Updated: President announces signing of peace agreement with Renamo - Mozambique
The members of Frelimo's Political Commission. Picture: Facebook/ Sede Provincial do Partido Frelimo em Manica
The US indictment and detention of Manuel Chang has clearly shaken the senior levels of Frelimo, and widened some old divisions. The Political Commission met on 24 January and issued a statement saying the $2 bn secret debt had been a main topic of discussion. And, unexpectedly, the Political Commission appears to be moving to non-payment of the debt.
Perhaps most important is an apparently arcane point: “The Political Commission argues that the registration of guarantees in the general state account, done in accordance with the legislation in force, should not impede the process under way in the institutions of justice.” The two syndicated loans, to MAM and Proindicus, have never been recognised by the government as legitimate – except as a mention in the state accounts. What the Political Commission appears to say is that the budget law required that the guarantees be noted, but this does not mean the government has said that it accepts the guarantees are legal or legitimate. Indeed, Chang is being charged precisely with violating the law by signing the guarantees.
The Political Commission continues that government must “identify the best solution to safeguard the interests of Mozambicans”. Again, this is a shift from the line that Mozambique pays its debts, and opens the way to a declaration that at least the MAM and ProIndicus debts are illegitimate and illegal and should not be repaid. (The Ematum bonds were replaced with state bonds approved by parliament while the MAM and ProIndicus loans were still secret, so it may be harder to refuse to pay the Ematum bonds.)
Finally, the Political Commission argues that “where it is proven that the money from the loans has not been applied for purposes of public interest, it is essential that people be held responsible and money and property be recovered.”
President Nyusi in his 23 January speech to diplomats noted the arrest of Chang and stressed the separation of powers and the need to wait for judicial institutions to deal with the issue. But in an unusual comment, he said that “we must have courage to change the thinking of an elite that wants to dominate the economy of all Mozambicans.”
By Joseph HanlonSource: News Reports & Clippings