Mozambique: Renamo Accuses Police ‘Death Squad’ of Murder
Maputo — Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, has accused agents of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR – the Mozambican equivalent of the riot police) of murdering a prominent Renamo member in the western province of Tete.
A Renamo press release issued in Maputo on Monday claimed that the police members had formed a “death squad” which, on 30 January, murdered Rafael Dikson, the Renamo political delegate in Nkondedzi locality, in the district of Moatize.
Renamo claims that the government has “re-activated” death squads, solely in order to harass and assassinate Renamo members.
The murder of Dikson, the Renamo release said, is “a harsh blow against the DDR (Demobilisation. Disarmament and Reintegration) process and against the collective effort to constitute effective peace and true national reconciliation”.
It added that “our demobilized and our fighters are seriously affected and are distrustful about the genuine will to continue with the DDR”.
Renamo says it has complained to various police units, from local to provincial level, about the death of Dikson, but so far there has been no reaction.
On Monday, the Renamo national spokesperson, Jose Manteigas, gave more details about the alleged assassination. Cited in Tuesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, he said that Dikson was intercepted at about midday on 30 January by three masked men wearing UIR uniforms, and taken into the bush where he was killed.
Dikson had been riding his motorcycle, when he was stopped by the supposed UIR agents in a Mahindra vehicle. They dragged him into the car and drove towards Manica province. In Bunga locality, between Changara and Guro districts, said Manteigas, they murdered him and set his body on fire.
“This modus operandi shows that this is another crime by the death squads that have been institutionalized in the country by the regime, with the purpose of silencing Renamo members”, he claimed.
He warned that the murder could hold up the DDR, and demanded that Dikson’s killers be brought to justice.
The DDR was already in serious difficulties. An attempt in December to close the last Renamo military base, in the central province of Sofala, failed, largely because of disagreement over pensions for demobilized Renamo fighters.
Pf/ (372) 16123E CHINESE COMPANY ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING SHUT DOWN
Maputo, 7 Jan (AIM) – The Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) has ordered the closure of a private security company, in the central city of Beira, belonging to a Chinese citizen for allegedly being involved in money laundering.
The company, Panda Segurança, is the second company belonging to the same individual, Jiye Zhuo, which has been closed within the space of two months. The first, the Thian Hai fuel station, was also suspected of money laundering. During the closure of Panda Seguranca, the police seized several firearms.
The PGR has accused Jiye Zhuo of defrauding the state of over 826 million meticais (about 13 million dollars at the current exchange rate) in tax evasion. He is also accused of financing terrorism, forgery of documents, criminal conspiracy, and environmental crimes.
The closure of these companies comes after the Government, in coordination with the European Union and the World Bank, had set up a working committee to remove the country from the “grey list’, announced by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for presenting weaknesses in the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
“The individual has an Identity Card, where it says that he is a native of Buzi district, in Sofala. On the basis of this card, he obtained various documents, including a driving license that facilitated the opening of ten companies, since 2015”, the authorities say, quoted in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Notícias.”
In response to the closure of the company, more than three thousand workers demonstrated demanding two months of back wages. They are unlikely to receive their money, since the current whereabouts of their employer are unknown.
Some workers of the company, when they realized the authorities were shutting down the companies, fled with their weapons. When the authorities went to the ten stations where the company was operating, they found no security guards.
According to the authorities, the main activity of Jiye Zhuo was logging and exporting Mozambican timber to China.
With his forged Identity Document, Jiye Zhuo used to renew his Foreign Resident Identity Card every year, and in some cases giving different dates of birth.
“The absence of this individual does not hinder the investigations”, a spokesperson for the PGR said. “The administration of justice is gathering evidence to hold him accountable, as well as his associates and all those who contributed to his various crimes”.
17223E RENAMO DENIES WITHDRAWING SUPPORT FROM QUELIMANE MAYOR
Maputo, 7 Feb (AIM) – Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, has denied the authenticity of a letter, widely circulated on social media, in which the party withdraws its support from the mayor of the central city of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo.
The supposedly forged letter said that Renamo will not support Araujo in his bid for a further term of office in the municipal elections scheduled for October. This bombshell announcement was a major theme of discussion in Quelimane bars and restaurants over the weekend.
But it appears to be a forgery. The Renamo leadership, in a statement issued on Sunday, and signed by the Renamo national spokesperson, Jose Manteigas, denied the authenticity of the letter and claimed it was intended “to create disturbances” among members of Renamo in Quelimane.
