ASI 2006 Reports – Mozambique – Sandra Mussagy

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The Republic of Mozambique is a Southeastern country that shares borders with Tanzania, Malawi, Azania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Swaziland. These borders were actually defined by the British and the Portuguese at the end of the 19th century, so we don‘t recognize them.

In the beginning of the 20th century, they settled in the colonial capital, which today is Maputo. By the 1930s, the Portuguese had imposed direct rule over Mozambique.

In the ‘50 and ‘60s, they actually had a program where they were inviting the Portuguese from Portugal to come to Mozambique where they would be attracted by the golden opportunities that they would find there at the expense of our people.

Soon afterwards, some exiled activists that were opposed to the Portuguese colonial power started to organize themselves. They started having meetings in Tanzania to form the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO).

Frelimo was first headed by Eduardo Mondlane, and they began the war of independence. They started by taking control of much of the North of the country. But the Portuguese only decided to leave after there was a “coup d’etat” in Portugal on April 25, 1974.

The new Portuguese government supported autonomy for the colonies, or maybe I should say they supported a new structure that could accommodate neocolonialism because that is what they really supported.

In 1975, Mozambique became independent, but as part of the neocolonialism scheme. The Portuguese left the country in a state of chaos with few skilled professionals and no infrastructure.

FRELIMO started ruling under a single party system with leader Samora Machel, but they killed him in a plane crash.

After the death of Samora Machel, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) came into the scene as an anti-FRELIMO resistance group. RENAMO was actually established by white Rhodesia as part of a destabilization policy. Later it was supported by white South Africa, the ANC, and also by certain sectors in the West.

When Samora Machel was killed, Joaquim Chissano became president, and in 1990 there was an amendment of the constitution to put in a multi-party political system. FELIMO and RENAMO began talks, and in 1992, the peace deal was signed.

In 1999, we had the first elections. There was controversy about the votes, and the international observers said that FRELIMO was the winner.

In 2004, they chose Armando Guebuza over Chissano. Because of all of the corruption they had to put someone else in front of the party, and they chose Guebuza.

Guebuza is a very rich businessman and he came into power in 2005 after defeating [Alfonso] Dhlakama, RENAMO’s candidate. So now we have Guebuza in power and we have a situation where they say Mozambique is one of the most developing countries in Africa. But I ask, developing for who?

Is it a developing country for the poor peasantry and the working class? No, because they are in the same situation as they were before.

Guebuza promised to fight corruption, bureaucracy, and poverty, but I am pretty sure he is not going to do that because it is not in their interest to do that. They are stressing maintenance of good relations with Mozambique’s neighbors, with white power in South Africa, and maintenance and expansion of ties to develop partnerships within the western world.

Relations with Portugal continue to play an important role in the economy — which is to say that they are taking all they can.

So, after the peace deal, a lot of Mozambicans that were in other countries went back to Mozambique. Mozambique is the country in Africa that has the largest movement of Africans coming back that were in the western countries or the other neighboring countries.

A lot of Portuguese settlers have deserted Mozambique but a lot of them stayed. I can tell you, there is no white person that I know of in Mozambique that does not belong to the upper class of the society.

If you go there and see a young boy that looks white, maybe with blond curly hair and blue or green eyes, don’t be fooled. If that boy is walking around in a poor neighborhood or begging on the streets, he’s not a white boy.

“Everyone in Mozambique knows that for you to have access to good health treatment, you have to rely on bribes — even to give birth to a child.”

He’s just one of the victims of the rapes that happened when the United Nations forces were there to “maintain the peace agreements” that were made in Mozambique in 1992. I call it “hate rape.”

If you come into a country where the majority of the people are living in underprivileged conditions, a country that experienced atrocities and a war of destruction for more than a decade and you walk around showing your U.S. dollars to young women that don’t have access to the most basic needs, you are forcing them to engage in a situation of no choice. To me, that is rape. (Applause)

At the moment, Mozambique is said to have an economic reform that is expanding seven to ten percent per year. Basically, what is happening is there are major foreign investment projects.

They say there is a revival of the agriculture, transportation and tourism sectors, but in reality, the more than 75 percent of the people who engage in small agriculture still suffer from inadequate infrastructure.

Eighty-eight percent of the arable land in Mozambique is uncultivated. Why? Because the people that are supposed to cultivate the land are left without any support.

The inflation actually reduced from 70 percent in 1994 to less than five percent in 1998-1999. We had some big floods in 2000 that caused the inflation to jump to 12.7 percent that year, and it was 13 percent in 2003. We have 1,200 state-owned enterprises that have been privatized. They intend to privatize or do sector liberalization with the remaining parastatals — for example, telecommunications, electric, and ports and railroads — all with foreign investors.

The port of Maputo is 51 percent owned by a British company called Mersey Docks and Harbour Company, and it is one of the largest ports operators in the United Kingdom (UK). The rest belongs to a Swedish company and the Mozambique government. So at the end, what percentage do you think actually belongs to Mozambique?

So, Mozambique is very popular with international donors because they claim that Mozambique is a politically stabilized country with very democratic policies and no threat of war. But it is just hypocrisy because the reality is that people are struggling and living in bad conditions.

In terms of education, under the Portuguese, 93 percent of the population was illiterate. Many could not speak Portuguese. Most of the political leaders there were actually educated in missionary schools.

Also during the 16 years of civil war, most schools were destroyed and many teachers were killed. Which left us with a shortage of schools, a shortage of qualified teachers, and we don‘t have enough textbooks for our children. Schools are full to the bursting points and children are forced to study seated on the floor.

In terms of health, the public hospital is a joke. Everyone in Mozambique knows that for you to have access to good health treatment, you have to rely on bribes — even to give birth to a child.

If you want the nurse to take good care of you, you are going to have to bribe. If you have an accident, you are going to spend hours in the emergency, and if you don’t bribe someone they are not going to tend to you.

There are a lot of problems like AIDS, cholera and malaria. No one is concerned with these problems. They say it is a developing country.

I just want to say that I believe that the ASI is the only party that can actually overcome this situation. Not only in Mozambique, but all over the continent. That is why I have joined the ASI.

That is the only way we are going to go forward. We need to organize, We need to unite. People say to me “Why don’t you come and vote?” That is not my government. There is no party I can trust in. Why should I vote, you know? I am going to vote for the ASI! (Applause)

Uhuru! Izwe Lethu I Afrika!

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