makes the Montepuez mine the most significant reserve under development in the world,” the statement said.
According to Gemfields, the area of 340 square kilometres of the Montepuez project is the world’s largest ruby concession in private hands and “has proven to be one of the most productive.” (macauhub/MZ) (top)
NACALA AIRPORT, NORTHERN MOZAMBIQUE, MAKES DUTY FREE ZONE POSSIBLE
The start of operations at Nacala International Airport will make it possible to launch the duty free zone in the region that is attracting investments in various sectors of the economy, said President Armando Guebuza, at the airport’s inauguration Saturday.
The President also said the airport will be of even greater importance once work to refurbish and expand the local port is finished, including construction of a coal terminal in Nacala-a-Velha and the reconstruction/construction of the Nacala railway, via Malawi.
In his speech, cited by Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias, Guebuza thanked the government of Brazil for granting a loan of some US$250 million, “thus entering a partnership with the government and the Aeroportos de Moçambique company.”
This new airport, built from scratch on the site of a previous air base, reduces the journey to Nampula by 200 kilometres by road, where the nearest airport was located.
The architectural design of the airport is by Brazilian firm Fernandes Arquitectos, the work was carried out by Brazilian construction company Odebrecht and the funding was also provided by Brazil, through a credit line.
The airport has four aprons, two for midsize aircraft and two for larger aircraft and has a capacity of 500,000 passengers and 5,000 tons of cargo per year. (macauhub/BR/MZ) (top)
WORK TO PAVE ROAD BETWEEN NAMPULA AND MOMA, MOZAMBIQUE, BEGINS IN 2015
Asphalting work on the Nampula to Moma road, over a distance of 300 kilometres, is due to begin in 2015, the Deputy Minister of Public Works and Housing, Francisco Pereira said recently in Ribaué.
According to Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias, the work involves the first phase of the project, which will cover the stretch between the city of Nampula and the town of Nametil.
The deputy minister said everything is being done for the work to start on schedule, especially since the US$100 million needed to carry out the work will be provided by South Korea.
Pereira said that the second phase of works will include asphalting of the Nametil to Moma section, which is in a terrible state of repair.
In 2013 the Minister of Public Works and Housing, Cadmiel Mutemba said that after completion of the Nampula-Nametil section and based on priorities set by the government and on available funding, identical work would be carried out on other sections in advanced state of disrepair, specifically Nametil to Moma, Nametil to Angoche, Angoche to Monapo and Moma to Angoche. (macauhub/MZ) (top)
WORLD BANK SUPPORTS FIGHT AGAINST POVERTY IN MOZAMBIQUE
The World Bank will support the Mozambican State Budget with funding of US$110 million to be invested in poverty reduction programmes under an agreement signed Thursday in Maputo.
The Minister of Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia, expressed satisfaction with the support of the World Bank and gave assurances that funding would allow the agenda to improve the business climate to continue in order to development the financial and combat poverty.
“In the last five years, the World Bank has financed our economy with approximately two billion dollars, of which about US$525 million for direct budget support and the remainder to projects in the water and sanitation sectors, roads, energy production and higher education and professional technical education,” Cuereneia said, cited by Mozambican news agency AIM.
The resident representative of the World Bank, Mark Lundell, announced that half of the funding, US$55 million, would be a donation to Mozambique and added that the World Bank intends to support the reforms already agreed with the Mozambican government.
At the same time, a second agreement worth US$40 million was signed, a donation to Mozambique to finance the Moz-Bio project, which aims to increase the efficiency of management of protected areas and improve the living conditions of communities living around these areas.
In addition to the US$40 million donated by the World Bank, Moz-Bio has over US$6.3 million that were donated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). (macauhub/MZ) (top)
MOZAMBIQUE IMPORTS AN INCREASING AMOUNT OF ELECTRICITY
In the year 2000 Mozambique spent about 13.2 million meticais (US$407,000) on purchasing electricity, which increased to 262 million meticais (US$8 million) in 2013, according to a report by the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP) published in Maputo.
According to the CIP, in 2005 the state electricity company EdM imported 19.2 gigawatts of electricity per hour having and this rose to 86.5 gigawatts/hour in 2011, an increase of over 400 percent in a period of five years.
These imports have increased EdM’s debt by last June to US$115 million, for the supply of electricity and other goods since 2008, of which US$50 million was owed to the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric facility.
The Centre for Public Integrity also found that the quality of energy in Mozambique was poor and “energy tariffs are among the highest in the region” even though the country is the second largest energy producer in southern Africa.
