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Renamo to begin dismantling military base in Inhambane today; SADC prepares response to terrorism in Mozambique

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 30 November, 2020


  • Tomorrow: Council of Ministers’ weekly meeting

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Two more fatalities bring covid death toll to 130
Mozambique announced another 107 cases of covid-19 over the weekend  — all through local transmission — and 46 recoveries

Today’s headlines:

  • Renamo to begin dismantling military base in Inhambane today (Notícias)
  • Former Renamo member of parliament shot dead in Niassa (AIM)
  • Flood response plan still not ready, despite rainy season (O País)
  • No military aid to come from European Union (O País, Lusa)
  • South African revives Executive Outcomes mercenary business (The Sun)
  • SADC prepares response to terrorism in Mozambique (AIM)
  • Jihadist insurgency is paralysing economy in Cabo Delgado (VOA)
  • Cross-border travel rises again after South African border reopened (Rádio Moçambique)

Renamo to begin dismantling military base in Inhambane today (Notícias)
Opposition party Renamo is expected to begin dismantling its military base in Mabote district, Inhambane province today, as part of the process of disarming and reintegrating former guerrilla fighters. The dismantling is expected to affect about 160 former guerrillas. This is the third base to be closed after the Savane base in Dondo district and the Muxúnguè base in Chibabava district, both in the province of Sofala. The disarmament process, which began in June, is expected to be concluded between August and October next year, covering 5,221 fighters stationed in different parts of the country. So far, just over 1,100 guerrillas have been demobilised. In Q1 of 2021, the process will be extended to the provinces of Manica and Tete.

Former Renamo member of parliament shot dead in Niassa (AIM)
A former member of parliament for opposition party Renamo and another unnamed woman have been shot dead in the city of Lichinga, in Niassa province, AIM reports, citing a report on TV channel STV. Rosa Chukwa, 56, was travelling in a private vehicle in the centre of Lichinga when it was fired on at point-blank range. Provincial police commander Arnaldo Chefo said that the killers had been hired to carry out the shooting, but did not know why. He also said that their getaway car had not been identified, but witnesses say it was a Toyota Hilux. Chukwa served as a Renamo deputy in the Assembly of the Republic from 2000 to 2005, before joining the MDM, another opposition party. While Renamo’s spokesman said that Chukwa had not had any dealings with the party since then, Domingos Gundana, a senior party member in Niassa, contradicted this, saying that she had returned to the party recently, but as a supporter rather than a member. Chukwa’s son, Mateus Torres, posted a message on Facebook accusing Renamo leader Ossufo Momade and his supporters of ordering the killing. Gundana said that this made no sense, as Chukwa had not been politically active in Renamo for many years.

Flood response plan still not ready, despite rainy season (O País)
A month before the end of the first phase of the rainy season, many people remain in areas at risk of flooding, because the government has still not completed its annual evacuation and resettlement plan. Luísa Meque, the director of the National Institute for Disaster Management, blamed lack of funds as the reason why more than half of the 10 high-risk districts in the provinces of Gaza, Inhambane, Zambézia, Nampula, Cabo Delgado and Niassa were still to be mapped. The institute has promised that the work will be completed by December. Meque would not say if money had been secured to finish the plan, but said that, in general, the government was still waiting for contributions from international donors to carry out its contingency plan.
It is strange that a natural disaster plan has not been completed at this point, even if funding is a problem. But the challenge posed by the war in Cabo Delgado may be be why the new director is struggling to fulfill her duties.

No military aid to come from European Union (O País, Lusa)
The European Union (EU)’s ambassador to Mozambique has reiterated that the regional body will not provide military aid as part of its support in the fight against terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. António Sanchez-Benedito Gaspar said that the EU would strengthen the Defence and Security Forces’ capacity to enable them to end the insurgency on their own. The EU was already providing humanitarian aid to refugees who had fled the conflict and strengthening basic services, Gaspar added. The EU has spent €15m ($18m) so far on counter-terrorism in Mozambique. Meanwhile, Lusa reports that the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee will debate the insurgency on 3 December.
Military aid may yet come from some EU members, if not from the EU acting en bloc.

