7 December 2012

Mozambique: Guebuza Denounces 'Professional Agitators'

Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday attacked "professional agitators" who "acting in bad faith, and in the name of friendship with the poor are sowing an atmosphere of intrigue among Mozambicans, alleging that only some people are benefitting from natural resources and from wealth".

Speaking in the southern city of Matola, at the opening on the Sixth Congress of the Organisation of Mozambican Workers (OTM), the largest trade union federation in the country, Guebuza named no names, but he seemed to be thinking of certain foreign organisations.

"There are countries where, because of this kind of intrigue and gossip, tribe fights against tribe, and religion against religion, and they are there taking the resources", he accused. "And then they come here saying that the gulf between rich and poor is widening".

To contradict this kind of message, Guebuza called for a unity of efforts to create wealth and improve living conditions. He stressed that there is the potential for wealth creation, but until the opportunities are exploited that potential is worth nothing.

"A lot of people talk and we hear them say that the wealth doesn't reach everybody", the President continued. "It's true. But the problem is that wealth is built - all the potential is there, but while we don't do anything, while we don't bring housing, electricity, and roads through hard work, they won't come of their own accord".

A peasant farmer night have land, a hoe, hunger and the motivation for food – but the food would not appear until the farmer produced it. Likewise fishermen had to make sacrifices, and had to face the dangers of the sea, in order to produce fish. Only what is produced, Guebuza stressed, can be distributed.

"Today we talk everywhere about natural resources, and some say they only enrich certain people", he continued. Claims like this were sometimes made out of ignorance "but there are those who talk like this out of malice".

Guebuza recalled the enormous effort required to resume coal mining in the Moatize coal basin in Tete province. Under colonial rule, and in the first nine years of independence, coal was mined, but never more than 500,000 tonnes a year. Then came the war of destabilisation, and the apartheid backed Renamo rebels destroyed the rail system that transported the coal.

"Where there had been railway tracks, trees were growing, and when we rebuilt the railway, employing thousands of workers, so that the coal could be extracted in greater amounts, they said that only a few people are benefitting", he said. "All this is to create contradictions among us. It is a powerful weapon with the purpose of dividing us".

"Now they say there's gas, but only a few people are benefitting", he continued. "But the gas was always there in the depths. The boats passed above it and nobody knew gas was there until, through science and investment, it was discovered. It's still there, but there are those who say only some people are benefitting. They want to see our society divided, struggling against itself".

Guebuza also praised those workers who were doing all in their power to improve their living conditions, seeking through dialogue with the employers to find ways of increasing productivity and consequently their incomes.

Dialogue, he said, was the means to solve problems and maintain social peace. Through dialogue and criticism, he added, the country's trade unions had always been able to defend the real interests of Mozambicans.

Guebuza urged workers to follow all developments on the labour market and its future requirements. Professional training, he insisted, was a basic need if workers were to face the challenges ahead.

OTM chairperson Carlos Mucareia said there are now 15 trade unions affiliated to the OTM, with a total membership of 128,710. This was 62 per cent of the 207,735 workers in the workplaces where OTM affiliates had trade union committees.

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