Maputo — Like any self-respecting country, Mozambique can only be built “with a long term vision”, declared President Armando Guebuza on Friday night.
Speaking at the closing session of a three day National Cadres Conference of the ruling Frelimo Party, Guebuza said that “a self-respecting country is not built with politicians who regard our people as a simple statistic. A country that respects itself is built with politicians who live and identify with the people's cause”.
Frelimo, he argued, consists of “patriotic politicians” - but the country also contained “unpatriotic politicians” (whom he did not name) who, when they think of power, are only intent on taking it “and reversing the gains of the people”.
Patriotic politicians, however, “think of power as a mechanism to achieve a project linked to the people, leading them to value and multiply their gains”.
Unpatriotic politicians, Guebuza said, “always think of the next elections as a full stop”, while the patriotic politician “thinks of elections as landmarks in building a better life for the present and future generations”.
“Unfortunately, in our country we have cases of people who think that commitment to the country is measured by their ability to manipulate sectors of the population for immediate gains”, he continued. “Elections are the natural ground for unpatriotic politicians since they provide moments in which incendiary speeches and irresponsible promises can disguise their incapacity to articulate a true, sustainable national project”.
The trump card held by Frelimo, and by its presidential candidate, former defence minister Filipe Nyusi, declared Guebuza, “is that we are patriotic politicians committed to the agenda of our very special people”,
“If the national liberation struggle had been waged by unpatriotic politicians”, he added, “we would still be sunk in the long colonial night”.
The unpatriotic politicians would look for scapegoats, he warned, accusing Frelimo of responsibility for everything that went wrong in the country, “as if our mistakes in governance were deliberately planned policies and programmes”.
He accepted there had been mistakes made by Frelimo governments, “but only those who are genuinely working can make mistakes”.
The unpatriotic politicians, Guebuza said, would complain that in the few decades since Mozambican independence, the country should have become fully developed, “as if there is any country in the world which has solved the challenge of unemployment, and is satisfied with the current solutions for distributing national wealth”.
Unpatriotic politicians needed scapegoats, he continued, because they did not want to do any hard work, and instead “want to distract us from what is essential in our agenda, and in the aspirations of our people. They want us to stop working and stop solving the problems facing the Mozambican nation”.
He urged Frelimo members to be firm in rejecting such accusations. “Our voices must be raised so that they are heard by our own members and by our heroic people who, in every electoral cycle, confirm us as their legitimate representatives”, Guebuza declared. “Our voice must be heard above the voices of those who have no idea how much it costs to build a nation”.