Maputo — Mozambican Defence Minister Atanasio M'tumuke declared on Monday that the participation of young Mozambicans in the current military registration could contribute to the defence of national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He was speaking at the formal launch of the 2019 military registration campaign in the town of Gondola, in the central province of Manica.
All Mozambicans, both men and women, who celebrate their 18th birthday in 2019 are supposed, by law, to register for military service in the first two months of the year. Yet the target figure for the registration given by M'tumuke was just 170,000 (and not 192,000 as was mentioned last week).
The projections made by the National Statistics Institute (INE) indicate that over 604,000 Mozambicans reach the age of 18 this year. The Defence Ministry has thus set a target that is only 28 per cent of the real figure of 18 year olds.
The target is the same as last year's, which was surpassed massively. In 2018, the final registration figure was 277,693 - which was still only 47 per cent of 18 year olds in the country, and suggested that deliberately low targets are set to ensure that they will be fulfilled.
"Last year we had the same target of 170,000 youths. We exceeded it", said M'tumuke. "This year we expect to register more youths since we note that there is a high level of growth of patriotic awareness among young people. In an exemplary fashion they are understanding, with responsibility, the importance of complying with their patriotic and civic duty in the development of Mozambique".
He said that registration will also depend on parents and guardians who should make their children aware of the need to register for the defence of national sovereignty.
M'tumuke urged 18 year olds themselves to make their way en masse to the registration centres, as soon as possible, rather than leaving registration to the last day."Let's register while we still have time", he said. "Don't leave everything to the last minute".
The Manica provincial governor, Manuel Rodrigues, pledged that the province will approach the military registration with great responsibility. He urged the young people of Manica to comply with their "duty of citizenship, for the defence of the motherland".
One of the "marks of national unity", said Rodrigues, was the participation of Mozambicans in the defence of national sovereignty.