The poor state of repair of energy transmission and distribution infrastructure due to a lack of maintenance and overload of the entire system due to the increasing number of consumers exceeds the amount of electrical current available, which contributes to continued supply restrictions, said CIP researcher Borges Nhamirre. (macauhub/MZ) (top)
GOVERNMENT OF MOZAMBIQUE APPROVES CONSTRUCTION OF CHEMBA I AND II HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT
The government of Mozambique has approved the Chemba I and II hydroelectric project, costing an estimated US$2.55 billion, said the government spokesman and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Tuesday in Maputo.
Henrique Banze said after the meeting of the Council of Ministers that this project was scheduled to start in 2015 and “will be instrumental in improving the quality of life of the population of Manica, Tete and Sofala, the three provinces covered.”
The minister also said that Chemba I will have the capacity to produce 1,000 megawatts of electricity and Chemba II to produce 400 megawatts of electricity and stressed that both would help to attract more enterprises, because there will be greater availability of energy.”(macauhub/MZ) (top)
SOARES DA COSTA MOÇAMBIQUE HAS BEST YEAR EVER IN 2014
Construction company Soares da Costa Moçambique expects to post turnover of over 100 million euros in 2014, the company’s best year ever, the company’s chief executive, Rui Carrito said in Maputo.
The CEO told Portuguese news agency Lusa the company’s turnover this year would post growth of 20 percent compared to 2013, due to its involvement in major projects of Brazil’s Vale, in the coal sector and US company Anadarko Petroleum, in the gas sector.
“These are major projects that bring the company’s billing out of the mediocrity we had four or five years ago of 15 million euros per year to just over 100 million in 2014, which will be the best ever in Mozambique and mostly anchored to our customers Vale and Anadarko,” he said.
For Vale, Soares da Costa is taking part in construction of a railway in the north of the country, building 40 bridges along 500 kilometres of the track and also to erecting 50 buildings for the Brazilian mining company in the port of Nacala a-Velha, in Nampula province, where coal from Moatize, in Tete province will arrive.
The other major customer, Anadarko Petroleum, ordered roads, rural roads and rigs to support onshore surveys taking place in Cabo Delgado province, where Anadarko is leading on of the major natural gas exploration blocks in the Rovuma basin,
In addition to the projects for Vale and Anadarko, Soares da Costa is carrying out dozens of projects throughout the country, notably seven bridges in the provinces of Manica and Sofala, 200 kilometres of road in Gaza province, two buildings for the Bank of Mozambique, one for the Ministry of Justice, and two district hospitals, 50 homes for the Cahora Bassa Hydroelectric Dam, in Songo (Tete province) and reconstruction of the Maputo central railway station. (macauhub/MZ/PT) (top)
LAM INTRODUCES CHEAP FLIGHTS
Mozambique Airlines (LAM) announced on Friday the introduction of cheap air fares, known as “Letzgo”, for selected domestic flights as from January.
The cheap flights will all be at night, and will be between the cities of Maputo, Beira, Nampula, Tete and Quelimane.
The price reduction is substantial. A normal return ticket from Maputo to Beira costs 13,625 meticais (about 432 US dollars). With a Letzgo ticket, the price falls to 8,928 meticais.
These cheap flights come with restrictions. There will be no on-board catering, and strict limitations on how much luggage passengers can take. This is in order to reduce weight and thus cut the amount of fuel the plane uses.
LAM Commercial Director Carlos Fumo told reporters on Thursday said the Letzgo initiative puts a substantial extra number of seats on the market. He hoped it would persuade more people to travel by air.
Meanwhile, LAM has also announced that it is increasing the number of flights between Maputo and the new international airport in the northern port city of Nacala to five per week.
Since 8 October, LAM has being flying between the cities three times a week. According to Carlos Fumo, “we will increase the number of flights to Nacala to stimulate traffic to this new destination”.
Currently, the flights are serviced by a LAM Embraer 145, with a capacity for fifty passengers.
LAM is so far the only airline to operate out of Nacala since the airport was officially inaugurated on 13 December by President Armando Guebuza.
The new airport has the capacity to handle half a million passengers per year. It will also have a cargo terminal with the capacity to handle 4,600 tonnes of cargo per year.
Earlier this year, LAM revealed that it is considering using its new Boeing 737s (which are due to arrive as from May next year) to fly from Nacala to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and to Mumbai in India. (AIM) (top)
TETE PROVINCE DECLARED FREE OF LAND MINES
The western Mozambican province of Tete on Wednesday was formally declared free of land lines.
According to Alberto Augusto, director of the National Demining Institute (IND), speaking at a ceremony in Chitima, in Cahora Bassa district, during the demining operations, 74,915 anti-personnel mines were destroyed, and about five million square metres of land (equivalent to 467 football fields) was released for productive use.
