Verdade (Maputo)

25 September 2013

Mozambique: Guebuza and the Eternal Dilemma of His Succession

analysis

In June 2002, during the course of the 8th Congress of Frelimo, which was considered a "transition in induced childbirth", Guebuza was elected, for the first time in the history of the party that has directed the destinies of Mozambicans since the independence, as Secretary General and automatically as a candidate to succeed Joaquim Chissano.

On the eve of this event, which took place at the school of Frelimo's Central Committee in Matola, the name of Helder Muteia, considered Chissanos's "Dauphin", was echoed as his likely successor. The Guebuza result, with 95.2 percent of the vote, confirmed him as the next Frelimo candidate, thus replacing Manuel Tomé as the Secretary General. It was about two years before the 2004 elections.

At the moment, with approximately 13 months until the general elections scheduled for 15 October 2014, Guebuza's successor remains unknown; a fact that is raising diverse speculations; one being that Frelimo, with the majority power and under total command of Armando Guebuza, could change the constitution (of which a debate on a possible revision is currently underway) and the current president would remain for another term.

In this analysis, we look between the lines of the unknown to unravel the mystery that is causing many sectors to feel goosebumps.

What mystery is this?

Since the introduction of multiparty democracy in Mozambique, which came by way of the 1990 constitution, and its first elections four years later - two years before the governments of Frelimo and Renamo signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Rome, Italy - Joaquim Chissano was at the helm of Frelimo, which before had had other non-“presidential” Secretary Generals.

The characteristic of the Chissano government in the last years of his term was marked by technocracy. Chissano capitalized on the youth with technical trainings in order to carry out their five-year plan. Because the Constitution establishes a two-term, non-renewable limit, Chissano came to the end of his limit naturally, but nevertheless without Frelimo achieving a qualified majority.

In the two years that Guebuza was Secretary-General, he managed to reorganize party offices during his country-wide tour, that some Frelimo hosts considered forgotten by Chissano. At that time, Chissano was deemed to have disconnected himself from the country and established an "air office."

And so Guebuza was "enthroned" as the new president of the country in 2005 and, of course, also became president of the party .In 2009, during Frelimo's 9th Congress held in Quelimane, Chissano was given the title of "honorary" president.

The "boom of natural resources"

The chancellorship of Armando Guebuza was clearly marked by the "discovery" of mineral resources that could possibly put the country on the route of development.

But often enough it has been said that President Guebuza is an entrepreneur with a wide range of business interests. The files regarding mining in Mozambique, as some civil society organizations have denounced, remain under wraps. This means the person governing is who has privileged access to these files.

Since coming into power, there is information supporting the view that the President can stay in power by way of a constitutional amendment to be likely made by the party that he directs. The citizen Armando Emilio Guebuza, through the Intellectual Holdings to which he is affiliated, has teamed up with Shree Cement Limited and created the ECM - Mozambique Elephant Cement Limited, which is engaged in "Mining of limestone and other minerals."

Tobias Dai is a former Defense Minister, the brother of the First Lady, Guebuza's brother-in-law, is a partner of Tantalite Holdings, a company dedicated "to the mining of tantalite and associated minerals." The company was established in 2008. Guebuza was already in power.

Valentina da Luz Guebuza is the daughter of President Armando Guebuza and his uncle Joseph Dai (Tobias Dai's cousin) formed Servicon Limited in 2008, which is aimed at the mining business.

Guebuza's son, Ndambi Armando Guebuza, created the Intellectual B.A.C. - Business Advisory & Consulting Limited, which is linked to Intellectual Holdings and also has interests in the mining sector

These references point to the possibility that if Guebuza does not indicate his successor (the route is through the Central Committee) the situation will thicken when resources such as coal, gas, and perhaps oil should begin to "gush" when he will no longer be on the presidential perch and when the companies are no longer in front of him.

Be it noted that on June 26 last year during the Rio de Janeiro summit, President Guebuza dined at Murilo Ferreira's home, the President of the multinational Vale do Rio Doce company, which is operating in Mozambique.

This event, dining at the home of the president of a mining company, took place during an official State visit and was denounced in the national and international press.

The "procession of Hossanas" to President Guebuza praised by certain media is another sign that the mysteries around his succession are becoming more obscure.

Although Guebuza has said publicly that he will not run for office again, at the rate that he is becoming exalted his reappointment through an amendment to the constitution will not surprise anyone. So like in the movies: it was the will of the people that asked him to continue....

Is Feliciano Gundana his successor?

In the first half of this year and during a presidential visit to the Republic of China, it was reported that President Guebuza will announce the general Feliciano Gundana as his "successor" to the presidency. Gundana currently serves the government as Minister for Affairs of the Civil House.

If this does happen, it means that Armando Guebuza, who holds the presidency of the party and will keep it even if living outside of the Ponta Vermelha presidential palace, will continue leading the destinies of the country. By the time of general and multiparty elections Gundana will be 74 years old, born in 1940, and is part of 25th of September generation that still runs the country. We will see, it's what we're here for.

Translated By Francisco Chuquela.

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