Why Mozambique scandal has drawn scrutiny: QuickTake
Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS), paid a lightning visit to Cabo Delgado last Friday to accompany the deployment of another military contingent to the northern and central districts of the province plagued by armed insurgents responsible for much social distress in the region.
Nyusi met residents of Mapalangane in Palma, Mbau in Mocímboa da Praia and Ilala in Macomia, whom he asked to support the military, bearing in mind that some of the rebels hailed from the same regions. The president also asked the military to collaborate closely with these “kind people – since you don’t defend those you don’t know”.
The head of state thanked the population for coming, despite his visit being unannounced, and said he was there to understand their core concerns and discuss solutions. He said the attacks were aimed at delaying the Mozambican peoples’ development process, and forcing them to abandon their steps towards well-being by distracting them through their attacks.
“We have our five-year project, which addresses the country’s development, and it is this programme that brings us here. Although in the course of the five years we have had many difficulties, such as the attacks in Muxungue, the excess rain in the north that destroyed production, the lack of rain in the south, and the international economic crisis of falling commodity prices, we have had positive results,” the president said.
These problems had made Mozambicans more united and better able to move forward as a country, an experience reminiscent of the armed struggle for national liberation, which united Mozambicans in the common purpose of achieving independence.
President Nyusi said that he personally sought peace and went to Gorongosa to meet the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, in order to achieve peace, as well as launching an appeal for increased production, which also showed positive results, and the country had continued to thrive.
“Now [we have] this new problem of evildoers who murder people and steal their assets, who burn our homes: these are the new enemies of the Mozambican people. They come from Uganda, Congo, Tanzania and also Mozambique – a sign that this phenomenon is well motivated to divert Mozambicans from their development path,” Nyusi said .
The President of the Republic reported that the first miscreants captured by the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) did not speak any Mozambican or Portuguese, a sure sign that they were recruited from abroad with the sole purpose of destabilising Mozambique and retarding its development.
“We cannot think that these attacks are ordered by Mozambicans, because the enemies against Mozambique are many. To understand the motivation behind this phenomenon we went to Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda, where we saw that these countries also have to deal with this phenomenon. This situation is vast and needs coordination between all the countries affected,” he noted.
According to the head of state, the phenomenon of the attacks must be approached intelligently, with clarity as to who the enemy was, in order for the phenomenon to be successfully combated. To this end, it was necessary to organise the population and their cooperation with the FDS so that they could act effectively and satisfactorily restore normal life in the areas that were under attack, he pointed out.
“The enemy has resorted to these indiscriminate attacks because they want to disorganise us so that we do not follow our development processes, so we are here to tell the people that we are taking measures to ensure that life is normalised, and that our priority is to reinforce security. There will be a reopening of public services and there will be a permanent FDS presence and monitoring of the restoration of life in the villages that were attacked by the insurgents,” President Nyusi said.
President Nyusi reported that the FDS were actively engaged in rooting the criminals out of their hiding places, and had assaulted and overrun a number of sites that had served their as bases.
Nyusi cited Nangade as an example. The FDS there had attacked a base, killed seven defenders and captured others, partially as a result of the cooperation between the FDS and the population.
“Now they go into districts to recruit our young men. Some of these evildoers are our own flesh and blood, killing their brothers, fathers, mothers… They know the people they kill, so we must be vigilant and pass any relevant information on to the FDS so that they can take their last stronghold and restore normal life,” he said.
President Nyusi reported that the FDS had been reinforced in the areas of the attacks, and would guarantee patrolling and monitoring for the recovery of life in the threatened villages.
Residents said that they were aware of the FDS’s presences, not only physically but actively, and that life was returning to normal, and welcomed the reopening of public services, especially schools and hospitals, and the fact that the government was helping return the lives of those affected by the attacks to normal.