Skip to content

Police assassins promoted for killing election observer; Can Mozambique ease South Africa’s power crisis?

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 24 January 2020


Zitamar News has a new sister company: Zitamar Consulting LLP, which offers bespoke political risk and security consulting, in areas such as due diligence investigations, political risk forecasting and security intelligence. To find out more, email


  • Today: Nyusi swears in Secretaries of State

The latest from Zitamar News:

Analysis: Can Mozambique ease South Africa’s power crisis?
With the HCB contract with Eskom expiring  in 2029, and a major 2GW LNG-to-power plant planned in Matola, Mozambique has the chance to reshape energy relations with South Africa

The best of the rest:

  • Police assassins promoted as reward for killing election observer (Savana)
  • Insurgents kill 15 or more soldiers in Cabo Delgado ‘massive attack’ (Moz24h)
  • Renamo promises to start demobilizing guerrillas ‘within days’ (Rádio Moçambique, VoA)
  • Macomia Sheikh taken by government forces still missing (Carta de Moçambique)
  • Insecurity keeps students out of school in Manica (DW)
  • Mozambican economy may grow 4.2% this year (Macauhub)

Police assassins promoted as reward for killing election observer (Savana)
Three of the five police officers who murdered election observer Anastacio Matavele in Gaza in October have been promoted in reward for their role in the killing. Edson Silica and Euclidio Mapulasse are in jail awaiting trial, but Silica was promoted to Sub-Inspector of Police, and Mapulasse to Sergeant, by the chief of police Bernardino Rafael on 27 December. Both men had already told a judge that they had been promised promotions, rather than cash, for killing Matavele. Another assassin, Agapito Matavele, who is on the run and whom the police had tried to claim was a civilian, has also been promoted to Sergeant. The other two members of the gang have not been promoted as they died while fleeing the scene of the crime.
A truly depressing development, which makes clear — if it was ever in doubt — that Mozambique’s police cannot be trusted to keep Mozambicans safe. What a dreadful start to Nyusi’s second term in office. Mozambique’s international ‘partners’ must take note.

Insurgents kill 15 or more soldiers in Cabo Delgado ‘massive attack’ (Moz24h)
At least 15 people have been killed in a “massive attack” by insurgents in the village of Mbau, Mocímboa da Praia district in Cabo Delgado province, on Thursday morning after a failed attempt at attacking their position the night before. The Islamic state have claimed the attack on their official channels, claiming that 22 soldiers were killed, and several others wounded. Moz24’s source says the military base at Mueda received 15 bodies of victims from the attack.
If Moz24’s sources are credible this attack is a massive victory for the insurgents, and completely contradicts new defense minister’s declarations that the military have been doing a satisfactory job in the conflict zones. Analyst Jasmine Opperman warns on Twitter that she cannot as yet verify the attack, however.

Renamo promises to start demobilizing guerrillas ‘within days’ (Rádio Moçambique, VoA)
The process of Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) of Renamo soldiers will begin in a few days in Gorongosa, Sofala province, once the registration of the guerrillas is complete, Renamo’s district delegate, Isac Zeca, told Rádio Moçambique. The delay in starting the process  is because guerrillas "are demanding that they not be demobilised at any price", Raúl Domingos, Renamo’s  chief negotiator in the 1992 peace deal who later fell out with former leader Afonso Dhlakama,
Pressure to speed up the DDR follows President Nyusi's statement this week in London that International community are getting impatient with the process - and need to see progress before they will release the funds to help implement it.

Macomia Sheikh taken by government forces still missing (Carta de Moçambique)
The Defence and Security Forces in Macomia, Cabo Delgado province, have held Kada Sualeh - an influential local sheik - in custody, in an unknown location, since Saturday. He was arrested at home without explanation, when he had just returned from a mosque. Some sources told Carta that he has been accused of recruiting youths into the insurgency, but other sources have said such accusations are baseless, as he has previously publicly condemned the group’s actions and is an upstanding member of the community. Sualeh’s family fear he will never return home, as has been the case with other people taken by the authorities in similar circumstances.
The arrest without warrant, and long-term detention of those suspected of involvement in the insurgency, is one way the Defence and Security Forces have tried to combat the armed attacks in Cabo Delgado. It has led to the death and injury of hundreds of people since October 2017, and appears to have failed to produce any real intelligence about who is behind the attacks. As many security experts have warned, this brutal treatment of civilians in the hands of state forces is in fact a powerful recruitment force for the insurgency. Yesterday was a year since the death of the South African businessman Andre Hanekom, who was accused by the Mozambican authorities of being part of the leadership of the attackers. He was also captured in his home under irregular circumstances and never returned.

Insecurity keeps students out of school in Manica (DW)
Thousands of primary school students in the district of Gondola, Manica province may be prevented from attending classes this year because of the armed attacks in the province by the Renamo’s military junta. Only 3000 students were enrolled for the 2020 academic year, out of the 10,500 expected, as parents move their children away from villages to safer areas, such as the provincial capital, Chimoio. Police authorities says they are working to make sure communities are more secure.
The feeling of fear and insecurity in the area has been heightened by the threat from one of the members of Renamo's self-proclaimed Military Junta, who said at the end of December that new attacks would start when pupils returned to school lessons at the end of January. Police have enhanced security in the province, by patrols along the EN1 and EN6 highways — but not within the communities themselves.

Mozambican economy may grow 4.2% this year (Macauhub)
Mozambique's economy is expected to grow 4.2% this year —  up from 1% last year —  because of the reconstruction efforts following cyclones Idai and Kenneth, and the investment in gas projects, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Development of the LNG projects in northern Mozambique is expected to lead to an average economic growth of 7.8% between 2021 and 2024. The EIU expects Mozambique to slowly regain access to the capital markets, as it recovers from the impact of the hidden debts scandal, but its reputation is compromised as long as it  the loans from ProIndicus and MAM remain unpaid.

Tweet of the Day