Mozambique: Nyusi Checks On Preparations for Papal Visit

His Holiness Pope Francis

Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday declared that the signing of a peace and reconciliation agreement with the former rebel movement Renamo, and the impending visit of the head of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis, constitute "a blessing for Mozambicans".

He was speaking to reporters in Maputo at the end of a visit to the national stadium in the outlying neighbourhood of Zimpeto, to check on preparations for the Pope's visit. The visit will culminate, on 6 September, in a mass celebrated by Pope Francis in the stadium. The government has announced that the day will be a public holiday in Maputo city and province to encourage attendance at the mass.

Nyusi declared that Mozambicans will enjoy the fruits both of the papal visit and the peace agreement, which will pass into law when it is approved by the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, next week.

"We are blessed because the Holy Father is coming at a time when we are celebrating our Peace and Reconciliation Agreement", said the President. "We continue to urge all Mozambicans to protect this baby, which is our baby, so that it can grow up well for the future of our country and of our children".

Nyusi also visited the Maxaquene Sports Pavilion, which will be the scene of an "inter-religious meting" between the Pope and young Mozambicans on 5 September.

At both places, he was assured that the work is on schedule, and everything will be ready for the papal visit. He told the press he was satisfied, because the Mozambican company charged with the work, Multipla Ltd., was confident that it would be finished within the deadline.

Indeed, Multipla spokesperson Emidio Njinze said he expects everything to be complete by 25 August.

At Zimpeto, an altar for the mass is being installed, while at the Maxaquene pavilion there will be a stage and a pulpit from which the Pope will guide the meeting. The lighting, the paintwork, the seating areas, and the bathrooms are all being improved.

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