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Tanzania deports Mozambican refugees; Government grants house to Renamo leader

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 9 November, 2020


  • Tomorrow: Council of Ministers’ weekly meeting
  • Tomorrow: IESE webinar on identities in Cabo Delgado, with Prof. Rafael da Conceição (UEM) and Prof. Paolo Israel (UWC) at 16:00 Maputo time. Details here

The latest from Zitamar News:

Beira Port tightens ammonium nitrate unloading rules
Ammonium nitrate that was originally destined for Beira exploded in Beirut in August 2020, devastating the Lebanese capital

From the Zitamar Live Blog:

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283 new cases and 330 covid-19 recoveries over the weekend
Death toll still stands at 99, while number of active cases in the country has fallen to 2,060

The best of the rest:

  • Tanzania deports Mozambican refugees (Mediafax)
  • Government discusses counter-terrorism cooperation with Tanzania (VOA, RFI, Lusa)
  • Soldier and veteran arrested for kidnapping and assault in Manica (Notícias)
  • Terrorists kill 270 people in the last three months (AIM)
  • Government grants house to Renamo leader (Savana)
  • Norwegian forestry company abandons Niassa plantation rights to avoid conflict (Rádio Moçambique, AIM)
  • NGOs “excluded from government review of the mining law” (Lusa)
  • Hazardous Hulene landfill in Maputo could be closed within two years (Rádio Moçambique)
  • EU wants to drive jobs and development for Cabo Delgado youth (DW)

Tanzania deports Mozambican refugees (Mediafax)
Tanzania deported around 1,000 refugees to the district of Negomano more than two weeks ago, where they apparently remain. Last week, the local head of the National Health Institute in Pemba said a health team had been despatched to check up on the refugees — and had diagnosed eight of them with covid-19.
It’s ironic that the refugees will have been deported across the ‘Unity Bridge’ between the two countries — when Tanzania is showing anything but solidarity with Mozambique in its fight against the insurgency. Only since the conflict spread to Tanzania — or back to Tanzania, as some theories suggest some aspects of the insurgency originated there —  is the country taking an interest in Mozambique — in the form of expelling refugees, and preventing the export of basic goods to Mozambique, in an apparent attempt to starve Cabo Delgado.

Government discusses counter-terrorism cooperation with Tanzania (VOA, RFI, Lusa)
Prime minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário met with Tanzania’s recently re-elected president, John Magufuli, on Thursday, to discuss cooperation between the countries to fight terrorism in the region. Rosário did not give many details, but said that the countries should work together to fight the insurgency in Cabo Delgado, as the stability of the region depended on it. Analyst Simão Nhambe said that he did not expect the Southern African Development Community to offer much help as it was “a dying organisation, with no concrete action to combat terrorism or the violation of human rights in the region”.

Soldier and veteran arrested for kidnapping and assault in Manica (Notícias)
A soldier and a war veteran were arrested on Wednesday, suspected of being part of a group that kidnapped a Bengali trader and carried out a robbery in the city of Chimoio on Tuesday. According to a police spokesman, they were arrested after robbing another shopkeeper in the Vanduzi district, and an AK-47 rifle and ammunition was seized, supposedly belonging to the Mozambican armed forces. The whereabouts of the abducted trader is not yet known.
This is more evidence that state agents are involved in the current wave of kidnappings. This morning the daughter of the owner of Burako da Velha, a popular restaurant on the N4 in Matola, was also kidnapped.

Terrorists killed 270 people in the last three months (AIM)
Mozambique’s chief of police, Bernardino Rafael, said that terrorists killed 270 people in the last three months. Besides civilians, an unspecified number of members of the Defence and Security Forces were killed, and another 56 were injured. According to Rafael, forces members should commit themselves to tackling terrorism in central and northern Mozambique. Rafael also said that the number of crimes recorded in the first nine months of this year had fallen by 994 compared to the same period last year.