The operations also discovered three anti-tank mines, 389 other items of unexploded ordnance, and 134 small caliber munitions.
In its National Mine Action Plan for 2008-2014, the IND described Tete as the most mined province in the country. The mines uncovered in Tete account for about 85 per cent of the mines destroyed throughout the country.
There were two main areas where the land mines were concentrated – along the 11 kilometre perimeter protecting the Cahora Bassa dam, and along a stretch of 15 kilometres on the border with Zimbabwe.
The lengthy and complex demining operations in Tete involved the three main humanitarian mine clearance operators working in Mozambique – Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA), the Halo Trust and Apopo – and more than ten commercial operators.
Eight provinces and 123 districts have now been declared free of mines. The mine-free provinces are Maputo, Gaza, Inhambane, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula, Niassa and Cabo Delgado.
According to Augusto all that remains to be done is to clear “a few square metres of land where the presence of anti-personnel mines is suspected in five districts in Manica and Sofala provinces”. He expected the work in Manica and Sofala to end in the first quarter of 2015.
Mozambique is a party to the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel landmines. It ratified the treaty in 1999, and had ten years to completely demine the country. This proved impossible, and so Mozambique sought and was granted a five year extension, to 2014. (AIM) (top)
MUNICIPAL BUS COMPANY RUNNING AT HEAVY LOSS
Maputo’s publicly owned municipal bus company, EMTPM, made a loss of over 174 million meticais (about 5.5 million US dollars, at current exchange rates) in 2013, according to the company’s report and accounts for that year, published this week.
This result was a dramatic shift in fortune, since in 2010 EMTPM had run at a profit of slightly more than 98 million meticais.
The main problem faced by the company has been a sharp fall in the number of passengers. In 2012 the company’s buses carried 41.9 million passengers, but in 2013 this figure slumped to 21.4 million, a decline of 49 per cent.
EMTPM blames this on the congested Maputo roads, which slow the buses down, so that they made fewer journeys in 2013 than in 2012. The average daily number of journeys fell by 32.7 per cent and the distance travelled by 36.5 per cent.
The company has also faced irregular supplies of spare parts, particularly for buses of the Indian mark Tata. This was due both to EMTPM’s financial difficulties and to the failure by some suppliers to meet deadlines. In particular, the company that won the tender to supply tyres, provided them late.
56 per cent of the buses are from Tata, and the report describes them as “fragile”. Their constant breakdowns have a severe impact on the company’s productivity. The rest of the operational fleet come from Volkswagen (26 per cent) and from the Chinese company Yutong (18 per cent).
At the end of 2013, EMTPM had 349 buses, of which 258 were operational and 89 were off the roads. During the year the company had hoped to recover 45 of the buses that were out of order, but only managed to repair 14 of them. The total number of buses in operation rose slightly – from 256 in 2012 to 258 in 2013.
EMTPM does not hold out much hope of recovering the other 89 buses. The report states that repairing them “is not viable, in most cases, due to their advanced state of decay”. (AIM) (top)
EU KEEPS MOZAMBICAN AIR COMPANIES ON BANNED LIST
The European Commission has kept all Mozambican air companies on its black list of airlines that are not allowed to operate in the air space of the European Union.
In a press release issued in Brussels on Thursday, the EU Commissioner for Transport, Violeta Bulc, said that Mozambique was one of several countries were “progress has been made”.
“Hopefully this progress can lead to a positive decision in the future”, she said.
Mozambique is one of 21 counties whose airlines, with a few exceptions, are completely banned from European air space.
The EU says that countries are on the list, either because their airlines “are considered not to be able to respect international aviation safety standards”, or because their civil aviation authorities “are deemed unable to provide the necessary safety oversight as foreseen by international aviation safety rules”.
Mozambique was first put on the list in 2011, and the problem has always been, not with the country’s airlines, but with the regulator, the Mozambique Civil Aviation Authority (IACM), which the EU deems does not meet its standards.
Asked about the continued ban on Saturday, Transport Minister Gabriel Muthisse was clearly angered by the EU position and declared “I don’t work for the Europeans, I work for the Mozambicans. Our work to improve the airports, to acquire new aircraft, and to upgrade the capacity of our regulatory authority are not for the Europeans”.
Cited by the independent daily “O Pais”, he added that the government is not worried by the EU decision since the national carrier, LAM (Mozambique Airlines), has no intention of flying to Europe in the near future. (AIM) (top)
FRELIMO WINS CUAMBA BY-ELECTION
Zacarias Filipe, the candidate of the ruling Frelimo Party has won Wednesday’s mayoral by-election in the northern Mozambican municipality of Cuamba, with almost 58 per cent of the votes.
