23 November 2012

Mozambique: Critics Will Not Blow Government Off Course - PM

Maputo — The Mozambican government is guided by the policies it has designed and will not be blown off course every time somebody criticizes it, Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina warned on Thursday.

"Although we should listen to and take into account all contributions, as a government, we cannot change direction every time someone criticizes us or presents a different opinion. That's not how you govern!", he explained, at the end of a question and answer session with deputies of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.

He added that, if the government heeds criticism from opposition parties, and takes a decision that turns out to be wrong – if for, example the decision costs jobs – it will be the government, and not the opposition, that has to explain matters to the public.

"Governing means being calm enough to explain what has already been explained – such as the renegotiation of contracts", Vaquina added – referring to constant demands from the opposition for a renegotiation of the contracts signed with the multinational companies operating mega-projects.

"Governing means the capacity to go on building roads that are used by everybody, even by those who say there are no roads, and who undertake their social, economic and political activities using infrastructures they say don't exist", continued Vaquina.

"Governing means creating conditions for more schools and listening with patience when people say that the schools where academics, scientists and even the politicians study are no good. Governing means giving the opportunity for education to all, even knowing that some will use their knowledge and heir rhetoric to insult their neighbours and their people", he said.

"At the end of the day, governing means listening to those who really are liars claiming that we are liars", Vaquina added, in a jab clearly aimed at the parliamentary group of the former rebel movement Renamo. "Governing means opening the space for more mass media, radios, television stations and newspapers, and then hearing the opposition, through these media that exist for everyone, saying that there is no freedom".

The government's declaration that the fight against poverty is the top priority for Mozambicans was a call on all Mozambicans "to use their intelligence, their energy and their resources" in that battle, said Vaquina.

Those who claimed that the fight against poverty was not bearing fruit had not understood the government's message that this was a fight in which all Mozambicans "should make efforts to improve their lives".

If the government's investments in health, education, water supply, roads and telecommunications were not complemented by individual and household contributions to improve living standards, "then the fight against poverty will not produce great results", he warned.

Vaquina thanked all the deputies for their contributions during the debate – even the questions from Renamo and from the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) "encourage us to continue our efforts in the battle we wage against poverty".

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