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Tete coal power promoters hope to be unaffected by China coal project ban; Government approves new Cabo Delgado reconstruction plan

Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 22 September, 2021

The latest from Zitamar News:

Tete coal power promoters hope to be unaffected by China coal project ban
Ncondezi's Hanno Pengilley said that while early stage projects will likely now be shelved, he expects more advanced projects, like Ncondezi, to be honoured

SADC forces capture insurgent training camp
The offensive was launched on 14 September 2021, and was a joint operation with the Mozambican Armed Defence Forces

Cabo Ligado Weekly: 13-19 September 2021
With a focus this week on:

  • Fighting ongoing in the Messalo river valley
  • New information on landmine attack
  • Mixed messages for IDPs

Also in Portuguese here

From the Zitamar Live Blog:

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Mozambique records 134 new covid-19 cases on Tuesday
There were also 226 recoveries, and no deaths

The best of the rest:

  • Government approves new Cabo Delgado reconstruction plan (Lusa, Mediafax)
  • Insurgents kill civilians in Quissanga despite claims that security has been restored (Mediafax)
  • Alleged captured insurgents turn out to be civilians (Ikweli)
  • Water rationing worsens in Nampula (allAfrica)
  • UN’s refugee operations in Mozambique underfunded by almost $9mn (Lusa)
  • Chinese trafficker of seahorses sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment (Lusa, AIM)
  • Environmental NGOs pledge to oppose monoculture plantations (VOA)
  • Most Mozambicans struggle to access justice system, says prime minister (AIM)

Government approves new Cabo Delgado reconstruction plan (Lusa, Mediafax)
Mozambique’s Council of Ministers yesterday approved a reconstruction plan for Cabo Delgado province spanning 2021-24, aimed particularly at areas affected by terrorism. Government spokesman Filimão Suaze said more details would come out when the plan was launched in its own ceremony, but that the plan was expected to be financed through the government’s own money, plus hoped-for funds from “the usual cooperation partners”. As such, no value could yet be put on the budget for the plan. He said, however, that the mechanisms for its implementation had been approved, and that some work was already underway, including repairing power lines and roads in the province.
The announcement coincides with northern development agency ADIN having completed its strategic plan. President Nyusi will visit Cabo Delgado later this week, where he is expected to announce the plan. The new plan announced yesterday could represent the Cabo Delgado part of ADIN’s strategic plan. ADIN has been criticised for a lack of action since its establishment in March 2020; its original head has been replaced with the man who was the Cabo Delgado state secretary. His only achievement so far has apparently been to provide basic materials for displaced people to build rudimentary houses — something which is rumoured to have been started by the provincial government, and which ADIN is now claiming as its achievement.

Insurgents kill civilians in Quissanga despite claims that security has been restored (Mediafax)
Seven people have been killed in the village of Tapara, in Cabo Delgado province’s Quissanga district, allegedly by insurgents on the run from government troops. Another five people were killed last week by insurgents in the village of Namaluco, also in Quissanga. The killings come despite reassurances by the general commander of the Mozambican police, Bernardino Rafael, that security has been restored in the district. The insurgents were allegedly on the run after their bases, in the administrative post of Mbau, were attacked by Mozambican and Rwandan government forces. The killings happened just as Rafael urged refugees to return to Quissanga.
Carta de Moçambique is today reporting even more killings in Quissanga — which is part of the buffer zone supposed to be being protected by SADC forces, while Rwanda’s RDF is involved in the military operations further north, along the Messalo river.

Alleged captured insurgents turn out to be civilians (Ikweli)
A group of people, arrested for being part of the terrorist insurgency in Cabo Delgado province, were not insurgents at all, an investigation by Nampula-based newspaper Ikweli has found. The alleged insurgents were captured by Mozambican security forces in July and paraded on state television news. In fact, the paper reports, they were civilians from the village of Monjane (usually spelt Mondlane) in Cabo Delgado’s Palma district who were caught up in a round-up as Mozambican forces prepared for the arrival of Rwandan troops in Palma. At least one was arrested when returning to Palma to seek food, because he was unable to produce ID when questioned by police. He had lost his ID while escaping from the city. Some of those shown on Mozambican national television in July have since been released, but others remain in custody. [Summary adapted from today’s Cabo Ligado Weekly]
Cabo Ligado points out that it is not clear what, if any, due process protections people arrested in these round-ups are afforded.

