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Zitamar Week in Review, and Week Ahead

A look back at a big week for energy news, and forward at the start of the hidden debts trial

Finance minister Max Tonela and deputy Attorney General Angelo Matusse giving a joint statement in Maputo this morning. Photo: Faizal Chauque / Zitamar News

Good morning. As journalists, we know something about playing fast and loose with deadlines (Exhibit A: this very late newsletter). But Mozambique and Credit Suisse are proving themselves the real experts. On the night before opening statements were due to be given in the long-awaited London ‘hidden debts’ trial, Swiss bank UBS announced that it had reached a deal with Mozambique on behalf of Credit Suisse, which it acquired earlier this year.

"The parties have mutually released each other from any liabilities and claims relating to the transactions," UBS said in a statement, saying the two sides had now “resolved this long-running dispute," without giving further details.

This morning, we learned that the agreement covers all of the creditors on the ProIndicus loan, to whom Credit Suisse syndicated part of the loan. We will bring subscribers more details on the settlement as today goes on.

Today’s hearing, due to start around about now, could therefore begin with an adjournment, particularly since Privinvest, the other main party to the proceedings, on Friday won the right to appeal against the judge’s decision to grant immunity to President Nyusi. Privinvest’s statement about that is available for download below, and on our Telegram channel.

Zitamar understands that Credit Suisse’s legal team was scheduled to give its opening statements tomorrow afternoon and Wednesday morning. That much at least will now not happen. So the start of the trial could in theory be put back a day, and still end the week back on track. But the various parties may need more time than that to recalibrate their strategies, given the last-minute developments.

Back in Mozambique, this coming Wednesday is a public holiday for Peace Day, the anniversary of the peace accord which ended the civil war with Renamo in 1992. But the day has become clouded by being also the six-year anniversary of two sad events in Mozambique: the killing of Nampula mayor Mahamudo Amurane, and the start of the violent insurgency in Mocímboa da Praia.

Last week was a busy one for energy news. On Wednesday, we reported that TotalEnergies is aiming to restart work on its project to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) production facility in Cabo Delgado province by the end of the year.

Chief executive Patrick Pouyanné said: “The situation has clearly improved because the governmental forces supported by other countries, in particular Rwanda, have taken back the situation.”

TotalEnergies looking to restart Mozambique LNG ‘before year end’
CEO Patrick Pouyanne said Mozambican and allied forces have ‘taken back the situation’ in Cabo Delgado, in presentation in Paris on Wednesday

The Mozambique Oil and Gas Summit took place in Maputo on Wednesday and Thursday.

One – from the event was the news that TotalEnergies aims to supply up to 1,000MW of electricity to South Africa from its proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG)-to-power project in Matola, Maputo province.

TotalEnergies in talks with South Africa to sell electricity from Matola LNG
South Africa represents a promising market for Mozambican power

This week also marked the official start of campaigning for the municipal elections, which take place on 11 October. On Tuesday, Mozambique’s big three political parties, Frelimo, Renamo, and MDM, held rallies in Beira, which you can read more about in our selection of newsletter highlights below.

As always, our picks of the week from our subscriber content are excerpted below. And if you enjoyed this email, please do forward it to a friend or colleague.

Week in Review


Public Holiday


A vicious start to campaigning
The official launch of the local elections campaign has been marked by partisan violence and inflammatory language

There are no expectations for an overall opposition victory in the upcoming municipal elections. All the combined parties cannot compete with the resources at the hands of Frelimo, the control of administrative instruments, the propaganda machinery and, at the voting day, the capacity to rig results as documented in previous elections.

Still, the municipalities in Nampula and Zambezia provinces, which are a traditional Renamo stronghold, Beira and Marromeu in central Mozambique, and the cosmopolitan municipalities like Maputo and Matola will be hard for the ruling party to win.


TotalEnergies to restart work on Mozambique LNG
Plus the latest news on the start of the municipal elections campaign

All of Mozambique’s big three political parties, Frelimo, Renamo, and MDM, sent their biggest hitters to the city of Beira on Tuesday for the start of the municipal elections campaign — a sign of the importance the city has to them all, and how hard-fought the election there will be.

Both Frelimo and Renamo see a chance to win Beira in the first election since the death of the MDM founder and leader, Daviz Simango, who ran the city from 2003 until his death in February 2021.

President Filipe Nyusi is remaining above the fray for now, but the party’s secretary general, Roque Silva, featured at Frelimo’s rally yesterday. And Nyusi played his part, too, by dismissing Stela Zeca from her position as secretary of state for Sofala province, freeing her up to run as Frelimo’s candidate for mayor of Beira.


Energy investors’ optimism
Despite a lack of a firm announcement on Mozambique LNG, the mood in the energy sector in Mozambique is upbeat
The Mozambique gas and energy summit is over for another year, with delegates leaving with a general sense of optimism despite little concrete to hold on to. The biggest news came from Paris, of course, with TotalEnergies’ announcement that they are looking to restart work in Afungi before the end of the year; even that, however, was framed as an aspiration, and not a commitment.
Conspicuous by its absence was any talk of future oil and gas discoveries. The national petroleum institute, INP, chose this week to publish a new map of wells which have been drilled in Mozambique since the institute’s inception; but there are no marks on the map for areas which are supposedly under exploration now. As we reported last month, drilling off Angoche has apparently been a failure, which is putting a dampener on hopes of another big find in Mozambique.
The oil and gas sector, for now, is still waiting for an announcement on Mozambique LNG. Our latest information is that this will come towards the end of next month. But there is an undeniable optimism in the energy sector more broadly.


Another ‘tuna bond’ trial set to get underway
Trials in New York, Maputo, and London all come at the scandal from different angles, but justice for Mozambicans will remain elusive

The terrorist insurgents in Cabo Delgado province are likely to intensify their attacks in the coming days, defence minister Cristóvão Chume has said. Chume explained that this would particularly be as an act of revenge for the recent killing of insurgency leader Ibn Omar. “[W]e are expecting some escalation in terrorist attacks, but we guarantee that we will continue fighting them,” Chume told a seminar on counter-terrorism on Wednesday. He confirmed that the 12 peasants killed at Naquitengue in Mocimboa da Praia district last week were beheaded. Chume added that it was necessary to increase international cooperation in order to target the insurgents’ use of money laundering and their links to Islamic State in the Democratic Republic of Congo.