South African revives Executive Outcomes mercenary business (The Sun)
A mercenary business, which The Sun calls “one of Africa’s most notorious private armies”, has been revived by its South African co-founder who previously fought in northern Mozambique, the British tabloid newspaper reports. Eeben Barlow said on Facebook that his group Executive Outcomes was back in business, 20 years after it was disbanded. The firm, which Barlow founded in 1989, helped African governments crush revolts in Angola and Sierra Leone in the 1990s, but it closed following criticism from South African president Nelson Mandela. “Executive Outcomes will once again provide successful African solutions — by Africans — to African problems,” Barlow wrote.
This newsletter reported two weeks ago on the reestablishment of EO — which Barlow announced on his Facebook page on Friday. He has since taken to Facebook again to call The Sun’s article ‘disinformation’ — mainly, it seems, for the suggestion that Simon Mann was involved in establishing EO. Barlow claims he reestablished his company after “some African governments asked me to reactivate Executive Outcomes (EO).”

SADC prepares response to terrorism in Mozambique (AIM)
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) committed on Friday to “urgently” considering what support to offer to Mozambique in response to the growing threat of terrorism in Cabo Delgado province. The statement was issued at the end of a summit of SADC’s so-called Organ Troika that took place in Botswana last week. It did not go into details about what kind of support was being considered. The summit, where Mozambique was represented by defence minister Jaime Neto, also discussed the reorganisation of the regional troops deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
SADC is hardly acting ‘urgently’ with respect to Mozambique’s insurgency which is now over three years old and spans the border with another SADC member state, Tanzania. The sending of defence minister Jaime Neto to the Gaborone summit is an indication that Nyusi doesn’t really take SADC seriously as a potential partner in this fight — otherwise he himself would have gone, or at least interior minister Amade Miquidade who is the minister leading the prosecution of the war, rather than Neto.

Insurgency is paralysing economy in Cabo Delgado (VOA)
Almost all economic activity in Cabo Delgado province has been suspended as a result of the insurgency in the northern province, according to the provincial government. Nocif Magaia, the province’s director of industry and commerce, said that terrorist attacks had made movement on roads and accessing industrial sites very difficult. He pointed out that Montepuez Ruby Mining had not held any auctions this year and that investments such as a new cement factory had been delayed. Magaia added that the insurgency was also affecting the cashew nut industry, one of the province's main exports which employs 265,000 people. According to Magaia, some traders and businessmen have moved to the safer south of the province. Meanwhile, the resettlement of refugees that sought shelter in the city of Pemba began last Thursday, with the first phase covering 38,000 families. The families will be moving into plots of land in the province’s southern district of Ancuabe, where they will have space for farming and building new homes.
It is the covid-19 pandemic, rather than the insurgency that has led to the delay of ruby auctions, as there has been no reported insurgent activity in the district of Montepuez, where the ruby mine is located. Montepuez has been receiving large numbers of displaced people trying to flee the war.

Cross-border travel rises again after South African border reopened (Rádio Moçambique)
The reopening of the border between Mozambique and South Africa for tourism purposes has led to a resurgence of movement across the border. There were 14,800 people passing through the Ressano Garcia border crossing last week, according to figures from the National Migration Service. The figure is down by 32% compared to the same period last year, a spokesman for the service told a press conference.
To encourage tourism, the Migration service has resumed visa stamping at the border for SADC citizens. But would-be visitors from further afield are struggling more than ever, Zitamar understands, with embassies and consulates having to seek Senami approval for every visa they issue.


  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced that it was signing a memorandum of understanding with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) on Monday, which would allow the government’s priorities for agriculture in Mozambique to be included in the NGO’s next 10-year plan. AGRA provides advice, research and training to support small and medium-sized agriculture businesses
  • MRG Metals announced the results of a second phase of aircore drilling at the Poiombo target of its Corridor South heavy mineral sands tenement in Gaza province. Eleven of the 12 holes drilled returned total heavy mineral assays of over 30m at 3.75%, the company said. Chairman Andrew van der Zwan said in a statement: “The consistent high grade results demonstrated here at Poiombo [are] a clear indication to MRG that we are sitting on another potentially significant asset which is demonstrating the ability to contain a high grade resource.” (see here)

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