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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said on Friday that the Mozambican people in moments of crisis have shown that they do not just weep, but turn difficulties into opportunities by rolling up their sleeves and working.
Speaking at a rally in the outlying Maputo urban district of Katembe, on the second day of a working visit round the city, he said that Mozambique had experienced severe difficulties with last year’s drought across much of the southern and central provinces, which reduced agricultural production.
On top of the climatic problem came the fall in international commodity prices, including for several of Mozambique’s key exports, and the suspension by donors of all further direct support for the Mozambican state budget. Donors took that drastic measure in reaction to the revelation, in April 1916, of a hidden debt of over 1.1 billion US dollars in the shape of the government-guaranteed loans to the security-related companies Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).
“Despite these difficulties, peasants produced, and fishermen cast their hooks. Those who aren’t near the sea bred fish in tanks”, Nyusi said. “Today, in all provinces, the message transmitted is that food is not a problem”.
The drought had ended and, according to Nyusi, peasant farmers are now asking for help to sell surplus crops, because they have enough to guarantee their own food security, and to provide seeds for the next sowing.
“I would like to thank everyone who took a moment of affliction as an incentive to produce”, he declared.
As for wages, Nyusi said “we would like to pay more, but for this we have to produce more. The government cannot go on buying food from outside the country. It has to bring the people energy, hospitals, schools, water and roads – and the secret to solving these problems lies in production”.
One of the conditions for increased production was peace, he continued, “and the dream of the Mozambican people is not to beg for peace but to live it”. The people “will never be the authors of war, but only of peace”.
In a message delivered at the rally, Katembe residents asked Nyusi for a general hospital in their district, with an ambulance, for jobs for the district’s young people, for better transport, for a secondary school, for a police station, and for extension to the electricity and water networks.
But they also wanted priority to be given to natives of Katembe in the allocation of plots of land for housing. Land in Katembe is becoming more valuable with the construction of a bridge across the bay of Maputo linking Katembe to the centre of the city. Reports have been published in the Mozambican press (though not confirmed by Maputo Municipal Council) of an unseemly rush by senior figures in the ruling Frelimo Party to acquire land in Katembe.
Nyusi said the government is already meeting some of these concerns. Projects for a general hospital, a new secondary school and expanding the electricity grid have been drawn up and are awaiting funding.
As for transport, Nyusi suggested that Katembe residents should attempt to invest in this area themselves, rather than waiting for the State to act. Local people should start from small projects that they can undertake, and not simply wait for people from outside the district.
“The state is the facilitator, the ones who must earn the money are the citizens”, he declared.Source: AIM