News Reports and Clippings 2009-2011
Mozambique is the most corrupt country in southern Africa, with 68% of people having paid a bribe in the past year, according to a survey by Transparency International and Gallup. More than a third of those using health services or education had to pay a bribe.
But the media in Mozambique is most trusted in the region.
A new agriculture policy puts stress on small commercial farmers, not foreign investors, and gives support to contract farming. It is more interventionist, with a return to a marketing board and input subsidies. And it reverses a series of disastrous policies that had been imposed by the World Bank.
The new Poverty Reducation Action Plan 2011-2014 was approved on 3 May 2011. PARP, Plano de Acção para a Redução da Pobreza 2011-2014.
Credit, subsidy and locally based research are needed to develop small-holder agriculture, which should be the focus of government policy, concludes a study of the Zambezi River valley by Jeffrey Sachs' Columbia University Earth Institute. This is a draft for comment. A sponsor of the report is Vale, a big coal mine operator.
Chr. Michelsen Institute has a series of three on-going studies on poverty in Maputo city and Nampula and Sofala provinces. Updates on Maputo were issued in early 2011.
A carbon-credits driven development project near the Gorongosa park run by two men who became notorious in the apartheid era is in trouble, according to an article in the London Sunday Observer on April 11.
Flooding in the basins of the Zambezi, Pungue and Buzi rivers led the Council of Ministers to impose a red alert from 10 to 23 March 2010. These are the official reports given to the Council of Ministers, with extensive detail on various river flows and comparisons with previous flood years.
Budget support donors (G19) sent two letters to government in December 2009, demanding rapid moves on electoral law reforms, corruption, conflict of interest, and the overlap between the Frelimo party and the state. Budget support was suspended. On 5 February 2010 Aiuba Cuereneia, Minister for Planning and Development and the main government negotiator with the donors, sent a reply to the G19, setting out the government position and making few concessions. His letter is below. This is followed by two G19 papers from mid-February, setting out the G19 response to the Cuereneia letter. Negotiations in early March led to an agreement announced 24 March and a resumption of the flow of money. It was widely seen that the donors had lost the strike. The government March proposal, below, offered only one concession -- that the government would submit a proposed electoral law to parliament quickly (by May 2010) and would not go through the detailed and lengthy public consultation demanded by civil society and the Constitutional Council. All other issues raised would be dealt with through the normal G19 consultation process.
Government tabled a document with a single concession - item 1.i on page 1, elaborated on page 3, to table electoral legislation with parliament by May. This meant not doing the broader consultation and rewriting of the legislation demanded by the Constitutional Council and civil society, but meant that an initial action would be taken before an assertive donor ambassador left Mozambique. The remainder of this long document is purely face-saving for donors, as all items will be dealt with in the normal G19 consultation process.
Eleven studies by donors and government evaluating the most recent poverty reduction strategy, PARPA II (Plano de acção para a redução da pobreza absoluta, 2006-2009), are now being widely circulated and are posted in this website. Click on the button the left ‘Unpublished references for "Do Bicycles Equal Development?" and other documents’ and then on the subsection PRSP/PARPA.
Detailed results from Mozambique’s 2007 census are being published on a province by province basis. One version is on the National Statistics Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estatística) website. A slightly different version, with data on some different questions, is being provided at provincial press conferences. There is interesting data on language, religion, population shifts, education, and possessions such as bicycles and mobile telephones. These are posted below, in very large PowerPoint files.
Reports of 28 May pledges and 29 April joint government donor aide-memoire.
The 19 budget support donors signed a new five-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mozambican government on 18 March. There are several important subtle changes - donors have increased their scope to put pressure on government (particularly over corruption) and to be even more deeply involved in government planning processes, but individual donors have accepted a reduction in space for unilateral action.
Cholera is now present in most of Mozambique, and the epidemic is becoming more serious. In the first 12 weeks of 2009, 13,000 cases were reported, with 140 deaths. This is a mortality rate of 1.1%, which is considered low. But there are already more cases than all of 2008, when there were 12,000 cases and 150 deaths.
