UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE/MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE
Edition #9 13 October 1997
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A fortnightly update of news from Mozambique!
In this edition:
RED TAPE AND CORRUPTION
1. GOVERNMENT, îMAJOR PROTAGONIST IN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSESî
2. MOZAMBIQUE TO NEGOTIATE DEBT ìFORGIVENESSî
3. CRISIS WITHIN RENAMO?
4. LOCAL ELECTIONS DATE CONTROVERSY
5. CPLP ATTORNEY GENERALS CONFERENCE
6. TSETSE FLY PLAGUES MOZAMBIQUE
7. LANDMINES CONTINUE TO CLAIM VICTIMS
8. CRIME INCREASE ON MOZAMBIQUEíS ROADS
FEATURE RED TAPE AND CORRUPTION
Some diplomats in Mozambique have called on government to set up its reform programme by first dealing with red tape and corruption.
They were speaking during a national conference on the Mozambique public sector held last month in Maputo and sponsored by the British governmentís Department for International Development and the United States Agency for International Development, USAID.
British and American diplomats called for urgent and drastic reductions in the bureaucratic requirements of official regulations across the whole spectrum of commercial and industrial activity in Mozambique. Official procedures must be simplified and speeded up if trade is to flow and productivness increase, they said.
British High Commissioner, Bernard Everett, pointed out that routine shipments of raw materials for industry can be held up for weeks because of the need to shuffle bits of paper around. ìIt takes twelve hours to drive a goods truck from Johannesburg to Maputo. But it can typically take six weeks to obtain the necessary documentation to comply with current Mozambican regulations,î he said.
He also doubted whether plans for the Maputo development corridor - which involves attracting much more South African business to Maputoís port than at present - can be successful when it takes a trader eight months to obtain a routine port warehouse operatorís licence.
Mr Everett also pointed to the responsibilities of private businesses, notably to the payment of taxes. The government had a duty to provide health and education services and to set the macro economic framework, but this all had to be paid for somehow. He advised Mozambicans not to imagine that foreign donors would go on paying for everything.
The hard truth is that increasingly the main method of financing government programmes has to be through taxation, Everett said. ìIt is, therefore, the duty of the private sector to cooperate with government, in particular by paying its taxes and operating within the legal frameworks.î
The countryís business associations must express the views of their members but must not allow themselves to become mouthpieces for the minority who might shout the loudest, he warned. ìThey must tell the government where they think things are going wrong, but they must also educate their members into fulfilling their fiscal and civil responsibilities and should take a vigorous line with those who persist in acting outside the lawî.
He said it was the governmentís responsibility to provide a level playing field for fair competition in a state economy. Everett urged the government to create an administration which is results and not procedures orientated.
American charge-díaffaires, Ms Carmen Martinez, struck a harsher note with a forthright attack on corruption, which she described as a transfer of wealth from the poor and the weak to the rich and powerful.
The Mozambican government announced that it has eliminated one of the most ìirritatingî of the countryís many bureaucratic procedures, this being the need to make any application on official paper bearing fiscal stamps subject to oneís signature being witnessed by a recognised by a notary public.
In future, the government has said, applications can be written on normal paper and no trip to a notary is necessary. Instead, the application can be handed to the relevant civil servant, who then checks the applicantís identity by simply looking at an identity card or passport.
Some members of the economic association expressed pleasure in the measure saying it was excellent news for anyone who has ever had to queue up at one of only three notarial offices in Maputo.
Many other participants, however, were caught by surprise as it seemed that no one knew that the rules had been changed. Although the decision was taken months ago, it has never been published. As result civil servants continue to reject applications and requests unless they are accompanied by signature recognised by a public notary.
It would seem that red tape is still alive and well.
1.GOVERNMENT,îMAJOR PROTAGONIST IN HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSESî
ìGovernment is the major protagonist of several human rights violations in Mozambiqueî This was written in a report published last week by the Mozambican League for Human Rights (LDH). LDH is headed by Ms Alice Mabota, and its 56 page report is the first one of its kind in the country.
One of the problems pointed out in the report is the situation regarding jails in Mozambique. Prisoners live in appallingconditions, without beds, blankets, reasonable food or reasonable conditions of sanitation.The cells also accommodate many more prisoners than they should creating even more problems.
According to the report, no distinction is made between prisoners: murderers held together with petty criminals, civilian prisoners with those of the military, sick with the healthy.
The LDH report states that it received 97 complaints related to domestic violence, 131 on labour, 21 on housing, 14 on land tenure conflicts, just to name a few. All the complaints have one thing in common and that is that most of them have become bogged down in the legal institutions.
According to the Report, the League also received 52 complaints on Human Rights violations attributed to the police. These included, shooting, torture and illegal detentions.
2.MOZAMBIQUE TO NEGOTIATE DEBT ìFORGIVENESSî
Mozambique is to negotiate its debt with Russia until the end of this year. The negotiation follows the Russiansí admission to the ìParis Clubî.
Mr s TomYensSalom"o, the Mozambican Minister of Planning and Finance, said that by general agreement the figures to be taken to the negotiations table is US$2.3 billion, largely related to military debt. Mozambiqueís global debt stands at around $5.3 billion USD.
