"If I were president, my concerns would be different. Cabo Delgado would be high on the agenda. I would be talking about this every day. I would delegate other functions. To inaugurate a school, I have ministers, vice-ministers, prime minister. I would dedicate myself to a cause that really affects national sovereignty. It is necessary to find effective results very urgently and not to minimise a problem like this," said António Juliasse, the new bishop of Pemba.
The original interview (in Portuguese) was published on 27 April by Observador (Lisbon) but is behind a paywall, on http://bit.ly/PembaBishop-Obs. But a free copy is posted by Macua.blogs on http://bit.ly/Pemba-Bishop-Macua
"If you ask a young person which way the country is going, there is great dissatisfaction. If you ask them about their future, they find it difficult to say anything about it. In my opinion, clear paths must be shown: in which direction we are going. When you see that a few are benefiting more and more and so many other young people don't have the possibility and don't see these possibilities, they are vulnerable to all sorts of things."
"How can a corrupt person fight against himself?" The Bishop was particularly critical of corruption at the top. "In practice corruption spreads further and further, reaching the highest spheres. … This cannot be hidden. Everyone knows it. In several mandates, the presidents of Mozambique have proposed to fight against corruption in a forceful manner. Instead of fighting, things got worse and worse. Everyone understands this, the evil has been diagnosed for a long time. But you don't see an effective fight. Sometimes it is very difficult for the one who is in the problem to fight against himself. How can a corrupt person fight against himself?"
G7 calls insurgents ISIS but also stresses root causes
The G7 Foreign and Development Ministers meeting in London discussed Mozambique. They issued a balanced statement, callings the insurgents "an ISIS affiliate" but also calling on Mozambique and the international community "to tackle the root causes and drivers of conflict and instability." The G7 is the seven most industrialised countries, and the EU foreign minister joined the discussions.
The full paragraph on Mozambique is: "We are deeply concerned by the escalating conflict in Cabo Delgado, and the increasing terrorist attacks by an ISIS affiliate. We urge Mozambique to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses and violations in Cabo Delgado. We encourage Mozambique to continue to work with the international community to resolve the humanitarian impact of the insurgency and to tackle the root causes and drivers of conflict and instability, and to prevent a further escalation of violence. In this regard, we welcome the Government of Mozambique’s work to respond to the humanitarian and security situation in the north and for the Government’s timely consideration of international support. We express our solidarity with the Government of Mozambique and its people in standing up to violent extremism."
"Timely consideration of international support" is thought to be a prod to Mozambique to accept SADC and other military support proposals.
US says it trains Mozambique "to defeat ISIS"
A dozen US Special Operations Forces soldiers on Wednesday (5 May) completed two months of training Mozambican marines "on tactical skills, combat casualty care, marksmanship, and executing a mission while avoiding damage to civilians and property". The press statement for the US embassy continued: "This training exercise reflects the United States Government’s commitment to support the Government of Mozambique’s efforts to defeat ISIS." A second training exercise will be held in July.
At the margins of the London G7 meeting on 5 May US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor. A US State Department statement said they "underscored the need … to cooperate on climate ambition and regional security issues such as the ongoing violence by ISIS-Mozambique. "
Guebuza-Nyusi battle becoming more open
The intense battle between current President Filipe Nyusi and former President Armando Guebuza for control of Frelimo - and thus of the choice of the next President and of substantial resources - is becoming more open and public.
Isalcio Mahanjane, one of the Guebuza family lawyers, on 24 April posted on Facebook a note headed "they distracted us with the tuna and stole Cabo Delgado from us", blaming Nyusi for the Cabo Delgado war. Convoluted as only Mozambican writing can be, Mahanjane seems to accuse Nyusi of creating the mess in Cabo Delgado, and creating the secret debt crisis to cause a distraction to cover his actions. The implication is that Guebuza's secret debt project would have created a coastal protection system, which Nyusi stopped, and intervened in other ways that caused the war. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100007004417468
This newsletter's editor has also been dawn into the dispute. The front page of Magazine Independent is a response to my comments in a CIP webinar suggesting that ending the war requires negotiations between the big beasts in Frelimo - both to end damaging internal fighting in the military and government, and to agree between the oligarchs to take a smaller cut and allow more money to go to job creation as a way of ending the war. This issue is not regime change, but change within the Frelimo regime - a change from confrontation to some kind of modus vivendi at the top.
This also triggered a response for the Nyusi praise singers. Chief praise singer Egidio Vaz on Facebook 4 May accused me of "disinformation" and being a "mercenary". He says my interest is "in dividing Frelimo for the sake of 'regime change'. The last few weeks, Joe has purposely said a lot of wrong things, including the idea that the gas project was a monopoly of the Frelimo party 'elite'."
Apprentice praise singer Lenon Arnaldo argues that "Frelimo should not allow a foreign citizen to speak about the country and its leaders based on assumptions/rumours, which ultimately aim to create instability or social upheaval in the country, to set in motion the western agenda: REGIME CHANGE".
In fact, the issue is not regime change. Rather it is change within the regime, to stop the destructive hostilities inside Frelimo.