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Nyusi’s modest Christmas present

The cut in the end of year salary bonus for state employees is understandable, but comes amid anxiety about the cost of living

Photo credit: Filipe Nyusi, Facebook

Good afternoon. President Filipe Nyusi’s speech in parliament on the state of the nation yesterday morning cannot have provided much Christmas cheer. For Nyusi himself, he had to deal with constant interruption from the benches of opposition party Renamo, who were protesting the fact that Nyusi’s Frelimo party had cheated them out of winning several towns and cities in October’s local elections. This is the first time his annual address has been disrupted in this way. The foreign diplomats in the chamber would have been reminded that Mozambique has not yet moved on from that shameful episode.

For Frelimo officials and activists, the Renamo protest highlights continuing disquiet and discontent within party ranks about the conduct of the local elections. Nyusi does not enjoy unqualified support within Frelimo, and some party members probably enjoyed watching their leader get heckled and insulted. Such dissent is not easy to spot, since it does not show up in official party meetings, where Nyusi’s officials control procedure and there is no deviation from the party line.

For everyone else, Nyusi served up a poor Christmas gift in the form of a reduced bonus salary payment for public sector employees. Traditionally the state pays an extra “thirteenth” monthly salary payment at the end of the year, but this year, due to administrative problems and corrupt exploitation surrounding the introduction of the new salary structure for state employees, the public sector wage bill has increased sharply, and money is very tight. Thus the president could only offer 30% of a monthly pay packet.

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