Category Archives: Países

Renamo’s new war rhetoric

Renamo’s new war rhetoric

How serious is the threat to peace in Mozambique?

October 26, 2013

By Corinna Jentzsch, Yale University.

Email: corinna.jentzsch

via NAI Forum.

via NAI Forum.

Renamo’s new war rhetoric

How serious is the threat to peace in Mozambique?

Corinna J

October 26, 2013

By Corinna Jentzsch, Yale University.

Email: corinna.jentzsch@yale.edu

After several violent incidents over the past year and an attack by Frelimo on Renamo’s current base in the country’s central region this week, Renamo canceled the peace deal and armed men attacked a police station.

Is Mozambique back on the brink of civil war? The US has demanded dialogue between the leaders to deescalate the situation. How serious is Renamo’s war rhetoric?

Renamo’s major concern has been Frelimo’s growing strength and power, and its own shrinking popular base, resources and influence.

Several analysts claim that what Renamo really wants is not power, but money and a ‘piece of the cake’ of the natural resource wealth.

On October 4th, the peace accord between the opposition Renamo and the party in power, Frelimo, signed after more than a decade and a half of civil war, celebrated its 21st anniversary.

After several violent incidents over the past year and an attack by Frelimo on Renamo’s current base in the country’s central region this week, Renamo canceled the peace deal and armed men attacked a police station. Several media outlets made it sound as if Mozambique is back on the brink of civil war, and the US has demanded dialogue between the leaders to deescalate the situation. How serious is Renamo’s pro-war rhetoric?

Renamo has threatened to return to war many times over the last years. “Canceling the peace deal” is the newest version of a threat that Renamo has used in the past to put the Frelimo government—in power since independence—under pressure. This threat is frequently withdrawn, as happened this time, and Renamo leaders keep reassuring the people that they do not want to wage another war against the government.

As Joseph Hanlon, scholar and author of several books on Mozambican history and politics, has noted in a commentary on recent developments, history has to be taken into account to evaluate what’s currently happening in Mozambique. This is not a sudden escalation of Renamo-Frelimo relations, but needs to be seen in the context of Renamo’s difficult transformation into a political party after the end of the civil war in 1992 and Frelimo’s strong grip on power.

Renamo was a serious competitor in post-war elections, and almost won the presidential ticket in 1999. While international observers declared the electoral process to have been free and fair, Renamo claimed that Frelimo had rigged the elections. Since then, Renamo repeatedly accused Frelimo of election fraud and pursued a strategy of maximalist demands, threats and boycotts to try to influence politics outside of electoral processes.

Renamo’s major concern has been Frelimo’s growing strength and power, and its own decreasing resources and influence. While Frelimo developed into a strong political party, similar to European parties in structure, Renamo’s leadership is detached from its popular base and lacks resources.

Many of Frelimo’s party leaders are successful businessmen and—in contrast to Renamo’s leaders—have benefitted from Mozambique’s discovery of vast natural resource wealth and steady economic growth. Moreover, Frelimo has recently made efforts to control the media more closely and has put pressure on two independent media outlets to replace editors that had been critical of Frelimo.

In protest against his party’s increasing marginalization after the 2009 elections, during which Renamo lost a large number of votes, Dhlakama retreated to the northern province Nampula. After some time off the political stage, Dhlakama returned in 2011 with threats to reassemble demobilized combatants in camps and stage large-scale demonstrations to “peacefully” overthrow the government, so that the country no longer “belongs to Frelimo” and can be “returned” to the people.

After a clash between Renamo and Frelimo security forces at Renamo’s headquarters in Nampula in March 2012, where hundreds of Renamo supporters had assembled and presumably waited for money for a “second demobilization”, Dhlakama moved to the central region, district of Gorongosa, close to where the central base was located during the war. A couple of hundred war veterans still lived in the area and had been waiting for Dhlakama’s orders.

Since his return to Gorongosa, the tensions between Frelimo and Renamo have risen, and several violent incidents occurred in surrounding areas over the past year. In April, three people died when armed men attacked a bus in Sofala province in the central region and five more people died in clashes between Renamo and Frelimo in the same area; in June, two people died when armed men blocked the main North-South highway and attacked trucks and a bus, for which Renamo assumed  responsibility.