Tito Cremildo, of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), came second, with over a quarter of the vote, while the third candidate, Leovigildo Buanacasso, of the former rebel movement Renamo, trailed badly on about 15 per cent.
The results of the parallel count, undertaken by the Electoral Observatory, Mozambique’s largest and most credible group of election observers, were as follows:
Registered electorate 44,055
Number who voted 10,969
Turnout 24.9 per cent
Valid votes 10,602 (96.65 per cent
Blank ballots 208 (1.9 per cent)
Invalid votes 159 (1.45 per cent)
Candidates (percentages of valid votes)
Zacarias Filipe (Frelimo) 6,143 (57.94 per cent)
Tito Cremildo (MDM) 2,816 (26.56 per cent)
Leovigildo Buanacasso (Renamo) 1,643 (15.5 per cent)
The OE, which had observers at all 65 polling stations, reported that the stations closed on time at 18.00. By then there were people queuing to vote at only three stations. All were able to vote.
At all the polling stations, the political party monitors were able to observe the count. The count proceeded smoothly at all polling stations bar two. In those two stations the count was interrupted because of disturbances. The OE press release gave no details of the disturbances or how the problem was solved.
The OE praised the electoral bodies for their efforts to comply with all the procedures laid down in the electoral legislation “although some irregularities were noted during the voting”.
The Frelimo victory comes as no surprise. Since the introduction of multi-party elections in Mozambique in 1994, Frelimo has always won in Cuamba, in both general and municipal elections.
The by-election was precipitated by the sudden death of mayor Vicente Lourenco in September. (AIM) (top)
CUAMBA: ALL POLLING STATIONS BAR ONE OPENED ON TIME
All bar one of the 65 polling stations in the northern Mozambican municipality of Cuamba opened on time, at 07.00, for Wednesday’s mayoral by-election, according to the Electoral Observatory, Mozambique’s largest and most credible group of election observers.
Just one station opened late, but even there voting was under way by 08.00, the Observatory said in its first statement on the by-election.
The observers are present at all the polling stations, and report that both they, and the polling station monitors from the political parties, were able to observe the opening of the stations and the correct sealing of the ballot boxes before voting began..
In 62 of the polling stations (95.38 per cent) all the material required for the voting was present. But in two stations the electoral register was missing, and in one there was none of the indelible ink used to mark voters’ fingers so that nobody can attempt to vote twice.
In one polling station, the staff found that the original of the electoral register contained the names of 400 voters, but the copy, which should be identical, contained 800 names. This anomaly was discovered at 07.15 and was immediately reported to the Cuamba district branch of the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE).
As has happened frequently in previous elections, some voters found their names were not on the register. When this happened in one polling station, the staff decided to allow the four voters concerned to vote and their names were written on the back of the register.
The Observatory noted that initial signs were of a low turnout. At 07.00 there were queues of more than 40 voters at just 12 polling stations. Between 20 and 40 voters were queueing at 10 polling stations, while at 37 stations there were queues of between 10 and 20 people. At the remaining six stations there were no queues at all.
The by-election was precipitated by the sudden death of mayor Vicente Lourenco in September. It is being contested by candidates from the three main political parties - Zacarias Filipe of the ruling Frelimo Party, Leovilgildo Buanacasso, of the former rebel movement Renamo, and Tito Cremildo of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). (AIM) (top)
CONTRARY TO “NOTICIAS”, CNE HAS DELIVERED RESULTS SHEETS
Mozambique’s National Elections Commission (CNE) has delivered to the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, all the results sheets from the 15 October general elections which it requested – contrary to a claim made on the front page of Wednesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
“Noticias”, in its headline, wrote “CNE replies to Constitutional Council: There is still no room to send the results sheets”. The paper thus gave the impression that the CNE had rebuffed the Council, refusing to provide the documentation it had asked for.
Contacted by AIM, CNE spokesperson Paulo Cuinica categorically denied this. He said the CNE has given the Council everything it had asked for in its request received by the CNE last Friday.
The Council had asked for the provincial results sheets drawn up by the 11 provincial elections commissions, and for 12 district or city results sheets from the central province of Zambezia. It had also asked for the originals of all the polling station results sheets that were rejected because the CNE computer system could not process them.
Cuinica said that the CNE has complied with these requests, and has sent all this material to the Council.
As for repeated claims in the weekly paper “Canal de Mocambique” that results sheets are being deliberately hidden by the CNE, Cuinica said this was entirely untrue.
“Canal de Mocambique” seemed to be under the impression that, immediately after announcing the national count on 30 October, the CNE should have handed over the results sheets from all the more than 17,000 polling stations to the Constitutional Council. Since there were three separate elections, for the President, parliament and the provincial assemblies (except for Maputo City, where there is no provincial assembly) this would have meant giving the Council about 50,000 separate sheets of paper.