Government grants ‘palace’ to Renamo leader (Savana)
The Mozambican government has granted a property to the president of opposition party Renamo, Ossufo Momade, as leader of the second highest-polling party in the 2019 general elections. It is a three-storey building belonging to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, located at number 248 Rua Kibiriti Diwane, in the Sommerschield neighbood of Maputo, about 100m from the Frelimo party headquarters. The transfer to the new house marks the end of 14 months living at Indy Village Hotel, located in an elite area and paid for by foreign donors since the signing of the peace agreements between the government and Renamo in August 2019. The property is located on a small plot of land with a garage that only accepts two small cars, so the protocol vehicle, a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, is parked in the street.  The annexes are not big enough for all of his security team. A Renamo source told Savana that the house was not decent. The privileges given to the second highest-polling leader have always been controversial. Afonso Dhlakama, the late former Renamo leader, always refused to enjoy benefits from the state, as he never agreed with the election results.
The fact that Ossufo has accepted this house is used as evidence by some in his party to show he is subservient to Frelimo and a government system that is prejudiced against Renamo, in way that Dhlakama would never have accepted (as he never accepted the election results). However, Dhlakama had a house, given by the state since 1992, also in Sommerschild, and with a much higher market value than the one now given to Momade.

Norwegian forestry company abandons Niassa plantation rights to avoid conflict (Rádio Moçambique, AIM)
The Norwegian-owned forestry company Green Resources on Tuesday gave up the rights to develop pine and eucalyptus plantations on 54,000 hectares of land in the northern Mozambican province of Niassa, in order to avoid conflicts over land . The land rights will be transferred to communities in the Sanga, Chimbonila, Ngaúma and Mandimba districts. The United States Agency for International Development will offer around $96,000 to help with the land transfer, Leonardo Abilio, the Niassa delegate of the NGO, the Rural Mutual Aid Association, said. Green Resources, which operates monoculture tree plantations in Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda, has frequently been involved in land disputes with local communities. It has been accused of usurping community land that was mostly used for food production, and of establishing its commercial plantations alongside rivers and other water sources, next to roads and housing, and even inside areas of native forest, AIM reported.
Analysis of the company’s latest presentation reveals it is hanging on to some of its eucalyptus plantations in Niassa, and is developing a veneer production facility with a view to producing plywood in future too.

NGOs “excluded from government review of the mining law” (Lusa)
Non-governmental organisations are being excluded from a review of the new mining law, the Platform on Natural Resources and Extractive Industry (PIE), a coalition of 26 Mozambican NGOs, said on Friday. PIE said that the government was only engaging the private sector, because the state was a shareholder in various mining projects and companies, and its only concern was maintaining its own interests in the industry. It complained of a lack of information about the transfer of mining concession titles, and criticised the lack of clarity around the time it took companies to transfer to communities the 2.75% income they are owed from mining production. PIE also said there had been delays in creating an overall regulatory body for the oil, gas and mining sector. It called for clarification on any mining and oil and gas licences granted in areas of natural conservation and high biodiversity, for gender equality to be promoted in the sector, and for all communities that have been resettled from mining sites to be assured fair compensation.
Mozambique’s mining sector is highly opaque when compared with the petroleum sector (which is itself hardly a paragon of transparency, though there are some bright spots). Mozambique’s state mining company was recently awarded last place in CIP’s extractive sector transparency rankings. Many mining concessions — and some productive mines — are in the hands of politically-connected people, while others are with foreign investors, and in many cases environmental and social impact is not properly cared for or mitigated.

Hazardous Hulene landfill in Maputo could be closed within two years (Rádio Moçambique)
The Hulene rubbish dump in the city of Maputo could be closed in two years, in the light of ongoing studies for the establishment of a municipal landfill in Katembe, the Mayor of Maputo, Eneas Comiche, said on Sunday. The $20m cost of building the new dump will be financed by the World Bank.
The Maputo municipal government has been promising to close down Hulene for years - and strengthened its commitments after a rubbish slide killed 16 people in 2018. However, in 2019 environment minister Celso Correia announced its life would be extended for another 10-15 years, as its harmful effects would be mitigated by introducing the “Fukuoka method” of waste management, a technique developed in Japan to accelerate waste decomposition and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and commonly used in developing countries because of its low cost. It now seems the government is planning to close the site again.

EU wants to drive jobs and development for Cabo Delgado youth (DW)
The European Union (EU) has launched a program called “+Emprego” (more jobs), an initiative that seeks to provide work opportunities to youth in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. The EU opened a European Chamber of Commerce office in the city of Pemba last week, the first of its kind in a Mozambican province. “I am convinced that Cabo Delgado will be the engine of sustainable economic growth in Mozambique... we bet on Cabo Delgado, we bet on Pemba,” the EU’s ambassador to Mozambique, António Sanchez-Benedito Gaspar, said. In the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth, the EU, together with the United Nations Development Programme and the Post-Cyclone Reconstruction Office, has provided fishing materials for 13 associations and 40 fishers such as boats, engines, fishing nets, fish hooks and ropes.

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