Mozambique President starts last term in office

Wednesday January 15 2020

Mozambique's President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi on May 25, 2019. He was sworn in for his second term in office on January 15, 2020. PHOTO | AFP


Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi began his second, and last, term in office on Wednesday; following elections last October as the country awaits him for guidance towards long-lasting peace and recovery of the economy.

Mr Nyusi of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) had won against Mr Ossufo Momade of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), but which the latter disputed as a manipulated poll.

But in a televised inauguration ceremony in the capital Maputo, Mr Nyusi told an audience, among them South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zimbabwe’s Emerson Mnangagwa; that he will use the next term to pursue peace, and improve the livelihoods of the people.

“All we are going to do will be to aim at stabilising and having a lasting and effective peace. Peace is our priority,” he said.

“Let us work together so that Mozambique grows and be for all of us.” In the October 15 elections, he argued, democracy had won rather than being a contest of individuals.

The swearing-in ceremony held at Maputo Independence Square was attended by about 3,000 guests among them12 heads of state or government mainly from the southern region bloc, SADC, and Portuguese-speaking countries.


Leaders from Angola, Botswana, Cape Vert, Mauritius, Namibia, Portugal, Rwanda and Zambia also attended the swearing-in ceremony.

“Our democracy will not be traded and we are going to work so that it grows as well. We will work with our neighbouring countries to boost our economy.”

“Energy, tourism and fishing will be our priority to improve economy not forgetting agriculture and its industrialisation. We need to accelerate the process of disarmament and reintegration of Renamo’s forces,” he added, referring to the armed wing of the main opposition party, which despite peace deals since 1992, has maintained an armed wing with occasional eruptions of violence.

Mr Nyusi, 61, a former Defence Minister won the 2019 elections with a landslide victory of 73 per cent of the cast votes, according to the official tally, defeating Mr Momade who scored 21.8 per cent.

Frelimo won 184 seats in Parliament, Renamo got 60 while another party, MDM, got six. Renamo and MDM contested the results, claiming there had been fraud, despite the MPs accepting to be sworn in on Monday this week.

Leading 28 million people, President Nyusi will now have to lead recovery for a country that faced deadly Cyclones Idai and Kenneth, which battered it, killing at least 1000 people. An estimate by the UN Economic Commission for Africa said Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe will need at least $1 billion to rebuild their economies.

Nyusi’s administration has also had to deal with a debt crisis and has yet to complete renegotiation with lenders.

Yet President Nyusi’s immediate problem is how to stop flare-ups, especially in the northern and central regions of the country. In August, he signed another peace agreement with Renamo, but has yet to implement the deal which included gradual incorporation of its fighters into the mainstream national army.

Renamo’s armed wing leader Mr Mariano Nhongo had warned he will intensify attacks in the central areas after the party’s MPs took up their posts.

In Northern Province of Cabo Delgado, some 1600km from Maputo, the attacks have continually happened for the last two years.

Cabo Delgado Province is about 1,663km north of Maputo, boasts of minerals such as gold, grenadines, aquamarines, tourmalines, blue topaz and green tourmalines and attracts many foreigners.

Militants have targeted remote communities in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province since October 2017, killing more than 250 people and forcing thousands from their homes despite a heavy police and military presence in the area that borders Tanzania.