The dossier which the CNE publicly delivered to the Council of 4 November contained the material from the provinces on which the national count was based. At the time, CNE chairperson Abdul Carimo promised that the CNE would be “permanently available to provide any clarifications necessary”. This is what the CNE has now done, by providing additional documentation requested by the Council.
There are several copies of each polling station result sheet. One original was posted to the wall or door of the polling station immediately after the count on 15 October so that the electorate in that area could know the result. Copies were given to the polling station monitors of the candidates or political parties and any accredited observers or journalists who asked for them.
Other copies of the results sheets were sent to Maputo, where they are kept in a warehouse to which three CNE members have keys – they are members appointed by the three main political parties, the ruling Frelimo Party and the two opposition forces, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
There are other copies of the same results sheets in the districts. Each polling station sent a results sheet and all the valid votes to the district or city elections commission. They are kept by the Commissions, Cuinica said, in case the Constitutional Council should order a recount of the votes cast at any particular polling station.
Once the results have been validated and proclaimed by the Council, the votes will be publicly destroyed at ceremonies which may be attended by representatives of the contesting candidates or parties. (AIM) (top)
DHLAKAMA ACCUSED OF VIOLATING CEASEFIRE
The Mozambican government on Monday accused Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, of violating the agreement on cessation of hostilities that he had signed with President Armando Guebuza on 5 September.
Speaking at the end of the 89th session of the dialogue between the government and Renamo, the head of the government delegation, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, declared that the rallies Dhlakama has been addressing in central and northern cities constitute incitement to violence and thus violated the terms of the agreement.
During these rallies, Dhlakama has repeatedly called for the formation of a “caretaker government” to run the country for the next five years – even though the results of the 15 October general elections have not yet been validated and proclaimed by the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law. He has threatened that, if the ruling Frelimo Party rejects his demands, he will form his own government and “make a revolution”.
“The agreement is being violated by the Renamo president in his travels to the various provinces in premeditated and repeated incitement to violence, at a time when the competent bodies are still analyzing the election dossiers”, said Pacheco. He accused Dhlakama of trying to usurp the powers of the electoral bodies and “spreading disinformation about the political, economic and social reality of our country”.
“We repudiate this behaviour”, he stressed, “and once again we call on the Renamo president to respect the Constitution of the Republic, and to respect the undertakings which he has signed”.
Pacheco also said that 20 members of the Renamo militia (referred to delicately as “residual forces”) who had come from the northernmost province of Niassa, were intercepted by the armed forces when they tried to march to the south.
He said that Renamo failed to notify the government that it was moving these men. “When a movement of forces is made, notification should be given”, he said. “When no notification is given, it’s a violation of the agreement’.
This round of the dialogue failed to break the impasse on disarming Renamo and integrating its “residual forces” into the FADM and the police. Once again Renamo refused to deliver the list of names of the people it wishes to see him the army and the police.
Pacheco said Renamo was still making integration of its forces dependent on a share-out of senior military and police positions. Renamo is demanding a division of the military leadership between itself and the government, which the government rejected as unthinkable weeks ago.
For his part, the head of the Renamo delegation, Saimone Macuiana, denied that Dhlakama had violated the agreement. “He is urging all Mozambicans to be calm”, he claimed – although anyone who watches televised coverage of Dhlakama’s rallies knows that he has threatened to set up a parallel government.
He said the 20 armed men mentioned by Pacheco had indeed left Niassa, but had been allowed to continue their journey and were now with Dhlakama in Vilanculo, in the southern province of Inhambane.
He also attacked the National Elections Commission (CNE) accusing it of “not presenting the results sheets” (from the elections). He thought the public prosecutor’s office should investigate “to understand how this body is unable to present the results sheets”.
In fact, the results sheets were fixed on the doors or walls of the polling stations immediately after the count on the night of 15 October. Copies were given to polling station monitors of the political parties, including Renamo. Other copies of the same results sheets were sent to the district and provincial elections commissions, for tabulating the results at those levels.
According to the CNE, the results sheets used to calculate the provincial results are now all stored in a Maputo warehouse, and the keys are in the possession of CNE members appointed by the three main political parties, Frelimo, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). (AIM) (top)
ELECTORAL OBSERVATORY WILL COVER BY-ELECTION IN FULL
The Electoral Observatory (OE), the largest and most credible grouping of Mozambican election observers, has guaranteed that it will be present at all 65 polling stations in the mayoral by-election due to be held in the northern municipality of Cuamba on Wednesday.
