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Behind the salaries standoffs

Public sector unrest is piling pressure on president Nyusi at a crucial moment

Today’s front pages in Maputo. Photo credit: Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good afternoon. The saga of public sector salaries continues — with the defence and interior ministries having succeeded in strong-arming the finance ministry into continuing to pay at least part of their payroll as per the old structure, while the new TSU unified salary scale is being straightened out.

Other sectors of the civil service are looking on enviously, as they have not received this special treatment. The deal with the security sector probably means that some “ghost” employees, who don’t exist and whose salaries are taken by corrupt colleagues, will continue to be paid, for at least another month.

The mess is piling pressure on Filipe Nyusi and one of his closest allies, finance minister Max Tonela. As we have noted before, the TSU has been something of an unforced error by the government. And it’s a gift for Nyusi’s enemies as ruling party Frelimo moves into a critical period when it has to choose its candidate to succeed Nyusi as president of the party and the country.

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