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The latest from Zitamar News:
Cholera outbreak adds to death and strife in conflict-hit Cabo Delgado
The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Macomia district, Cabo Delgado province, hit at least 28 last week, according to sources in the coastal village of Pangane
From the Zitamar Live Blog:
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Covid-19 cases rise by 79 over weekend
Maputo City is home to 45 of the new cases
The best of the rest:
- Maputo Central Hospital cancels surgery due to lack of blood (Lusa)
- Armed attacks in central Mozambique want to "circumvent the peace", says Nyusi (Lusa)
- Workers returning to South African mines fear poor covid prevention measures (O País)
- Bank of Mozambique relaxes foreign exchange rules for covid-19 pandemic (A Verdade)
- Presidents cancels inauguration of commercial institute due to poor quality (Lusa, Notícias)
- Construction of Mozambique-Malawi power line to start in March 2021 (Notícias)
Maputo Central Hospital cancels surgery due to lack of blood (Lusa)
The director of Maputo Central Hospital, the largest hospital in Mozambique, is urging blood donors to come forward, as it has been forced to cancel operations due to lack of blood. The amount of blood donated has dropped by three-quarters since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, as donors are scared of entering the hospital for fear of catching the virus. The hospital is now dependent on family members of patients to give the blood needed for transfusions, and had to postpone ten operations the previous week, the hospital’s clinical director, Farida Urci, told state-owned broadcaster TVM on Friday. “If the population does not adhere to blood donation requests, there will be more patients with cancelled surgery and the longer this situation lasts, [the more] they are at risk of complications or a bad outcome,” Urci said. Blood scarcity is particularly affecting surgery for cancer patients, trauma cases and pregnant women with complicated births, he added.
Armed attacks in central Mozambique want to “cheat the peace”, says Nyusi (Lusa)
President Filipe Nyusi has said that the armed attacks in the centre of Mozambique, attributed to the Renamo Military Junta paramilitary group, are an attempt to “cheat the peace” agreed between the government and opposition party Renamo. During a visit to Inhambane province on Friday, Nyusi said there was no reason for the attacks to happen. “We will take the [peace] process to its conclusion and we will continue to develop dialogue, which is fundamental to avoid giving space to the war,” he said, adding that the conflict was disturbing the development that the country aspired to. According to Lusa, the armed attacks have already caused the deaths of at least 24 people.
The announcement last week that five Junta men had been killed by police could signal a new approach from the government on this issue.
Workers returning to South African mines fear poor covid prevention measures (O País)
Some Mozambicans who have been asked to return to work in mines in South Africa have expressed concern at their employers’ failure to comply with covid-19 preventive measures. The lack of guaranteed transport to and from the mines, distancing in the workplace, lack of access to protective equipment like gloves and masks, and other forms of protection against covid-19, are among the concerns of at least 80 miners from Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane provinces, who returned to Mozambique in March following the lockdown in South Africa, O País reported. In addition, some miners who have already returned to South Africa, and are in quarantine, appear to have been told by recruitment company TEBA that they cannot return to Mozambique until next year. “When we arrived we were informed as follows: you who have just arrived, you should know that you will not be able to return home as soon as possible, but maybe next year, in March,” one miner said in an audio recording heard by O País. “Even if you are unhappy you will not be able to return; the dead will be buried by your family there”.
The covid-19 situation in South Africa is much worse than in Mozambique. But people need to earn a living, and there are limited opportunities in Mozambique. Authorities on both sides need to deal with the situation of this migrant force since, apart from potential violation of labour contracts, recent unilateral repatriations have put enormous pressure on Mozambican authorities forced to handle unexpected arrivals, and has been partially responsible for the increase of infection in southern Mozambique.
Bank of Mozambique relaxes foreign exchange rules for covid-19 pandemic (A Verdade)
The Bank of Mozambique has removed the requirement for exporters to repatriate all export profits back to Mozambique, and for them to use only export revenues to pay bills overseas. Exporters and overseas investors now only need to repatriate 30% of their overseas profits. The changes to the foreign exchange law also revoke the requirement to prove that taxes are in order before overseas transfers can be made to pay for health, education, accommodation, food, family expenses and travel and tourism expenses. A Verdade says the changes will be in force for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic.
The continuation of measures aimed at keeping money inside Mozambique provides a continued incentive for wealthier Mozambicans (and foreigners in the country) to keep their money offshore.
President cancels inauguration of commercial institute due to poor quality (Lusa, Notícias)
President Filipe Nyusi refused to inaugurate the Eduardo Mondlane Industrial and Commercial Institute in Inhambane province last week, after touring the building with members of the government and journalists, due to the poor quality of the work, according to the local press. “The head of state did not like the quality of the work carried out, particularly the bathrooms, that he considered an attack on the health of the trainees. For this reason, he demanded that urgent interventions be made in the bathrooms and other parts of the institute's facilities, so that it could be inaugurated,” Notícias reported. “In Mozambique, the poor quality of public works is a chronic problem, which several studies attribute to corruption and the conflict of interest between public officials linked to the public works sector and civil construction companies,” Lusa wrote.
Since all places are inspected prior to a Presidential visit, it seems Nyusi wanted to make a political point about a chronic problem in public works. The name of the contractor responsible for the works has managed to stay out of the headlines so far, despite the publicity around the event.
Construction of Mozambique-Malawi power line to start in March 2021 (Notícias)
Construction work on a 220km electricity transmission line between Mozambique and Malawi will begin next March and should be completed in two years, according to João Catine, the head of the project at state-owned electricity company EDM. The public tender process to appoint the construction contractor was recently launched, and another tender process should be launched within days for a contractor to build a new substation in Tete province to raise the existing voltage in the north-central system to 400kV, Catine added, saying that both contractors should be selected by December this year. Financing agreements for the projects, totalling $127m, have already been signed between the government and partners and declared effective as of this month.
This project should have been concluded long ago, since all the requirements, including international financing have been in place for a long time. However, due to recurrent political clashes between the governments of the two countries, it is only now being implemented.