Water rationing worsens in Nampula (AIM)
Water supply restrictions are worsening for residents of Nampula province, due to falling reserves in the reservoir of the Monapo dam. Mozambique’s Water Supply Investment and Assets Fund (FIPAG) is starting a second phase of rationing, which will last until November, and include daily reductions in the volume of water distributed during certain hours. FIPAG was advised to further cut the daily supply to 25,000 cu. m by the Northern Water Board, which manages the Monapo dam. Board director general Carlitos Omar told newspaper Notícias on Monday: “As we await the rainy season, we will cautiously guide FIPAG to supply water by areas, in order to ensure that everyone in Nampula has some water, because we think a small amount is better than nothing.” During the first phase of rationing from June to August, water supplied by the dam was reduced by nearly a quarter, from 40,000 cu. m per day to 31,000. Nampula city recorded its lowest ever rainfall between October 2020 and March 2021.
The Monapo dam did reach full capacity earlier this year, however, suggesting the claim on rainfall is wrong. FIPAG appears still to be struggling to get access to the privately-owned dam on the old Matanuska banana plantation, now owned by Jacaranda Agricultura, which it had highlighted as a possible solution to the ongoing problem of supplying water to Nampula.

UN’s refugee operations in Mozambique underfunded by almost $9m (Lusa)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) only has funding for two-thirds of its budget for operations in Mozambique, the Lusa news agency reports, citing a report issued last week by the refugee agency. Of the $25.7m needed to carry out its humanitarian programmes in Mozambique, UNHCR received only $17m, according to the report. The lack of funding comes as Mozambique is facing one of the worst refugee crises in the country’s history, triggered by insurgent attacks in Cabo Delgado province.
Aid agencies operating in Mozambique, including WFP and UNHCR, have long complained about being underfunded, which, they say, significantly impacts their capacity to provide aid to the most vulnerable. In July, WFP said it was forced to cut food rations to Cabo Delgado refugees, due to lack of funding.

Chinese trafficker of seahorses sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment (Lusa, AIM)
A Chinese man has been sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment after being convicted of trafficking seahorses. Liu Rong Wu was also fined 250 minimum civil service wages, equivalent to about $18,400, by the judicial court of Inhambane province. The trial judge, David Foloco, who read out the sentence on TV, also said that the convict would have to pay MZN829,000 meticais ($12,990) compensation to the state. Liu was found in January with nine kilos of seahorses in his home, of which over half were pregnant. Seahorses are a protected animal and some species of them are endangered. The defence said it would appeal the sentence, saying that it was unfair and burdensome, as there was no evidence to justify it.
It is very uncommon for Chinese nationals to be prosecuted in Mozambique, and even more to be sentenced to jail.

Environmental NGOs pledge to oppose monoculture plantations (VOA)
Mozambican environmental NGOs pledged yesterday to oppose monoculture plantations in Mozambique, such as eucalyptus and pine. The promise was made at a conference entitled “How to resist monoculture plantations?”, that brought together organisations from Mozambique, Tanzania and Brazil. Such plantations have harmed peasants in the central province of Manica, who say they were “seduced and abandoned”, after planting eucalyptus and pine trees, under the promise of development, combating poverty and jobs, which never happened, according to a community representative who addressed the online conference. Thousands of hectares have been handed over to companies including Portucel, Green Resources and Moçambique Holdings. An open letter, signed by 730 Mozambicans and 120 organizations from 47 countries, including Mozambique, calls for the suspension of plans to expand industrial eucalyptus and pine plantations in the Global South, especially in Africa — which the signatories say are being planted under the false pretext of reforestation.

Most Mozambicans struggle to access justice system, says prime minister (AIM)
Access to justice remains a major problem for the great majority of Mozambicans, particularly in more remote parts of the country, prime minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário has said. Speaking at the formal launch of the strategic plan for the Public Prosecutor’s Office for 2021-22, Rosário said that efforts were underway to improve the justice system through a number of reforms. He pointed to the building and rebuilding of courthouse buildings, including under the presidential “one district, one court” initiative.
Despite efforts on buildings and personnel, another acute problem is the high prices now charged by courts and lawyers.

Infographic of the Day