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Nyusi was ‘prime mover’ in fishing and defence contracts, Privinvest tells court; DAG's internal investigation into human rights allegations

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 20 July, 2021


  • Today: Council of Ministers’ weekly meeting
  • Thursday: Verdict in the corruption trial about the ordering of aircraft by state-owned airline LAM (the ‘Embraer case’), eighth criminal section of the Judicial Court of the City of Maputo

The latest from Zitamar News:

Nyusi was ‘prime mover’ in fishing and defence contracts, Privinvest tells London court (£)
President Filipe Nyusi was the “prime mover” in the contracts between the Mozambican state and shipbuilder Privinvest that led to the so-called “hidden debts” scandal, a court in London heard on Monday

Cabo Ligado Analysis: DAG's internal investigation into human rights allegations
While the report denies allegations of indiscriminate attacks, it acknowledges the possibility of civilian collateral damage, especially in instances where insurgents may have used civilian cover to attack

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Mozambique records 20 covid-19 deaths on Monday
There were also 1,373 new cases and 123 recoveries

The best of the rest:

  • Hospitals running out of beds for covid-19 patients (Mediafax,Rádio Moçambique)
  • Rwandan commander in Mozambique accused of murdering civilians (Carta de Moçambique, ISS Africa)
  • Rwandans in Mozambique demand respect for refugee rights (Lusa)
  • Cement plant closes outside Maputo, leaving 300 unemployed (Carta de Moçambique)
  • Bilibiza agricultural institute reopens in southern Cabo Delgado (Press release)

Hospitals running out of beds for covid-19 patients (Mediafax, Rádio Moçambique)
The third wave of covid-19 in Mozambique is putting great pressure on hospital capacity, the health ministry has warned. Benigna Matsinhe, the deputy director of public health, said that capacity in Maputo province had been exhausted, so that patients would soon be transferred to the city of Maputo. There were 54 hospital admissions with covid-19 across the country on Sunday, and 34 people left hospital. Sofia Viegas, the director of public health laboratories at the National Institute of Health, said that the spread of the Delta variant in Mozambique would be known in the next two weeks.

Rwandan commander in Mozambique accused of murdering civilians (Carta de Moçambique, ISS Africa)
The Rwandan troops which have been deployed to Mozambique to help fight terrorism in Cabo Delgado province are led by Major-General Innocent Kabandana, who has been accused of hunting down and assassinating opponents of Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, abroad. According to Carta sources, Kabandana has carried out these “extermination missions” in many countries, including killing several Rwandan citizens in the US. It also cites Rwandan newspaper Jambo News as saying that he is responsible for killing three bishops, nine priests and an eight-year-old child. Since 2020, he has commanded the military academy of Rwanda. Meanwhile, civil rights activist and journalist Borges Nhamirre says that the arrival of Rwandan troops has been criticised as illegal and lacking transparency, as President Filipe Nyusi did not get approval from parliament, and its duration and costs have not been revealed. Nhamirre says that opposition parties have significant support in the conflict-hit districts of Cabo Delgado, and argues that the lack of political support and national consensus could undermine the Rwandan intervention and lead to political violence in the country.

Rwandans in Mozambique demand respect for refugee rights (Lusa)
The Association of Rwandan Refugees in Mozambique has asked the Mozambican government to respect the Geneva Convention and the rights of refugees, following the reconciliation between both countries due to the insurgency in Cabo Delgado province. Recently, Rwanda has deployed 1,000 troops to Mozambique to help fight terrorism in the province. The head of the association, Cleophas Habiyareme, said that the arrival of Rwandan troops did not scare the refugee community in the country, as long as Mozambique continued to respect the convention. “If there are problems, we can go to another country”, he added. The association previously condemned the abduction of Rwandan journalist Ntamuhanga Cassien in Mozambique, by people whom it said presented themselves as Mozambican police. According to data from the association, Mozambique has at least 4,000 Rwandan refugees, some of whom fled alleged political persecution by the current president, Paul Kagame.
A major investigative journalism project this week revealed how Israeli spy technology Pegasus has been used by repressive regimes to hack telephones. Ntamuhanga’s Dutch telephone number was among those listed as having been targeted, though it was unclear if his phone had in fact been hacked. Rwanda and Israel are known to have close diplomatic relations.

Cement plant closes outside Maputo, leaving 300 unemployed (Carta de Moçambique)
Cimento Nacional, which has a cement grinding mill and packing facility in the Beluluane industrial park outside Maputo, has ceased operations with the loss of 300 jobs, according to Carta de Moçambique citing a report on state broadcaster TVM. Carta said it was unable to get confirmation of the closure from the management of Beluluane or from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. The website notes that the move comes shortly after the entry into the market of Dugongo Cimentos, a new cement factory which is also Mozambique’s first manufacturer of clinker, a key input of cement. Other cement producers and traders have complained at the low prices charged by Dugongo, warning that it will put them out of business.
Cimento Nacional appears to be the first victim of what some have argued are uncompetitive practices by Dugongo — but which the government and most public opinion have welcomed as it has lowered prices for consumers and the construction industry. It remains to be seen in the long term whether Dugongo will be able to establish a monopoly position. West China Cement, the Chinese company that owns Dugongo — in partnership with Frelimo holding company SPI — already has one other cement plant project, in Cabo Delgado. Nacional Cement, whose cement brand is called Cimento Leão, is owned by Jordanian national Ihab Bustami through his Dubai-based company CNC Trading. His Nacional group also has logistics and other trading activities in Mozambique, according to its website.

Bilibiza agricultural institute reopens in southern Cabo Delgado (Press release)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has helped rehabilitate the Bilibiza agricultural institute in its new location in Chiure, southern Cabo Delgado province, after the previous building was destroyed by insurgents in Bilibiza, Quissanga district, in January 2020. Prior to the attack, the institute was the primary training location for agricultural technicians in the province, and thousands of graduates from Cabo Delgado have gone on to work in government and the private sector since it opened in 1982. In February 2020, the institute found a safe haven in Chiúre district, and decided to permanently relocate to this site given continued insecurity in the north of Cabo Delgado. They were given an unused government facility, but the buildings were in severe disrepair, so that the institute could not reopen until this month, when it is to admit 300 students. The institute also plans to use the surrounding land as demonstration agricultural plots, so students can practice their skills outside of the classroom.


  • The Bank of Mozambique said that it had appointed Zaitina Raul Chilaule as resident inspector of Standard Bank in Mozambique, following the sanctions previously imposed on the firm
  • Standard Bank said it has chosen a new country head and director of banking for large companies, and is waiting for regulatory approval for the appointments
  • Vale said production at its Moatize coal mines is ramping up in line with its plan to reach an annual production rate of 15 million tonnes during the second half of 2021, after quarterly production hit 2.1 million tonnes in Q2 2021 — almost double the amount produced in Q1. Sales were 1.5 million tonnes, allowing Vale “ to rebuild its operational inventories to sustainable levels”

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