Protestors attacked a cholera treatment centre and a prevention team in Cabo Delgado and have killed two Red Cross volunteers and a policeman. This is a repeat of incidents in coastal Nampula seven years ago, in which brigades putting chlorine in wells were instead accused of putting cholera in the wells, and were attacked. Those protests were studied by Carlos Serra and a team from Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, and published in 2003 in an excellent small book Cólera e catarse. The shocking finding of the study was that poor people strongly believed that the rich and powerful wanted to kill them.
On 17 March, at least 12 people suffocated to death in an overcrowded police cell -- most had been arrested after cholera protests.
A daily Bulletin is being published during the election period
To subscribe: Para assinar:
In English: http://tinyurl.com/mz-en-sub
Em Português: http://tinyurl.com/mz-pt-sub
There is also a website with additional material, including text messages from "citizen correspondents":
In English: http://www.cip.org.mz/pub2008/index_en.asp
Em Português: http://www.cip.org.mz/pub2008/
Is Mozambique an African success story? It has 7% a year growth rate and substantial foreign investment. It is the donors' model pupil, but poverty is increasing. The number of bicycles has doubled and this is often cited as the symbol of development. In his book, Do bicycles equal development in Mozambique? Joseph Hanlon challenges key assumptions of both the donors and the government. The book has been published in Portuguese and will be available in English in November.
A report on an accident at the Massingir dam in May 2008 points to errors in the original construction and in recent repairs. The accident caused major damage and will reduce the water available for biofuel and rice production.
High ranking officials in the National Social Security Institute (INSS) stole $8 million between 2002 and 2008, according to a commission of enquiry set up by Labour Minister Helena Taipo following denunciations of serious irregularities. In an unprecedented action, a summary of the commission report was published by Taipo on 3 June 2008. It names the ministry officials and companies involved in the frauds.
More than 36,000 Mozambicans fled the attacks on foreigners in South Africa. At least 23 Mozambicans have been killed. Below are reports from the Mozambican National Disaster Management Institute (Instituto Nacional de Gestão de Calamidades) and from the Mozambican press agency AIM. On 2 June 2008 the emergency phase of the repatriation was declared as over. Several thousand Mozambicans remained in emergency centres in South Africa set up by the Mozambican government, but they decided not to return to Mozambique, hoping the violence would end.
Anibal dos Santos Junior ("Anibalzinho") was convicted of leading the death squad that murdered Mozambique's foremost investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, in 2000. He was jailed for 30 years.
But Anibalzinho has "powerful protection" which must be investigated, said Lucinda Cruz, the lawyer for Cardoso’s family, in her final statement in the trial.
Cruz noted that Anibalzinho renounced his Mozambican nationality so that he would not have to do military service, yet he was allowed to stay in Mozambique for another decade despite having no job and being arrested several times. Despite the existence of two arrest warrants, no attempt was made to detain or expel him. "Who protects him, allowing him to commit crimes continually, with arrest warrants never served, even though his usual residence is well known," Cruz asked.
He was finally arrested after the Cardoso murder, but was twice able to escape from maximum security prisons. "His protection is so powerful that Anibal had the confidence to show total arrogance and disrespect to the court" during his retrial in December 2005, declared Cruz.
Cruz said that "what is most strange" was that Anibalzinho was willing to incriminate himself in the crime, yet went out of his way to proclaim the innocence of the family of then President Joaquim Chissano, especially his son Nhimpine Chissano, as well as the Mozambican government and the Frelimo party. "Why was he obsessed with defending these people and entities?" Cruz asked.
Anibalzinho had already been convicted in absentia in 2003 after he had escaped from the "maximum security" prison. The Supreme Court ordered that he should be allowed to be present, and after he was returned to Mozambique after his second escape, the trial was reopened. Cruz also called for Anibalzinho, a Portuguese citizen, to serve his sentence in Portugal to prevent him "escaping" for a third time.
Two external agencies did reports on the explosion shortly afterwards, which come to similar conclusions.
An explosion in an arms dump at Mahlazine, next to Maputo airport, on 22 March 2007 killed at least 103 people, injured more than 500, and damaged or destroyed 1300 houses. The explosion was probably caused by unstable propellant which deteriorated in the improperly stored rockets and spontaneously combusted. The official commission investigating the explosion revealed staggering incompetence and "manifest irregularities" in the storage of munitions.