Renamo’s recent activities focus on the local elections scheduled for November 20 this year. Dhlakama demanded changes to the electoral legislation that currently gives an advantage to Frelimo, but Renamo’s proposals weren’t accepted in parliament.

Since then, Dhlakama decided to boycott the local elections, and his and other Renamo leaders’ rhetoric sometimes even implies that they want to disrupt the elections and make it impossible for people to vote at all. Several rounds of high-level talks between Renamo and Frelimo did not bring solutions that could be accepted by both parties, as Frelimo is not willing to meet Dhlakama’s maximalist demands.

Thus relations have clearly deteriorated. Renamo’s spokesman Fernando Mazanga said that the government’s attack on Renamo’s base this week equaled a declaration of war, as the attack was not conducted by the Rapid Intervention Forces (those previously involved in actions against Renamo), but by the army.

These tensions suggest that violence is likely to escalate. However, Renamo is weak—in terms of political impact, financial resources, popular support, and military resources. Dhlakama prevented the rise of talented party leaders, who then left the party and joined the new opposition party MDM. Dhlakama did not use the parliament to reach his goals or accepted offers from Frelimo, always trying to get a better deal.

Renamo has lost the control of municipalities, has no mayors, and only 51 members of parliament left. This also means that it has fewer financial resources, as parties receive financial support depending on the number of members in parliament. There is limited communication between the party leadership and its base in the rural areas, and thus not much mobilization to support Dhlakama’s extreme positions.

During interviews I conducted in 2011 and 2012, former Renamo combatants told me they had never heard of Dhlakama’s plans to stage massive demonstrations and that they don’t want another war. Some people say though that the young people who haven’t seen the hardships of war might be willing to take up arms. Renamo could exploit grievances arising from resettlement through the exploitation of natural resources, rising inequality, and rising prices for basic necessities.

However, Renamo’s demands don’t speak to young people’s concern, there is no mobilization, and the party is militarily weak— Renamo no longer has the foreign support from South Africa that kept the war going. The same is true for Frelimo: no one wants to return to war, and the small national army has few resources (however, Frelimo is in negotiations with France to buy trawlers and patrol boats for over US$300 million).

In the end, therefore, it’s unclear what will follow from Dhlakama’s threats. Carlos Serra, professor at Mozambique’s national university Eduardo Mondlane, can think of four scenarios: low-intensity warfare, medium-intensity warfare, a “Savimbi-style” renewal of Renamo’s party without Dhlakama (Jonas Savimbi, leader of the opposition force UNITA in Angola, died in 2002), or a fragile peace.

The editor of the Mozambican @Verdade, a newspaper which has repeatedly criticized Frelimo’s authoritarian tendencies, accuses Frelimo of seeking to kill Dhlakama by attacking Renamo’s base, as he is the “only stone left in [President] Armando Guebuza’s shoes.” In@Verdade’s eyes, Dhlakama’s death—or even his removal from the party’s leadership—would mean an end to any real opposition to the ever more powerful Frelimo party.

Several analysts claim that what Dhlakama really wants is not power, but money and a “piece of the cake” of the natural resource wealth. As long as Dhlakama puts Frelimo under pressure and Frelimo refuses to share the spoils, a deescalation is unlikely. Skirmishes and attacks are likely to continue to disrupt people’s lives, especially in central Mozambique.

Frelimo’s security forces closely monitor Dhlakama’s movements, and Renamo does the same with Frelimo’s forces, which provokes the other side. This tit-for-tat can easily get out of hand, and criminal gangs might take advantage of the fragile situation. As Alex Vines, long-time observer and author of several books on Renamo has stated, Dhlakama’s strategy is risky, as it is a breeding ground for miscalculations by both Renamo and Frelimo security forces.

What’s really needed is a mediator who has the trust of both Dhlakama and Mozambique’s President Guebuza to prevent further misperceptions. Until Frelimo is willing to make concessions and Renamo willing to accept them, however, there is a long way to go.


This is a slightly edited

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Boko Haram and the Nigerian state (Guest post by Henrik Angerbrandt)

Boko Haram and the Nigerian state (Guest post by Henrik Angerbrandt).

