Mozambique: Opposition ready to win municipal seats
DW / Frelimo Central Committee (2016)
In an interview with DW, the Mozambican sociologist Elísio Macamo says that the party “lacked sensitivity” in convening a rally for the Monday after the XI Congress.
The ruling party in Mozambique called a popular rally for Monday 2 November, immediately after its 11th Congress, which was attended by many civil servants and therefore cost the country yet another working day. This despite appeals in Congress for greater productivity to end poverty in the country. Several other similar contradictory events also occurred.
For Mozambican sociologist Elisio Macamo, some of these attitudes reveal a lack of sensitivity. DW Africa talked to him about it.
DW Africa: Shortly after the XI Frelimo Congress, the party convened a rally for 3:00 p.m. on Monday. Isn’t this contradictory for a party that proposes increased productivity as an answer to poverty?
Elísio Macamo: It is if, in fact, the people who participate in this rally did so within their working hours. That is something we can only speculate about. We do not know whether the people who participated in the Congress, who are civil servants, applied for leave or vacation in order to be available. If not, then we can criticise. However, any sensible person will guess that, even if not all, a good part of those who participated in the rally missed worked [to attend], so, yes.
DW Africa: Can this be interpreted as a sign of “cheating” or abuse by the party? Especially because the invitation was made knowing that civil servants finish the work after 3:00 p.m.?
EM: This depends very much on the political perspective a person has in relation to Frelimo itself. I would not speak of abuse, but rather in terms of lack of sensitivity and of a longstanding habit, which many people have within the party, of not distinguishing between the party and the state.
Unfortunately, this seems very durable, but that is the situation. In fact, this is very insensitive and contradicts what was said in Congress about the need for better party discipline – to “purge what is bad inside the party”, as the party president himself said earlier. Therefore, there is this contradiction with the speech, which is a great pity.
DW Africa: On the eve of the Congress, the party circulated a small statement, a kind of speech, in which party leader Filipe Nyusi was idolised in the “Kim Jong-un” style. Does it make sense for Frelimo to continues to opt for this type of speech and posture today?
EM: It makes sense, in so far as it’s a matter of habit. Many people do not know another type of party structure, any another political position. The country was a one-party state for many years. Many people in Frelimo have a political socialisation whose context is that of a single party.
And, sadly, there are things that take a long time to eradicate in people. It is enough to look at the structure of the party to see it is incompatible with a multiparty system where the party does not control the state. Only in a party that controls the state is a structure as top-heavy as Frelimo’s appropriate. It makes no sense, in my opinion, to have a Central Committee like they do. That made sense when the party controlled the state, when it was the only party and could use the resources of the state to feed the whole people. Now, Frelimo needs another party structure, more flexible and less generous, even as regards the party’s own financing.
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