Monuments for Samora Machel

Work on the new monuments forms part of a wide ranging programme of commemorations, marking the 20th anniversary of Machel’s death, on 19 October 1986, in a plane crash at Mbuzini, just inside South Africa.

Laying the first stone for the monument in the southern city of Matola, on Saturday, the governor of Maputo province, Telmina Pereira, called for promoting initiatives that would teach young Mozambicans to value the history of their country.

She urged society to work with the nation’s youth explaining cultural values and major historical events, in order to stimulate feelings of patriotism.

This was the first step in “recovering our history”, she said.

The monument is to be built on Samora Machel Avenue, which now forms part of the motorway from Maputo to South Africa.

Pereira hoped it would be completed within two years.

But in the country’s second largest city, Beira, laying the first stone had to be delayed because the city council, dominated by the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, had not issued the construction licence.

Everything was ready for the ceremony to take place. Guests had gathered at the site chosen for the monument – but, an hour and a half after the ceremony should have begun, Sofala Provincial Governor Alberto Vaquina broke the news that no licence had been issued.

“Although we requested in due time the use of this land, we have obtained no reply from the municipality”, he said. “This morning we tried to persuade the municipal authorities but we did not succeed”.

The Sofala first secretary of the ruling Frelimo Party, Lourenco Bulha, said “we hope the municipality will have the common sense to authorise speedily the use of this land, since Samora Machel was not just the President of Frelimo, but of all Mozambicans, including the leaders and members of Renamo”.

The mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, defended the Council, on the grounds that there had not been sufficient time for technical staff to study the request.

“We received the request a week ago, and that is not enough time to study the viability of the land”, he said, cited by the daily paper “Noticias”.

“In any case, we think the place is not appropriate because it is among the spaces we had chosen for building a football stadium”, he added.

A third excuse given by Simango was that the monument would require approval by the elected Municipal Assembly, since it was “a cultural infrastructure of great importance for the city and its inhabitants”.

The mayor even claimed that to authorise building the monument in the site chosen would be “to contribute to disorderly construction, which is something we have been trying to combat”. ‘ AIM.

October 2006
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