25 May 2017

Mozambique: Preparations for Frelimo Congress 'Well Advanced'

Maputo — Preparations for the 11th Congress of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party, scheduled for September in the southern city of Matola, are well advanced, according to the Central Committee Secretary for Mobilization and Propaganda, Antonio Niquice.

Speaking at a Maputo press conference, Niquice said that all the Frelimo district conferences have been held, and the next stage consists of the provincial conferences and the election of Congress delegates which will take place on 10-11 June.

But before those conferences the Central Committee will hold an extraordinary meeting this weekend. The main point on the agenda, Niquice said, will be the political, economic and social situation in the country.

He did not elaborate, but no doubt Central Committee members want to discuss the efforts made by President Filipe Nyusi, in a series of phone calls with Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the rebel movement Renamo, to secure a definitive, lasting peace, and to disband the Renamo militia.

Certainly, the Central Committee would also like to know what is in the audit report drawn up by the London branch of the US company Kroll Associates, which was investigating the security related companies Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management). With guarantees illegally granted by the previous government, under Nyusi's predecessor, Armando Guebuza, these companies, in 2013 and 2014, borrowed over two billion dollars from European banks and are quite unable to repay the money.

Kroll delivered its audit report to the Attorney General's Office (PGR) on 12 May. So far the promised summary of the report had not been made public. If the Central Committee members hope to receive copies of the report before the public does, they may be disappointed. On Wednesday, the spokesperson for the PGR, Orlando Generoso, categorically denied that the report would be given to the Central Committee.

Niquice said that the Central Committee would also discuss, as a statutory requirement, Frelimo's programmatic instruments, such as the party's plan and budget for this year. “We shall also analyse the internal situation of the party, regarding the preparations for the Congress”, he added.

Niquice took no questions - AIM was thus unable to ask for his comments on an extraordinary two page interview given by Frelimo Political Commission member and a former Prime Minister, Alberto Vaquina, to a hostile weekly paper, “Canal de Mocambique”.

Of all the Mozambican press, “Canal de Mocambique” is the most vehemently anti-Frelimo. It thus came as a shock to see that a senior Party leader had agreed to give this paper an interview, and that he should choose the pages of “Canal de Mocambique” to announce his intention to stand for re-election to both the Central Committee and the Political Commission.

Vaquina was also one of the five Party members who sought to become the Frelimo candidate for the 2014 presidential election, but he was knocked out in the first round of voting at the Central Committee meeting held in February-March 2014.

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