Maputo — The machinery of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party "has been captured by a handful of members who are responsible for the erosion and perversion of what it means to be in Frelimo', according to Graca Machel, former education minister, and widow of the country's first President, Samora Machel.
In a letter addressed to Frelimo, and published in Tuesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique', Machel said "we ceased to implement the principle of unity - criticism - unity, which had always guided us, and we left part of the administrative machinery of the party in the hands of an interest group with its own agenda, which acts in the name of Frelimo, but against Frelimo'.
Party cadres, she accused, "allowed the Party to be confused with this part of the administrative machinery infiltrated by a handful of members with commitments contrary to our Statutes and Programme'.
Although not everybody in the Party machinery had betrayed Frelimo, "the influence of the faction I am referring to led to the loss of the sense of family, the idea that Frelimo belongs to all its members, and that the leadership machinery, all of it, serves the interests of the organization as a whole'.
"The inertia, inaction and complacency of the Party's cadres', Machel added, "allowed the consolidation in Mozambican society of the narrative that Frelimo, our Party, consists of arrogant people, thieves and murderers'.
She thought it urgent to rescue "the true identity of Frelimo, its history, its traditions and its practices. It is urgent to rescue our DNA'.
Machel therefore supported the proposal, already floated by some other Frelimo members, to hold "a National Cadre Meeting, so that, collectively and openly, we may reflect on the life of the Party, and open new paths to recover trust, credibility and respect'.
"The critical phase that the Party is going through imposes humility upon us, so that we accept our responsibilities, and win back legitimacy in the eyes of our people', she said. "The humility I mentioned necessarily involves recognizing the mistakes made by Frelimo, and, if necessary, apologizing to the people'.
It also involved "distancing ourselves from the minority group which has seized part of the Frelimo machinery'.
In an oblique reference to the October municipal elections, Machel added that the necessary humility "involves recognizing and accepting victories where we won honestly, and recognizing and accepting any defeats'.
At stake, she concluded, "is our survival as Frelimo, the party of the people!'