The letter bears the signature of the Renamo Zambezia provincial delegate, Maria Elsa Cipriano. She told the German DW agency that the signature was indeed hers – but she denied ever signing such a document.
The denial from Manteigas said that any Renamo decision to abandon its support for Araujo would depend on a debate among the appropriate party bodies, and that has not yet happened. Manteigas said there has been no internal discussion within Renamo about mayoral candidates for the municipal elections, and so it made no sense to say that Renamo was dropping Araujo.
“This information is false, tendentious and forged”, said the denial. “It is intended to disinform public opinion”.
Nonetheless, it is certainly true that Araujo’s relations with Renamo have not always been smooth. When he returned from his studies in Britain at the end of the 1990s, he was believed to be a supporter of the ruling Frelimo Party. But in the 2004 parliamentary elections he entered the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on the Renamo ticket.
Araujo then left Renamo to join the breakaway Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), led by the then mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango. He was the MDM candidate in a mayoral by-election in Quelimane in 2011, when he easily beat both the Frelimo and Renamo candidates.
He repeated this achievement in the 2013 nationwide municipal elections. The MDM seemed pleased with his performance and wanted him to run again in the 2018 local elections.
But, although he had built his political career on the back of the MDM, Araujo suddenly abandoned his party, and returned to Renamo. It was as the Renamo candidate that Araujo was re-elected mayor of Quelimane in 2018.
Given this track record, it is perhaps not surprising that some Renamo members regard him with suspicion, or that rumours have circulated that he is considering running as an independent in the October elections.
However, Araujo has publicly stated (in a recent interview with DW) that “if the party (Renamo) thinks it doesn’t want me as its candidate, then let them run someone else. There’s no problem. I will even support him, if necessary”.
Pf/ (494) 18123E MOZAL WANTS TO USE POWER GENERATED IN MOZAMBIQUE
Maputo, 7 Jan (AIM) – The Mozal aluminium smelter, on the outskirts of Maputo, intends to start using power produced by Mozambique’s publicly owned electricity company, EDM, replacing power from the South African state company Eskom.
The current power supply contract between Mozal and Eskom ends in 2026.
Mozal, for its operation, needs 950 Megawatts (MW) to produce over 560,000 tonnes of aluminium per year. In the near future, however, Mozal intends to produce 600,000 tonnes per year, as a result of several new investments.
Mozal’s position comes at a time when South Africa is struggling with a serious energy crisis, and Eskom has a net loss of 12.3 billion rand (over 698 million dollars, at the current exchange rate), according to official figures made public last December.
South Africa “urgently” needs 4,000 to 6,000 MW of additional capacity for its own power grid, with total power demand currently around 25,000 MW, according to official data.
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“The aluminium smelter company is looking for alternative electricity supply for the coming years”, said Marcelino Gildo, the Chairperson of EDM’s Board of Directors, quoted in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Notícias.”
According to Gildo, Mozal itself has made an approach to find an alternative power supply after 2026.
“The two parties have been discussing the best alternatives, and the viability of a project like Mphanda Nkuwa, for example, requires consumers with muscle to pay the bills arising from the use of energy”, he said. (The Mphanda Nkuwa dam is to be built on the Zambezi River, about 60 kilometres downstream from the existing dam at Cahora Bassa.)
Currently, Mozambique has an installed capacity of 2400 MW and could reach 2800 MW with the conclusion of the Temane power plant, in the southern province of Inhambane.
With the energy that will be generated from Mphanda Nkuwa, the country will produce 4300 MW.
Ad/pf (317) 19223E BUSINESSMEN CALL FOR REFLECTION ON TAX BENEFITS
Maputo, 7 Jan (AIM) – The Mozambican Confederation of Business Associations (CTA) has called for urgent reflection on the tax benefits granted by the Government to mega-projects, as a way to increase state revenues from tax collection.
“We are not saying that we are against the tax benefits. It is a policy of attracting foreign investment. But there is also a need for these companies to start paying taxes”, said Félix Machava, chairperson of the CTA’s fiscal policy, customs and international trade portfolio.
According to Machava, cited in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Notícias”, the current value of the tax on profits, Corporation Tax, established at 32 percent, is very high for the functioning of an economy. He also called for a simplification of customs procedures so that the private sector can properly pay their taxes and contribute to the growth of the economy.
“It is up to the private sector to create, clarify, investigate, analyze and propose to the government better mechanisms for the growth of the economy”, Machava said, insisting that the current taxes paid by private business are excessive.