- Today: 34th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Mozambican President Samora Machel along with 33 others
- Tomorrow: Council of Ministers’ weekly meeting
From the Zitamar Live Blog:
Coronavirus death toll hits 75
The health authorities reported 329 new cases of covid-19 in the past three days — of which 200 in Maputo City — and 299 recoveries
The best of the rest:
- PGR says Credit Suisse will call Guebuza et al for London hearing next February (Notícias)
- Peace agreement in Mozambique cannot be renegotiated, says EU diplomat (Lusa)
- Government submits amended budget to parliament (Rádio Moçambique, Lusa)
- More refugees fleeing Cabo Delgado insurgency arriving in Pemba and Namialo (O País, O País)
- Schools improvement project restarted after contractors’ bids questioned (AIM)
- Police seize 343kg of heroin and crack in northern Mozambique (Lusa)
- More details on Beira basin expansion (Notícias)
PGR says Credit Suisse will call Guebuza et al for London hearing next February (Notícias)
Mozambique’s Attorney General (PGR) says former president Armando Guebuza and his son Ndambi, former finance minister Manuel Chang, former secret services chiefs Antonio do Rosário and Gregorio Leao, and former deputy finance minister Maria Isaltina Lucas should prepare testimonies for Mozambique’s court case against Credit Suisse in London, to be heard in February next year. Mozambique is suing Credit Suisse, but the bank also has the right to call other witnesses, including those listed. The PGR believes that Portuguese bank BCP — the major shareholder of Mozambican bank Millennium Bim — and Russian bank VTB Capital’s cases against Mozambique will be thrown out, as the UK court does not have jurisdiction over Mozambique, a sovereign state.
The placing of this article in Notícias is probably an attempt by the Nyusi camp to make the point that it is not the PGR, but Credit Suisse, that is pursuing Guebuza.
Peace agreement in Mozambique cannot be renegotiated, says EU diplomat (Lusa)
The peace agreement signed in 2019 between the Mozambican government and opposition party Renamo cannot be reopened or renegotiated, the European Union’s ambassador to Mozambique has told Lusa. The dissident Renamo Military Junta faction led by Mariano Nhongo, which has been carrying out attacks in the centre of the country, is demanding the renegotiation of the agreement and the resignation of the party president, Ossufo Momade. António Sanchez-Benedito said that Renamo committed itself to peace in the agreement, and could not be held hostage to the demands of a minority group. He warned that there was a window that was still open for Nhongo to be part of the disarmament process, for which the EU has already provided €62m ($73m) of funding, but that if Nhongo took too long, he would miss the chance.
It is not unusual foreign diplomats to discuss the domestic politics of Mozambique, much to the annoyance of the more “nationalist quarters” within the Frelimo party. However the statement from the UE representative can be considered “friendly fire” since it backs the signatories of the peace agreement and increases the chances of Nhongo being considered a marginal factor.
Government submits amended budget to parliament (Rádio Moçambique, Lusa)
The government asked for parliament to approve its amendment of this year’s budget on Friday, as the deficit has grown to MZN158bn since the budget was approved in April. Finance minister Adriano Maleiane told journalists that the main reason for the deficit was covid-19, but that there were also increased needs in defence and in adapting healthcare and education to the conditions created by the virus. He said the deficit would be managed with external support and budgetary reserves. Mozambique has requested $700m from foreign donors to fight covid-19. By September, it had received $414m in aid, which should be incorporated within the amended budget, Maleiane said. The amended budget also lowers the GDP forecast for 2020, from the 2.2% projected in April to 0.8%.
More refugees fleeing Cabo Delgado insurgency arriving in Pemba and Namialo (O País, O País)
The town of Namialo and the city of Pemba, in the provinces of Nampula and Cabo Delgado respectively, continue to receive people escaping from the insurgent attacks in northern Mozambique. Namialo has received a total of 8,500 people and has four accommodation centres currently hosting 1,600 people. The World Food Programme is the main partner providing food for the displaced, but because the need is so great, other humanitarian and religious organisations are also providing support. Pemba receives hundreds of refugees from Cabo Delgado daily, some of whom are hosted by family and friends, while others still do not know where they will live. One of them said: “I don’t know where I’m going, much less what we’re going to eat. But it is better to be here than to live in fear every day”.
The insurgents’ attacks on Mucojo at the start of October provoked a very large movement of refugees, some of whom are only now arriving in Pemba having stayed on islands along the way. Despite the arrival of international organizations, support is scarce and there are conflicting views between the government and the international organisations on how to manage the flow of refugees. One of the fears of the government is the potential presence of insurgents within the groups arriving in Pemba and other parts of the region.
Schools improvement project restarted after contractors’ bids questioned (AIM)
The government has had to restart the process of upgrading water supplies and toilets in schools to improve their hygiene conditions, public works minister João Machatine has said. The works are intended to allow schools to reopen safely with covid-19 prevention measures. Machatine said that “countless irregularities” had been found in the contractors’ bids and their bills of quantities. As a result, he said, the project had been redesigned with new terms of reference and new requirements. Machatine said that plaques found installed in schools, which claimed an incorrect value of work that had been carried out, were being withdrawn and replaced, and that inspection teams were checking the work done. He said that there was no estimate for the cost of the work, previously estimated at MZN3.5bn. ($47.6m), due to the redesign of the project and the fact that the scope of the work needed only became known when the works began. Machatine warned that there was a risk of the works not being of the necessary quality if time and price were prioritised.
The government seems to consistently have difficulties controlling the budget and quality of the work it contracts, and it seems bidders have taken advantage of this for the rehabilitation project. It remains to be seen if the beneficiaries are mainly affiliated to the Frelimo party, as is often the case.
Police seize 343kg of heroin and crack in northern Mozambique (Lusa)
Mozambican police seized 158kg of heroin and 185kg crack cocaine on Wednesday night in Nampula province. The drugs were found in the false bottom of a lorry container during a routine inspection at the Ribaue district checkpoint. It is the largest amount of hard drugs ever seized in the province, according to a police spokesman. The drugs, which were in one-kilogram packages, came from Cabo Delgado province and were destined for Tanzania, according to the police. Two Mozambicans, aged between 35 and 40, one of who is currently living in Tanzania, were detained. The police, who are still investigating the case, believe they are dealing with a drug trafficking network.
It seems strange that a lorry coming from Cabo Delgado and travelling to Tanzania would be stopped in Nampula, but perhaps this is evidence of the insurgency disrupting the usual drug trafficking routes. It is possible the cargo was coming from Angoche in Nampula province, a new alternative route for drug trafficking, a detail that may be being hidden by police.
More details on Beira basin expansion (Notícias)
The expansion of the vessel manoeuvring basin at the port of Beira will cost $1.9m [NOTE: not $190,000 as reported by Radio Moçambique and repeated in the Zitamar Daily Briefing on 15 October]. The project should help vessels manoeuvre safely, including ships with dimensions between 260m to 300m, raising it to international requirements and standards. The expansion will also increase the cargo terminal’s capacity from 119,312 to 205,830 cubic metres and remove 2,5m cubic metres of sediments in the basins. The works will be carried out for CFM by Emodraga — Mozambican Dredging Company.
- MRG Metals said that it had received preliminary approval from the National Institute of Mining to acquire two new exploration licenses, 6842L and 6846L, near its existing Corridor Central and Corridor South licenses in Gaza province (see here)
- The National Institute of Statistics issued its economic activities index for June 2020, reporting an increase in “economic activity” of 5% compared to June. The result was influenced by a rise in revenue of 5%, a rise in employment of 0.4% and a fall in pay levels of 5.6% (see here)