Dear Zitamar News reader,
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- Today: President Nyusi is in Nampula, having landed there on Saturday direct from the Vatican. He concludes his visit tomorrow
- Today: Africa Investment Forum Roadshow at the Southern Sun hotel in Maputo, organised by the CTA and the African Development Bank
The latest from Zitamar News:
Samito Machel loses appeal in bid to run for Maputo mayor
Samora Machel Jr. has lost his appeal to be able to run against Frelimo for the Maputo mayoralty
The best of the rest:
- Six countries invited to help Renamo demilitarisation effort (O País)
- President Nyusi invites the Pope to visit Mozambique next year (VoA, Notícias, The Tablet)
- Islamic organisations protest over comparison of Nyusi to Allah (Mediafax, AIM)
- Nampula province is ‘epicentre of money laundering’ (O País)
- Banks agree change to how prime rate is calculated (Lusa, O País)
- Mozambique drops into the world’s top 10 least developed countries (Lusa)
Six countries invited to help Renamo demilitarisation effort (O País)
President Nyusi said at the end of his Vatican trip on Friday that he’d invited six countries to help in the process of disarming, demilitarising, and reintegrating Renamo’s remaining armed forces.
There’s a long history of international involvement in this issue - first after the 1992 peace accords, and then again in 2013-15. Neither oversaw the completion of Renamo’s disarmament - and it is unlikely to happen now, either, as Renamo will want to retain the option of violence after the 2019 elections.
President Nyusi invites the Pope to visit Mozambique next year (VoA, Notícias, The Tablet)
According to Catholic newspaper The Tablet, Filipe Nyusi said to journalists in the Vatican on Friday: "I would like to announce that next year, the pope is coming to Mozambique!" "If I'm still alive," Pope Francis responded with a grin. Nyusi said he would do everything he could to ensure that the Pope finds Mozambique at peace.
Historian Eric Morier-Genoud pointed out on Twitter that it might not be the best time for a Papal visit, as Mozambique struggles with an insurgency in Cabo Delgado which is feeding off feelings of isolation in parts of the Muslim community in the north.
Nyusi’s visit to Rome was also notable for the fact that he did not visit the Italian authorities - traditionally an important cooperation partner, but also one of the countries which reduced its aid to the Mozambican government in the fall-out from the hidden debts scandal.
Islamic organisations protest over comparison of Nyusi to Allah (Mediafax, AIM)
A group of 13 Mozambican Islamic organisations has written to the ruling Frelimo Party in protest against a remark by the Frelimo General Secretary, Roque Silva, who said in Quelimane last week that Mozambique “is being led by a great man, a great man who can only be compared with God or with Allah. This man is called Filipe Jacinto Nyusi”. The 13 Islamic organisations described Silva’s statement as a “gratuitous expression of the personality cult which is absolutely unacceptable in democratic societies such as Mozambique,” and urged him to retract his words. The Islamic Council of Mozambique, often regarded as the largest and most significant Islamic body in the country, did not sign the letter, but its president, Sheik Aminuddin Mohamed, told Mediafax the Council had already met with Roque Silva “who expressed his regret and his ignorance about divine concepts”.
The narrative continues, however: the general secretary of Frelimo’s women’s organisation, Mariazinha Niquice, has again called Nyusi “a God”, and today, Nyusi propagandist Egidio Vaz compared the President to Moses.
Nampula province is ‘epicentre of money laundering’ (O País)
The province of Nampula has 17 open cases of money laundering, according to Mozambique’s public prosecutor’s office, the PGR - whose spokesman in the province pointed to the port city of Nacala as being a particular hotbed of the activity.
A recent report by Joseph Hanlon into Mozambique’s role in the global heroin trade said that hotels, in particular, are used in Nampula province and Maputo to launder drug money.
Banks agree change to how prime rate is calculated (Lusa, O País)
The Mozambican banking association and the Bank of Mozambique on Friday announced changes to how the ‘prime’ interest rate is calculated, based on the country’s risk rating, the ratio of non-performing and performing loans, and the minimum reserve coefficient on deposits in local currency, which is set by the central bank.
Bank of Mozambique governor Rogerio Zandamela said amendments would make the calculation of the prime rate, which was introduced 15 months ago, more transparent and comprehensible to the public at large.
Mozambique drops into the world’s top 10 least developed countries (Lusa)
Mozambique is the world’s 10th least developed country in the UN’s Human Development Index, in 180th place. Mozambique has fallen in the rankings despite an improvement in its absolute score. Niger is bottom of the table.
Without concerted efforts by the government to improve healthcare and education, Mozambique will continue to slip down the table. How revenues from the giant gas projects are spent will be key to achieving this - but could be wasted paying back interest on Mozambique’s hidden loans.