The Observatory, which is a coalition of religious groups and NGOs, announced in a Monday press release that its mission to Cuamba will be headed by its executive director, Anastacio Chembeze, assisted by programme officer Augusta Almeida, and the Niassa provincial coordinator, Jose Chocome.
“The OE thus believes that it is complying with its mission to share with the public its electoral observation so as to promote transparency, impartiality and justice in the management of elections”, the release said.
It also hoped that its work will promote “integrity and respect for the truth; political stability and the deepening of democracy; and furthering the culture of peace and tolerance”.
The OE pledged to carry out its observation in accordance with Mozambican electoral law, and with the principles and standards of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The OE was set up in 2003, and its observation, particularly the parallel count it undertakes, has been crucial in testing the integrity of Mozambican elections.
The members of the Observatory are the Episcopal Conference of the Catholic Church, the Christian Council of Mozambique (the umbrella group for the main protestant churches), the Islamic Council of Mozambique, the Human Rights League (LDH), the Mozambican Association for the Development of Democracy (AMODE), the Centre of Democracy and Development Studies (CEDE), the Civic Education Institute (FECIV) and the Organisation for Conflict Resolution (OREC).
The municipal by-election was precipitated by the sudden death of the mayor of Cuamba, Vicente Lourenco, in September. They are three candidates – Zacarias Filipe of the ruling Frelimo Party, Leovilgildo Buanacasso, of the former rebel movement Renamo, and Tito Cremildo of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). (AIM) (top)
CNE WILL GIVE RESULTS SHEETS TO CONSTITUTIONAL COUNCIL
Mozambique’s National Elections Commission (CNE) will hand over to the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law, all the results sheets from the 15 October general elections that it has asked to see, CNE spokesperson Paulo Cuinica told AIM on Monday.
On Friday, the CNE received a request from the Council for the provincial results sheets drawn up by the 11 provincial elections commissions, and district or city results sheets from the central province of Zambezia.
The Council wanted to see the results sheets from the provincial capital, Quelimane, and from the districts of Ile, Inhassunge, Alto Molocue, Lugela, Maganja da Costa, Milange, Mocuba, Namacura, Namarroi, Nicoadala and Pebane.
The Council also asked for the originals of all the polling station results sheets that were rejected because the CNE computer system could not process them.
Finally, it asked the CNE to clarify the claims by the weekly paper “Canal de Mocambique” that results sheets have gone missing.
This paper has for weeks been running a campaign against the CNE, claiming that it is “hiding” the results sheets.
Cuinica categorically denied such claims. He said that the polling station results sheets used to draw up the provincial results were all sent to Maputo, where they are kept in a warehouse to which three CNE members have keys – they are members appointed by the three main political parties, the ruling Frelimo Party and the two opposition forces, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
But there are other copies of the same results sheets in the districts. Each polling station sent a results sheet and all the valid votes to the district or city elections commission. They are kept by the Commissions, Cuinica said, in case the Constitutional Council should order a recount of the votes cast at any particular polling station.
The invalid votes are not kept in the districts. They were sent to Maputo, where the CNE looked at each and every one of them in late October, to check whether they really were invalid. The CNE was able to rescue about 23 per cent of them, and distributed them among the various parties and candidates.
The computers will not accept results sheets that contain mathematical mistakes – either honest mistakes made by tired polling station staff in the middle of the night, or attempts to deliberately tamper with the sheets and alter the results.
In such cases, Cuinica said, the correct results might be recovered from the polling station minutes, or from the copies of the results sheets given to the accredited monitors from the political parties. But if they all contain the same mistake, or the same tampering, then the results sheet cannot be recovered and that polling station is excluded from the final count.
The Constitutional Council is charged with validating and proclaiming the election results. But first it had to deal with the appeals lodged by the political parties. There were ten of these – one from Frelimo, two from Renamo, four from the MDM, and one from PUMILD (United Party of Mozambique for Democratic Freedom).
It took the seven judges on the Council most of November and the first few days of December to deal with the appeals. Only then could the Council turn to the major task of analyzing the entire election, and judging the accuracy, or otherwise, of the results announced by the CNE on 30 October. (AIM) (top)
RENAMO TRYING TO TAKE POWER “THROUGH THE BACK DOOR”
Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Friday warned that the proposal for a “caretaker government”, made by Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, was an attempt by Renamo to take power “by the back door”.
At rallies held over the past two weeks in central and northern cities, Dhlakama has repeatedly called for a caretaker government, which would essentially be a Frelimo-Renamo coalition. He has threatened that, if Frelimo does not accept the proposal, he will set up a government of his own in those provinces where he won most votes in the 15 October general elections.