Boko Haram and the Nigerian state (Guest post by Henrik Angerbrandt)

October 23, 2012 by Mats Utas

Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad) – more known as Boko Haram – came in the centre of attention in Nigeria in mid-2009 when they clashed with police squad ’Operation Flush’ in Borno State capital, Maiduguri, resulting in more than 800 deaths. The leader, Muhammad Yusuf, was arrested and killed while in police custody. This followed a pattern of how the Nigerian state has approached similar radical Islamist groups before. This time, however, the strategy resulted in a spiral of violence between Boko Haram, the police, and security forces that is taking an ever more vicious face.

There is a tradition of radical Muslim movements in the north of Nigeria out of which Boko Haram has developed. The group is rooted in north-eastern Nigeria where it has been based since 2002 and where most of their attacks have taken place. Their ideas about creating an Islamic state draw, like other groups in the area, on the Caliphate structure that preceded colonial rule. There is a religious aspect which connects to earlier movements, even if Boko Haram deploys a particularly violent version.

However, the new phenomenon that has created uncertainties about the group is its amorphous structure and the nature of the attacks they pursue. Suicidal attacks are previously unseen in Nigeria and West Africa. High profile targets such as the UN building in Abuja and well-coordinated attacks in January in Kano, in which more than 180 people died, are varied with bomb attempts that have been diverted when plastic bags with homemade explosives have been spotted before exploding.

What also stands out is the capacity to continuously target the security forces and other targets despite killings and arrests of reportedly centrally placed individuals. Later development has seen a broadening of targets, from more or less exclusively focusing on state representatives to also target Muslim leaders seen as cooperating with the government, churches, media houses and, since last month, mobile masts in an attempt to disrupt communications and tracking of their whereabouts.

In all, this has raised the questions of what kind of resources Boko Haram holds and what kind of networks they are engaged in. Boko Haram gives a divided impression of its capacity and several observers point to the fact that there are different groups operating, some more capable than others. And some more connected to the ideological leadership than others, who may have less spiritual reasons for their attacks.

Boko Haram has limited support among people in the region, but they act in a context of widespread poverty, unemployment and inaccessible state functions. Even if these circumstances do not explain why Boko Haram has evolved, they have created the space for the group to operate. The government’s actions have done little to change that. It has responded to Boko Haram in the same way as with similar groups before, such as the Maitatsine movement in the 1980s and the ‘predecessor’ of Boko Haram, ’the Nigerian Taliban’ in 2002 – that is, with force and a mainly militaristic strategy. Police and military have shoot-at-sight orders and young men are arrested indiscriminately in hundreds at a time.

The security agencies have in many places become as big a part of people’s insecurity as Boko Haram. In Damaturu, Yobe State, people have been reported to leave the town in thousands, as they tend to be caught in-between Boko Haram and the security forces. The developments have not only led to increased insecurity but also a militarization of society. The failure of this strategy is even more underlined as the government and the security forces appear to have little capacity to handle the issue. This is exploited by Boko Haram, who rebuts information from state agencies and the government on a variety of issues, ranging from identities of arrested members to whether or not there is a dialogue going on with the government.

Even though there are reports that the new joint military and police task force ’Operation Restore Sanity’ has made hundreds of arrests of claimed Boko Haram members and there are weekly reports of alleged militants being killed, the militaristic strategy have little prospect to succeed in the long run. So far, the heavy handed response has rather resulted in further radicalization of the group. The best that can be achieved is to quell the violence in the short run. Grievances and breeding ground for similar movements are, however, still there.

Northern Nigeria experiences challenges not only in the form of militant movements such as Boko Haram. Relations between Muslims and Christians in northern and central Nigeria have worsened in the last decades. Tens of thousands have been killed in violence between different groups. Boko Haram attacks have targeted Muslims as much as Christians but by attacking churches the group has come to reinforce both a north/south divide nationally on a religious basis and local contention between Muslims and Christians.

Most significantly in places like Kaduna and Jos, where Boko Haram attacks have come into play with local political conflicts that have taken an increasingly religious turn. There have been, in these places, so called ’reprisal attacks’ after Boko Haram bombings. In these attacks, Muslims in general have been targeted on basis of their faith. There is, accordingly, need not only to address the acute threat from Boko Haram but also to find a political strategy that take broader regional and national dimensions into account.

