Maputo – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, speaking in his capacity as President of the ruling Frelimo Party, on Wednesday pointed to the awkward fact that on paper Frelimo has more members than votes.

Giving the report from the outgoing Central Committee to the Frelimo 11th Congress currently underway in the capital, Nyusi noted that in the 2014 presidential election Frelimo won 2.8 million votes (58 percent of the total). Yet the statistics on party membership claimed at the time that Frelimo had 4.2 million members.

Nyusi offered no explanation for this discrepancy, although he did claim that the 2014 elections had been held under “adverse circumstances” with instances of intimidation and harassment of Frelimo supporters.

Nyusi also pointed to the fall in the Frelimo vote, so that the party had lost its absolute majority in the country’s parliament, the Assembly of Republic. The number of Frelimo parliamentary deputies fell by 47 – from the 191 elected in 2009, to 144 elected in 2014.

He also warned against the “intrigues” that had occurred in inner-party elections, and called for measures to be taken against “those who violate our Party’s statutes or code of conduct, or who practice nepotism, or who use their position to take advantage of other members”.

Nyusi said there had also been instances of attempts to exclude some party members as election candidates by spreading rumours or defamation against them – a claim that won a loud round of applause from the delegates.

Summarising the country’s economy, Nyusi said that, up until 2015, the country had achieved macro-economic stability with growth rates of seven percent or more. However, this changed as from 2015, when growth dropped to 6.6 percent, and then slumped still further, to 3.8 per cent in 2016. He blamed this on successive natural disasters, such as floods and drought, and on the impact of the international economic and financial crisis.

Nyusi noted that country is “consuming more than its productive capacity”, and recognised that Mozambique’s foreign debt has reached unsustainable levels.

However, he did not mention the illicit guarantees granted by the previous government, under former President Armando Guebuza,  for the US$2 billion worth of loans from European banks (Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia) taken out by three security-related Mozambican companies. Those government guarantees added about 20 per cent to the country’s foreign debt.

On Wednesday, the delegates debated the Central Committee report. But they did so behind closed doors, and journalists were asked to leave the hall. This contrasted with the practice in the ninth and tenth congresses, when the debates were open to the press.

Briefing journalists on the debates, the Frelimo spokesperson, Antonio Niquice, claimed that one of the most important aspects was that the delegates had expressed their “unconditional support for the leadership of President Nyusi in the destinies of the country and of the party”.

As for possible changes to the Frelimo anthem, dropping all references to socialism, Niquice denied this, saying there were no signs of structural changes to Frelimo’s ideological line, since it remained “a party of social intervention seeking the most fruitful alignment with the highest wishes of the Mozambican people”.   – AIM.

September 2017
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