The head of the Frelimo central brigade in Maputo City, Political Commission member Conceita Sortane, speaking at the opening of a meeting of the Frelimo City Committee, on Friday said that if Frelimo were to accept the coalition proposed by Dhlakama that would mean forming an alliance with those responsible for the disasters the country has recently lived through.
She was referring to Dhlakama’s decision to plunge the country back into war in mid-2013. In an entirely successful attempt to change the electoral legislation, for more than a year Renamo staged ambushes on the main north-south highway in Sofala province, and attacked both military and civilian targets in Gorongosa district, where Dhlakama had set up his headquarters.
Dozens of people died in Renamo’s renewed insurgency, after a period of 21 years of peace. Renamo was successful in altering the laws so that political parties came to dominate the electoral bodies. From the polling stations right up to the National Elections Commission (CNE), Renamo, Frelimo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) were allowed to appoint members. Yet, despite having literally thousands of its appointees at all levels of the electoral apparatus, Renamo still lost the elections to Frelimo and its presidential candidate, Filipe Nyusi.
Accepting a caretaker government would be “the worst thing we could do to Mozambicans”, said Sortane. Going into coalition with Dhlakama would mean Frelimo using its own strength and capacity to carry Renamo into power.
“We cannot be the back door through which the opposition tries to seize power”, she declared.
Sortane accused the opposition parties of spreading ideas that would obstruct the development of the country. “With these subversive movements of the opposition, we have the responsibility to raise the awareness of the population so that they do not allow themselves to be influenced by them”, she said.
It was up to Frelimo members, she insisted, to transit truthful information and hope, based on “a bright future”.
The Frelimo first secretary in Maputo, Hermenegildo Infante, told reporters that Frelimo is continuing to recruit members in the capital. Party membership in Maputo, he claimed, had risen from about 120,000 in 2013, to today’s figure of 128,628.
He added there are a further 1,003 membership applications in the pipeline, “and I guarantee that by the end of this month, they will all be party members”.
The elections, however, showed an embarrassing contrast between the number of members claimed by Frelimo and the number of votes won by the party. In late 2013, the then Frelimo general secretary, Filipe Paunde, claimed that the party has over four million members. Yet in October, only 2.7 million people voter for the party’s presidential candidate, Filipe Nyusi.
Either over a million Frelimo members refused to vote for their party, which seems unlikely, or party branches and committees have been inflating the figures they send to headquarters.
In Maputo City, however the figures are credible. Nyusi won 287,674 votes in Nyusi – more than twice as many people as the party membership claimed by Infante. (AIM) (top)
AT LEAST FIVE DEATHS IN MAPUTO STORM
At least five people died in the torrential rains that lashed Maputo on Monday night according to the municipal councillor for health and social welfare, Nurbai Calu.
Summarising the damage from the storm at a Wednesday press conference, Calu said “We have recorded five deaths, and we are working to confirm whether these deaths were really caused by the rains”.
Five houses were swept away in the storm, she added, and their owners are currently staying with relatives.
“For those families who have lost their houses, in the first place we want to guarantee that they are in good health and have a roof over their heads”, Calu said. “Certainly there will be more families who will be moved to other places. Currently we have nobody sleeping in the open”.
She insisted that the municipality will act to remove to safer zones people who are living in areas prone to flooding.
Calu said it is still too early to estimate the damage caused by the storm, but warned that the losses are “very high”. Journalists touring the city have seen and photographed the devastation – mudslides, roads destroyed, craters opened, houses and other buildings damaged.
In the neighbouring city of Matola, 19 houses collapsed, and another 370 were flooded. Over 300 people have been displaced from their homes, but have found temporary shelter with relatives.
Many of the roads giving access to parts of the two cities became impassable, and the municipal authorities have been working to clear them. (AIM) (top)
CASES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING REPORTED THIS YEAR
In the first ten months of this year, 27 cases of trafficking in people were reported in Mozambique, according to Assistant Attorney-General, Lucia Maximiliano.
Speaking at a debate organised on Tuesday by her office on preventing and fighting against the traffic in human beings, Maximiliano said that suspects have been charged in four of these cases, five have been dismissed for lack of evidence, and the others are still undergoing preliminary investigation.
Cited in Wednesday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, Maximiliano said that in 2013, 26 cases of trafficking were registered.
This year, she added, 28 traffickers have been identified, of Mozambican, Tanzanian and Chinese nationality. 21 of them are men and seven are women.
The data on human trafficking, Maximiliano continued, “require from us greater reflection and study”. There was a danger of confusing human trafficking with other phenomena and crimes such as kidnapping.
She thought it a matter of great urgency to approve a National Plan for Preventing and Combatting Human Trafficking, and to strengthen the capacity of the Public Prosecutor’s Office to intervene in such cases.
