Maputo – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi last Thursday showed that he is serious about the fight against corruption, when he refused to accept an illegal gift offered to him at the 11th Congress of the ruling Frelimo Party, which he was chairing.

Provincial delegations to the Congress deliver gifts to Nyusi, in his capacity as President of Frelimo. Most of these are of no great monetary value – they are works of art, or examples of crops and other goods produced in the provinces.

But the delegation form Maputo City seemed determined to outshine the other delegations, and the party first secretary for the city, Francisco Mabjaia, announced that the delegation was giving Nyusi a tractor. He hoped the president would be able to use it to increase production on his own farm.

The tractor itself was not driven to the Congress hall, but Mabjaia gave Nyusi a giant copy of the tractor ignition key. But Nyusi handed it back.

He told the Congress: “Normally, when they offer me something, I stand up and I show it to you. But this time, I didn’t stand up, because I haven’t accepted the tractor.

“I’m returning the tractor, because what you pay me does not let me take the tractor.”

Nyusi was referring to a clause in the law on public probity which states that no public servant may receive a gift that is worth more than a third of his monthly salary.

And even the President’s monthly salary does not amount to three times the cost of a tractor.

Nyusi showed that, unlike many officials, he knows what is contained in the law on public probity, and takes it seriously.

Earlier in the day the Congress discussed, behind closed doors, alterations to the Frelimo statutes. One of the changes proposed is to expand the already unwieldy Central Committee from 180 to 250 members, and the number of candidate members from 18 to 23.

Furthermore, people who sit on the Political Commission, effectively the Party’s most powerful body, because of the offices they hold – such as the President of the Party, the General Secretary or the chairperson of the disciplinary body, the Verification Commission – will have to leave the Political Commission when they vacate those offices.

Currently not only do the current President and General Secretary of the party, Filipe Nyusi and Eliseu Machava, sit on the Political Commission, but so do their predecessors, Armando Guebuza and Filipe Paunde. Had the proposed change been in force in 2014, Paunde would have been obliged to leave the Commission, and in 2015 he would have been followed by Guebuza, who lost his position of President  of the Party to Nyusi at a Central Committee meeting in March of that year. – AIM.

October 2017
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