UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE
Edition #11 1 December 1997
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REINTRODUCTION OF CONSCRIPTION: RENAMO BOYCOTTS GOVERNMENT'S BILL
The main opposition political party Renamo has boycotted the on-going parliamentary session in protest against the government bill re-introducing military conscriptionThe Renamo parliamentary group abandoned the session room of the Assembly of the Republic, after the majority group of Frelimo passed the law in general terms. The Renamo members of parliament insist that the reintroduction of military service in the country cannot be sustained due to the economic situation in Mozambique.
Despite Renamoís attitude, Frelimoís parliamentary group and the Democratic Union went ahead with the programme on the day, which consisted of the discussion of the document and its specifications. Approval of the bill was then made through a vote:Frelimo with 125 in favour and Renamo voting 103 against with the coalition of small parties that form the Democratic Union refraining. Just after the vote, Renamoís spokesman, Manuel da Fonseca, followed by the leader of the parliamentary group of the maim opposition party, Raul Domingos, said that the reintroduction of military service should be on a voluntary basis due to the current economic situation that the country is facing.
"We are not against military service but we think this service should be on a voluntary basis so as to enable the country to have and raise a strong army, with a sense of discipline and combativereadiness," said Renamoís spokesman. He added that Renamo was in favour of a Mozambican defense force consisting exclusively of volunteers. Renamoís position is not against military service but rather against making it compulsory, it was said during the controversial dispute.
In Maputo, the capital, the comment of the ordinary person in the street was that if a referendum on military conscription was held in Mozambique now,the government bill would fail. Many say they do not want their children to die in an army that does not offer decent living standards and conditions.
Raul Domingos said Renamo wants the military to be non-partisan, professional and strong, with great mobility and combat readiness. He accused Frelimo of wanting an army with undisciplined troops, hungry and in rags, such as has been the reality in the past.
The head of Renamoís group went on to say that Frelimo wanted an army of the poor commanded by rich and powerful children. He claimed that the government bill was a carbon copy of the Portuguese law on military service and urged Frelimo to withdraw it and allow for a full scale debate on conscription.
In fact, the Frelimo majority parliamentary group does not give strong reasons to back its position on the bill. One of its most prominent members, Sergio Vieira, justified the partyís vote on the grounds that the defence of the country is the responsibility of all its citizens. Therefore, he said, military services should be compulsory
Another Frelimo parliamentarian, Edgar Cossa, described Renamoís attitude as an old anti-democratic trick and urged Renamo to accept the vote of the majority in parliament.
1.CRIMINAL GANGS BROUGHT TO HEEL
Mozambican police have crushed 214 gangs of criminals in the last nine months. Police commander Alfredo Sitoe said this while addressing a meeting of policemen in the Mozambican capital , Maputo. He also that a large quantity of arms and drugs were seized in this period.
Mr Sitoe said that police recovered stolen vehicles, wheat flour, sugar, building materials, hi-fi and television sets, video players, computers and money, and that all the recovered property had now been handed back to the owners.
During the meeting he mentioned policemen who are either in detention or have court cases pending for being involved in criminal activities. In a related development, the police in Maputo have arrested a man suspected of belonging to a group of alleged forgers. The police found blank identity cards, a driving licence, 12 passport photographs and a number of other documents.
2.CHISSANO RECEIVES AFRICA AWARD FOR PEACE
Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano received the Africa Award for Peace at a ceremony held on the 1st November in Durban, South Africa.
The South African president Mr. Nelson Mandela presented the award awarded to Mozambique by the African Centre of Constructive Resolution of Conflicts (ACCORD), based in South Africa.
More than 100 Mozambicans travelled with Chissano to Durban, to attend the ceremony. The Africa Award for Peace is given to personalities and countries who have distinguished themselves in the protection of human rights, peaceful resolution of conflicts and good governance.
3. IMF SATISFIED WITH MOZAMBICAN PROGRESS IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
The director for Africa of the International Monetary Fund, Mr Evangelos Calamistsis has expressed satisfaction with Mozambiqueís progress in its economic development. Calamistsis visited Mozambique recently for talks with government officials and financial institutions.
In a courtesy meeting with the prime minister, Dr. Pascoal Mocumbi, the IMF official encouragedthe Mozambican government to promote more programmes aimed at increasing this economic progress.
4.PM SAYS BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS CHALLANGES FOR ALL
The prime minister of Mozambique, Dr. Pascoal Mocumbi, has said that human rights, freedom of expression and association, good governance and the culture of peace, were practices and challenges for all Mozambican society. Dr Mocumbi was addressing national and foreign personalities during the international forum of the Global Alliance for Africa, held recently in Maputo.
The meeting focused on issues related to development and political transition in African countries and their importance in the consolidation of democracy.
5.EL NINO AFFECTS AGRICULTURAL CAMPAIGN
There will be a reduction of about 50% in agricultural production mainly in southern and central regions of the country this season, as a result of the influence of El Nino.
USA has contributed an unspecified amount to a fund for the production of roots and tuber crops in the affected regions. The coordinator of the USAID programmes in Mozambique said that the fund provided was aimed at increasing crops and plants resistant to drought such as sweet-potatoes and cassava.
The Early Warning System Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has said that Manica province has lost about 75% of grain crops due to drought.
6.MOZAMBIQUE DEBT TO RUSSIA STILL UNDER NEGOTIATION
The reconciliation process of the Mozambican debt to the former Soviet Union is not yet concluded and there is still a balance of US$250 million.
This information was given by the minister of planning and finance, Mr Tomas Salomao, during a meeting with organizations which debate matters related to Mozambique's debt to other countries.
According to Mr Salomao, the reconciliation process with other multilateral creditors was concluded.Among them were the World Bank, the IMF and the African Development Bank
Mozambique's overall debt to Russia is estimated at around US$2.3 billion.
7.642 TO RECEIVE COMPENSATION FROM SA MINE INSURERS
Relatives of more than 800 Mozambican workers killed or injured in South African mines have started receiving compensation.
The payment is being made through a joint cooperation between the South African insurance company ARON MOTORY and the Mozambican government.
The spokesman from the Mozambican side, Victor Zacarias, said that 642 people who lost their bread winners in South African mines would be benefitting from the compensation.
8.MORE LANDMINES DEACTIVATED
More than two thousand landmines have been deactivated since the beginning of 1997 in the area surrounding the Corrumana dam, in Maputo province.
The landmines clearing in the area is run under the auspices of a South African company and funded by the Italian government.
Last week, the Italian ambassador to Maputo, Mr Hugo de Mor, and the deputy governor of the province, Eneas Comiche, took part in the activity where two devices were destroyed.
The landmines in this area were laid during the 16 years war, to protect the infrastructure against attacks from the former rebel movement, Renamo.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Tue, 02 Dec 1997 09:02:20 +0100 Subject: MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE #11 Message-ID: <email@example.com>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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