Maputo — The Mozambican Defence Ministry on Friday graduated the first 400 “civic service providers” in Maputo, at a ceremony chaired by President Armando Guebuza.
Civic service is an alternative to compulsory military service for young Mozambicans who cannot be absorbed into the army.
Although the 400 youths wore military uniforms, they are not soldiers. They were given three months training - first, basic military training, and then practical and professional training in a variety of areas, including agriculture, carpentry, plumbing and electricity.
Addressing the ceremony, Guebuza said that this group “has the rare opportunity of going down in the history of this institution as the founders of the civic service”.
They would serve as an example for future generations of young Mozambicans, who will be trained to continue the civic service, in order to serve the country.
Guebuza stressed that this training, by bringing together people from all over the country, is a factor in national unity.
“National unity is what we are, it is what makes us Mozambicans”, said the President. “Without national unity, Mozambique would not exist, and could not exist as an independent, sovereign country, building our bright tomorrow in the concert of nations”.
A civil service provider is a promoter of peace, continued Guebuza. “Peace is a precious good, the importance of which transcends personal interests”, he said. “It will be with peace and in peace that we shall continue to develop our beautiful Mozambique”.
“Each of you is an example to be followed by other young Mozambicans”, he said. “This ceremony is like a rite of passage to a new life, a passage to new challenges”.
Guebuza said that the defence of the country takes two forms, military and non-military. Civic service is part of the non-military component, and complements the military form.
He stressed that citizenship “is anchored on the pillars of our Mozambican identity, notably national unity, patriotism, self-esteem, respect and solidarity with other Mozambicans”. It was these values, he said, which had enabled the country to throw off foreign rule.
“These values gave us the capacities to resist and to triumph against the conspiracies that opposed our advance”, he said. “These are the values that guide us in building our better future”.
Guebuza added that civic service providers must be able to awake talent and commitment among communities, in order to guarantee greater use of the resources around them, to overcome the challenges of poverty.
“Being a civic service provider means being willing to serve the people”, he said. “This is a noble mission which requires sacrifice and humility in order to learn constantly from the experiences of others”.