Maputo — Debates at the first congress of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), held in the central city of Beira, on Thursday concentrated on the party’s draft programme, and the policies it would follow if elected to government.
There was sharp debate on these themes, and the press was excluded from the congress hall for some of the sessions.
The MDM President, Daviz Simango, said that the two documents would form the basis for future MDM election manifestos – for the 2013 municipal elections and the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections.
“We have to define in a clear, open and realistic manner what the MDM is offering, as a policy of governance, to the Mozambican people and to the world in the event of victory in the elections”, said Simango. But the debate itself was not open, since the Congress chairperson, Maria Moreno, asked reporters to leave the room.
However, it is known that the debates on future government policies concerned in particular the areas of agriculture, education, health, mega-projects and the management of natural resources.
As for the draft programme, this is organised around eight pillars, including: the strengthening of the democratic state; policy of Mozambican sovereignty and dignity; a more productive and fair economic and financial policy; and a more effective and useful public administration, accessible to citizens.
The programme calls for an “inclusive society”, characterised by reconciliation and unity among Mozambicans, the consolidation of multi-party democracy, and the formulation of a short and long term national development policy.
The programme insists that the sovereign bodies of state should be formed “exclusively in the national interest”, independent of political parties.
In economic policy, the document calls for promoting opportunities for self employment, as well as decent jobs and wages. It also calls for low-interest loans for private businesses in the rural areas.
The programme also calls for thorough-going decentralisation and the active participation of civil society in monitoring the effectiveness of the public administration.
The section on foreign policy looks very similar to the policy followed by the current government. Thus the programme proposes strengthening political and economic relations with the countries of the southern African region, and of the continent in general, and respecting the principles of independence, sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.