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Zitamar Week in Review, 25 February-1 March 2024

Plus: subscribing to Zitamar News is more accessible than ever

Photo by Laxmish Nayak / Unsplash

Hello dear readers. We start with some good news for you: buying a subscription to Zitamar News is getting easier, particularly for corporate entities, who can now buy multi-user subscriptions online, and independently manage the list of subscribers. Please visit to see how this works.

For clients who want all of their colleagues to have access, we have also introduced the Institutional Subscription, which will give access to anyone on the same email domain — for example, You can buy this through the regular sign-up portal,

We are also introducing a very special offer to academic institutions and other non-profits without the means to purchase Zitamar Pro at the full price. Please email to check your eligibility for this, and to learn more about the terms and conditions.

At the same time, we have switched our default currency to the US dollar, though we can still accept sterling, euros, and of course meticais. To pay in any of those currencies, please email

Now, on with the Week in Review!

TotalEnergies bets on restarting gas project, while counter-insurgency operations continue
Intelligent news from Mozambique

Don't miss our Editor at Large Fernando Lima's latest dispatch from Cabo Delgado, published late on Friday afternoon

The process for selecting presidential candidates for October’s general elections is in full swing within Mozambique’s political parties. In Frelimo, where current President Filipe Nyusi’s endorsement will be the largest indicator of future candidacy, agricultural minister Celso Correia is tipped as his preferred candidate. Correia has not been put in charge of the election campaign, which suggests Nyusi is reserving him for more important work. In Renamo, Venâncio Mondlane is tiring with the party’s increasingly weathered leadership under Ossufo Momade, with much of the leadership overstaying its five-year term. Mondlane claims Momade is currently trying to eliminate potential rivals before the party convenes in the second half of April to choose his successor, and has turned to the courts to annul Momade’s decision to remove him from the party’s parliamentary front bench. 

Meanwhile, in Cabo Delgado province, the toll taken by the insurgency is becoming clearer, with figures published by the International Organisation for Migration showing that 60,000 people have been displaced in the space of just two weeks. These figures come as the Southern African Development Community withdraws its military mission from the province, highlighting the importance of international efforts to combat the insurgency. 

Another report published this week details the negative environmental effects of certain mining projects in Mozambique, which need to be weighed against the industry’s undeniable contribution to economic growth. The report found that Chinese mining companies in particular can cause serious environmental damage and carry out abuse on workers — often facilitated, as Zitamar explained, by their ties to ruling party Frelimo. 

Have a great weekend.

Week in Review


The struggle for Renamo
A dangerous precedent for Mozambican democracy, or an important precedent for the rule of law?
Venâncio Mondlane, the telegenic politician in Maputo, has clearly run out of patience with the current leadership — which is, he points out, already past the 10-year term it was elected for. The party’s National Council is only due to meet in the second half of April, and in the meantime, Mondlane alleges, the leadership of Ossufo Momade is moving to weaken those, like Mondlane, who have thrown their hat in the ring to challenge Momade for the leadership.


Up in the air: the race for Mozambique’s next president
Ruling party Frelimo is getting closer to selecting its presidential candidate, but the winner remains unpredictable
Mozambique’s ruling party Frelimo is inching closer to selecting its candidate for the 9 October presidential election, who is all but guaranteed to be the country’s next president. A meeting of the party’s Central Committee has been scheduled for 5-6 April, where the candidate is likely to be selected. Zitamar News understands that the party’s Political Commission is also planning to hold a retreat this weekend where members will talk about the criteria to be shortlisted as a possible presidential candidate, and possibly about particular names.


The wrong time to quit Cabo Delgado
The regional forces now leaving the province are still vital to containing the insurgency
The full impact of the recent wave of insurgent attacks in Cabo Delgado province is now becoming clear. According to the latest figures from the International Organisation for Migration, close to 60,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the space of two weeks as a result. If it was not clear before, it is clear now that Mozambique cannot afford to lose the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s military force from the province. Units that form part of that 2,000-strong force, which is known as Samim, have already begun to leave the country.


The high cost of mining
Failure to act on abuses by Chinese mining companies will fuel prejudice
Mozambique’s mining sector is growing out of all proportion to the economy: its economic output grew by over 38% in the first quarter of last year, in a national economy growing in single digits. Mines bring the promise of improved living standards for local communities, in the form of jobs, infrastructure funded by the mining company, resettlement in improved housing and the sharing of a portion of tax revenue with the community. According to a report out yesterday from the NGO the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), some mining firms are giving the lie to this promise.


Post-Idai rebuild lies in ruins
Financial and governance failures have wrecked plans to rebuild homes after Cyclone Idai
The inhabitants of central Mozambique met with terrible misfortune when Cyclone Idai swept through the region in 2019, killing in the region of 1,000 people and affecting close to 2m in total, thanks to its path through the urban area of Beira. Tens of thousands of people were left needing new homes. Five years on, it seems that the inadequate efforts at reconstruction constitute a disaster of their own. As we report, only one-fifth of the 15,000 new homes planned for Sofala province have been built, leaving many families living in makeshift shacks or the ruins of their existing homes.