After a meeting in Hong Kong of the World Bank, the IMF and the G7, Mozambique was declared eligible for the HIPC Initiative.
3.CRISIS WITHIN RENAMO?
ìThere is no crisis inside Renamo,î the party leader, Mr. Afonso Dlakama has said. Dlakama broke the silence on Mr. Luis Gouveiaís allegations on troubles inside the party.
Recently, in an interview to ìDEMOS,î a local newspaper, Mr. Gouveiasaid that Renamo was near to disintegration, due to a deep crisiswithin the party.
Afonso Dlakama, talking about the issue for the first time, has made the assurance that there is no crisis in the party. ìMaybe they are referringto a personal crisis. My brother passed away two weeks ago,î he said.
The rumours often circulate in Mozambique that all is not as it should be inside Renamo with some blaming Dlakama for the problems. They say this is because he did not agree to hold internal elections in the party, and link this to the postponement of the scheduled Renamo national meeting which had been due to be held this year.
4.LOCAL ELECTIONS DATE CONTROVERSY
Renamo wants local elections to be held in the first quarter of 1998, as stated by the leader of the party, Alfonso Dlakama.
Electionswere scheduled for 27 December, but it is believed that parliament, which is due to meet 28 October, will definitely postpone them. The reason for this is linked to the disagreement on the date in many sectors. December 27 has even been described as the ìHangoverî elections falling as it does between Christmas and New Yearís Eve.
Afonso Dlakama said that his party wants elections before 15 February 1998, while Frelimo and the UD Coalition are talking about May 1998.
Meanwhile, and for the first time, the National Electoral Commission (CNE), has said that conditions are impossible for elections in December due to the delay in the electoral registration. ìThe electoral law says that electoral registration should be done 90 daysbefore elections,î said a CNE spokesperson, and also said that ìmoney for the process promised by some donors, has not arrived yetî.
5.CPLP ATTORNEY GENERALS CONFERENCE
CPLP (Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries) attorney generals gathered in Maputo reaffirmed the importance of the procuratorship in the democratic legality defense.
They also reaffirmed the necessity for their autonomy and especially the need to do their job without the interference of ëother powersí.
The attorney generals outlined the importance of the ìpublic ministryî intervention against abuse and arbitrariness in defense of citizens affected by illegal acts.
During their debates the attorney generals paid special attention tothe customary law and the traditional law in social conflicts resolution.
6. TSETSE FLY PLAGUES MOZAMBIQUE
The national director concerned with the welfare of cattle, Mr. Fernando Songane, has said that he recognizes that there has been a reduction in stocks of cattle in the country during the last few years due the existence of the Tsetse Fly. Only last year, Mozambique reactivated the campaign to combat the Tsetse Fly, after many years of interruption due to the war.
The programme has the support of a technical team from Zambia which works in the regional Programme (SADC), against the fly and the disease that affects the cattle.
According to the Minister of Agriculture and Fishery, Agostinho do Ros.rio, 75% of the country is affected by the fly. Mr do Ros.rio was speaking in Maputo at the 24th International Scientific Conference for the research and control of AFRICAN TRYPANOSOMIASIS (Sleeping Sickness.
In Mozambique, only the southern part of the country is almost free from the Tsetse Fly, and it is known that at least 10 million square metres of sub-Saharan countries are affected.
7.LANDMINES CONTINUE TO CLAIM VICTIMS
Five people died, victims of landmines, from October 1996 to February 1997, in the Mopeia and GuruÈ districts, ZambÈziaprovince.
Handicap Internationalís national coordinator, Mr. Ramos Inguane, said that duringthe last 12 months 120 areas were discovered and marked where there are landmines.
The districts of Mocuba, Milange, Morrumbala, Lugela and Namarroi are the most affected regions of ZambÈzia province.
8.CRIME INCREASE ON MOZAMBIQUEíS ROADS
Crime is again on the increase on the roads of Mozambique. Four man assaulted mineworkers at gun point at Chimondzo, South Mozambique, as the workers were being transported by truck. They tortured the mine workers and stole their belongings. The mineworkers were returning home after their term of work on the South African mines.
At Nampula, a trader was killed while driving at night on one of the regionís roads. Two weeks ago, another trader, coming with goods from South Africa, was shot and killed while travelling on the Ressano Garcia Road( from the south African Border to Maputo).
These are just two of the many cases of increased crime on the roads, especially towards people driving at night.
A police spokesperson, Mr. Nataniel Macamo, talking to the Press last week, could not say anything specific about what the police are doing to overcome the situation. ìWe are aware of the situation and we are doing something. What that is, I cannot tell you, as this would interfere with the work,î he said.
However, the situation, especially on the Ressano Garcia Road, is regarded as strange by motorist. This is because there is a already a special battalion of police in the area to protect the road and rumours circulate that crimes could be linked to those in the policehierarchy.
From: AfricaNN@inform-bbs.dk (Africa_news Network) Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 09:47:49 +0200 Subject: MOZAMBIQUE NEWS ONLINE #9 Message-ID: <email@example.com>
Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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