Mozambique: Nyusi Promises to Be 'President of All Mozambicans'

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Mozambique flag.

Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday pledged that he will be "the President of all Mozambicans, regardless of their political views, their ethnicity, race or religion or any other form of discrimination".

He was speaking in Maputo's Independence Square, immediately after his investiture for a second five year term of office.

He thanked, not only those who had voted for him, and for the ruling Frelimo Party, "but all other citizens who did not identify with my programme for governance, and opted for other choices".

"All Mozambicans deserve to participate in the festival of democracy, regardless of their choices", said Nyusi. Differences of opinion would be "an added value in what is our shared destiny - which is to be a nation where all feel themselves at home, where all are part of the same family".

He declared that, in the general and provincial elections held on 15 October, "nobody won, nobody lost, the Mozambican people won, our democracy won. We will work together so that Mozambique grows and accommodates all Mozambicans".

In fact, Nyusi won 74 per cent of the vote in the presidential election, and the ruling Frelimo Party won an absolute majority of 184 of the 250 seats. Nonetheless, Nyusi warned Frelimo against allowing its majority to devalue parliamentary debate. "The other parties represent millions of citizens", he stressed. "Truth does not have a political colour. The truth results precisely from the joint pursuit of solutions and the healthy confrontation of ideas".

"We are not afraid of people who think differently", he insisted. "Thinking differently is a wealth. It is in different thinking that we find alternatives to solve our problems. The key secret for true reconciliation of Mozambican brothers and sisters lies is respect for those who hold different views".

"Democracy and inclusion cannot merely be symbolic words", added Nyusi. "There will be no inclusion, nor any participation of citizens in governance unless each and every Mozambican enjoys equal opportunities of access to basic services, access to justice and to national resources. We shall work hard until such equality is achieved".

"We need a free debate that respects the freedoms and opinions of each Mozambican", he said. "Lies, insults and violence do not build democracy".

Nyusi pledged "to value our ethnic, linguistic, religious and racial diversity", but warned "we shall never negotiate or mortgage our sovereignty".

He recalled that, after taking office in 2015, he had engaged in dialogue with the late Afonso Dhlakama, then the leader of the main opposition party, Renamo. This eventually led to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, passing a package of legislation on decentralisation, and to a general peace agreement which he signed with Dhlakama's successor, Ossufo Momade, on 6 August last year.

Nyusi claimed that the demobilization and disarming of the Renamo militia, and the integration of its members into the defence and security forces, or back into civilian life, is und way, "but we need to boost and consolidate this".

"Peace was, is and will be the absolute priority", he declared - but did not leave any clues as to how he plans to deal with the two foci of armed violence. One of these is left over from Renamo's war of destabilization. A dissident wing of Renamo, calling itself the "Renamo Military Junta", does not recognize the peace agreement, and has threatened to kill Momade.

The second is a brutal insurgency in parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, waged by terrorist groups inspired by Islamic fundamentalism.

Nyusi warned that "transforming the world can only occur when we have the courage to change ourselves. The major constraint lies in ourselves, in our way of thinking, working and judging the world. We need to stop blaming others to explain our own difficulties".

Nonetheless, during the five years of Nyusi's first term of office, Mozambique faced constraints beyond the government's control. Some of these, the President said, were natural disasters (drought, floods and cyclones), and the fall in the international prices of key Mozambican exports.

"These and other adversities tested our resilience. Our capacity to turn obstacles into opportunities", Nyusi added. "We have been able, not only to resist, but also to hold firmly onto the tiller of the boat where we all find ourselves sailing. Our compass or guideline was and remains commitment to the happiness and welfare of all Mozambicans".

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