President of the Republic visits Tete province
Filipe Nyusi talks to Matias Guente (left). The President granted his first interview to a Mozambican newspaper since taking office to weekly 'Canal de Moçambique'. [Photo courtesy: Canal de Moçambique].
Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, fears that the armed violence that has swept over the north of the country for the past year and a half could spread..
“We are striving to ensure that everyone collaborates to see if we can discover the reason [for the armed groups], because this could spread”, he told Canal de Moçambique newspaper in his first interview since coming to power five years ago.
Armed groups allegedly originating in mosques have killed at least 150 people in the northern province of Cabo Delgado over the last 18 months.
“They attack the villages and they use the young and captured people. A significant number are foreigners. They cross the border, they come here, but when they are captured they are returned to their countries,” President Nyusi said. “There are times when there is talk of Islamic connotations, but it’s better that this not be used as a mask.”
The task, he added, was to establish “the ringleader behind all this, and what the motivation is”.
At the same time, Nyusi said that there was collaboration with the multinational companies investing in natural gas in the province “to protect economic assets”.
In the same interview, the president said there probably could not have been any more misfortunes in his term of office.
“I do not know if there are more misfortunes that could happen in this country than what happened to us in the last four and a half years,” he said.
In addition to the two violent cyclones that hit the country this year, there were the droughts in the south of the country, “the war that killed people” and “money that has not come in – we facing financial problems”.
Regarding the war, the guns were silenced by the ceasefire announced by Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) guerrillas in December 2016. Filipe Nyusi reiterates that peace talks are slow and stalled over the names the opposition party has proposed regarding its disarmament and reintegration process.
To the point that Nyusi says he wonders if “Renamo wants to leave those people out there in the bush and take these people who are here in the city back [there]”.
“The impasse has nothing to do with the government. On the government side everything is easy,” he said, adding that the situation is “tiring” the mediators.
“Our foreign friends are already getting tired,” he said, a few days after he had asked Renamo to hand over its weapons before the general election scheduled for October 15.
Filipe Nyusi devoted much of the interview to appealing to the private sector to back agriculture and questioning how the time had been spent since independence.
“It’s true that it’s 40 years, but what kind of 40 years did Mozambique have? Forty years of fighting where one cannot maintain a thread of thought,” he said.