United States ambassador Douglas Griffiths, speaking at the opening session, recognised the efforts under way to fight against human trafficking, but was concerned about assistance for the victims.
“These victims are survivors”, he said, “and our efforts to protect them are not something we are doing for them, but something we are doing with them. Together we have to respond to their call and be worthy of their courage. We have to collaborate to eradicate human trafficking in our time”.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that across the glove there are more than 20 million victims of human trafficking. (AIM) (top)
STORMS LEAVE TRAIL OF DESTRUCTION
Storms that hit parts of southern and central Mozambique over the weekend and on Monday night left a trail of destruction across Maputo city and province, and much of Sofala.
According to the National Meteorology Institute (INAM), 124 millimetres of rain fell in Maputo on Monday night and Tuesday morning. The waters swept away several houses built of flimsy materials, destroyed walls, knocked down traffic lights and electricity pylons, and made many roads impassable.
The rains opened craters in roads in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola, into which several vehicles fell and had to be removed by cranes.
Key thoroughfares in central Maputo resembled rivers rather than roads on Tuesday morning. 25th September Avenue, in the heart of the city, was virtually impassable, fit more for boats than for vehicles.
Once again, Maputo’s lack of a modern drainage system was cruelly exposed. Without adequate drains to cope with storm waters, the rains had nowhere to go but inside people’s homes, destroying their possessions. Some motorists, caught in the middle of the storm, found they could not drive home, and spent the night in their cars.
According to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, fields in the green belt around Maputo were flooded, obliging farmers to harvest immediately whatever they could save of their crops.
There were no reports of any deaths in Maputo, but the weekend storms in Sofala caused the deaths of two people in Marromeu district, where 24 pylons and a large number of trees were knocked down. A transformer post was also damaged, and the districts of Marromeu, Caia and Chemba were all deprived of electrical power.
INAM forecasts an improvement in the weather in Maputo city and province as from Wednesday – but further rains, in excess of 50 millimetres, will continue to fall further north, in Gaza, Inhambane, Manica and Sofala provinces, on Wednesday and Thursday. (AIM) (top)
SOLDIERS CAUGHT SELLING GUN
The Mozambican police on Monday announced the arrests of three members of the armed forces (FADM) who were caught trying to sell an AK-47 assault rifle.
According to the spokesperson for the Maputo City Police Command, Orlando Madumane, the incident took place on Sunday in the municipal district of Katembe.
The men arrested are a lieutenant and two privates (whose names were not released). They were attempting to sell an AK-47 and two ammunition clips. The police arrested the three after receiving a tip-off.
Mudumane said the three men had been in the armed forces for at least two years. He suspected they had stolen the gun from an FADM arsenal.
He showed reporters the seized gun, and pledged that the police are doing all in their power to ensure a peaceful festive season in the capital. (AIM) (top)
HEALTH MINISTRY TO INTRODUCE FOUR NEW VACCINES
The Mozambican Ministry of Health plans to introduce four new vaccines into the Expanded Vaccination Programme (PAV).
Speaking on Thursday at a National PAV meeting, the Deputy National Director of Public Health, Benigna Matsinhe, said one of the new vaccinations would be against the rotaviruses which are the leading cause of severe, and often fatal, diarrhea among young children.
The HPV vaccine against cervical cancer will also be introduced, and an injectable polio vaccine, replacing the current oral vaccine. Finally, the Ministry has decided to introduce a second dose of measles vaccination. It is hoped that this will eliminate the need for costly annual measles vaccination campaigns.
Matsinhe said “Although our vaccination programmes achieve good coverage rate, we think we can do better, by increasingly reaching children in remote places who need our attention”.
The rotavirus vaccine and the second dose of measles vaccine will be introduced into the routine work of the PAV in 2015, while the cervical cancer and injectable polio vaccines will be available in 2016 or 2017.
Matsinhe, cited in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, said that the introduction of the new vaccines will require greater coordination with the provinces on the logistics and management of the programme.
The three day meeting is discussing mechanisms to improve the implementation of PAV, and to ensure that an ever larger number of children throughout the country are fully vaccinated.
Opening the meeting, Health Minister Alexandre Manguele called for a reflection on the institutional challenges involved in reducing mortality and morbidity from the diseases which can be prevented by vaccination.
He said consolidation of the vaccination programme in recent years has bought visible gains, including the elimination of neo-natal tetanus, reduction in cases of acute flaccid paralysis (often a sign of polio), and the rehabilitation and expansion of the cold chain.
“We must recognise that the challenges we have ahead of us are enormous”, said Manguele. He urged health workers to maintain the recent gains, including the rise in the number of fully vaccinated children from 70 per cent in 2011 to 80 per cent in 2013.