Boko Haram can be seen as a symptom of a dysfunctional state, and a comprehensive solution of the problem involves a transformation of the state itself. Even if Boko Haram would eventually be crushed in a heavy handed strategy there will soon emerge new radical Islamist groups unless efforts are made to address the underlying issues. There is need to reform police and security forces to become credible and functional, but there is also need to have inclusive state services and a strategy for creating conditions for productive lives for people in northern Nigeria.

Henrik Angerbrandt is a doctoral student in political science at Stockholm University. He is at the final stages of his thesis on ethnic and religious conflicts in Northern Nigeria and has followed the region for several years. This post was previously published by NAI forum.

via Boko Haram and the Nigerian state (Guest post by Henrik Angerbrandt).

RDC : Mbote changement ? | RDC – Philippe Biyoya Makutu : “Nos partis sont constitués pour remplacer les colonisateurs” | Jeuneafrique.com – le premier site d’information et d’actualité sur l’Afrique

RDC : MBOTE CHANGEMENT ?

Aller au sommaire du dossier

INTERVIEW ( 1 réaction )

RDC – Philippe Biyoya Makutu : “Nos partis sont constitués pour remplacer les colonisateurs”

opposition(1124) – Joseph Kabila(479) – parti politique(205) – opposition congolaise(42)

19/10/2012 à 16h:36 Par Tshitenge Lubabu M.K.

Une séance plénière au Palais du peuple, à Kinshasa. © Lionel Healing/AFP

Philippe Biyoya Makutu est professeur de sciences politiques à l’université de Kinshasa et à l’université de Lubumbashi. Pour lui, le but des partis politiques n’est pas d’apporter leur pierre à l’édifice du bien public mais d’accéder à des privilèges… D’où leur impopularité.

Jeune Afrique : Pourquoi les partis politiques congolais, en particulier ceux de l’opposition, sont-ils en permanence l’objet de critiques ?

Philippe Biyoya Makutu : Quand on se replace dans le contexte colonial, on se rend compte que nos partis ne se sont pas constitués pour accomplir des idéaux propres à toute formation politique, mais pour remplacer les colonisateurs, c’est-à-dire un groupe de gens qui avaient des privilèges. Raison pour laquelle, depuis les années 1960, nos partis sont des clubs d’amis qui n’aspirent pas au bien-être collectif. Leur objectif n’est pas la conquête du�pouvoir, mais l’accès aux privilèges. Ce sont des structures de survie. Le gouvernement lui-même apparaît comme une sorte d’arche de Noé qui sauve les plus chanceux.

Peut-on faire avancer le débat politique dans de telles conditions ?

Le premier handicap vient de l’absence de relations entre la vie de l’État et l’existence des partis : les provinces, les tribus ont plus d’importance que les partis, qui ne sont plus que des clubs de football auxquels on adhère parce que certaines couleurs attirent. L’unique débat politique tourne donc autour de la forme de l’État : fédéralisme ou unitarisme. Aucun débat sur la place de la RDC dans le monde d’aujourd’hui et de demain. Rien non plus qui unisse les fondateurs d’un parti, à part l’ambition d’entrer au gouvernement ou d’être candidat à quelque chose. Transformer la société n’est malheureusement pas à l’ordre du jour.

On dirait des clubs de football auxquels on adhère parce que certaines couleurs attirent.

Est-ce aussi la raison pour laquelle l’opposition ne parvient pas à se choisir un leader ?

C’est en effet là aussi une querelle d’ambitions. Opposition par rapport à quoi ? Lorsqu’on a formé le gouvernement 1�+�4 [un président et quatre vice-présidents, comme prévu après le dialogue intercongolais de Sun City, NDLR], il y avait des opposants à Mobutu, des opposants à Kabila et au gouvernement.

La fonction de porte-parole de l’opposition rapporte des dividendes et chacun veut y accéder pour en profiter. Et puis le pouvoir n’a jamais compris que ses per­formances et sa force dépendaient de la qualité de l’opposition. Il préfère une opposition à sa mesure.

via RDC : Mbote changement ? | RDC – Philippe Biyoya Makutu : “Nos partis sont constitués pour remplacer les colonisateurs” | Jeuneafrique.com – le premier site d’information et d’actualité sur l’Afrique.

via RDC : Mbote changement ? | RDC – Philippe Biyoya Makutu : “Nos partis sont constitués pour remplacer les colonisateurs” | Jeuneafrique.com – le premier site d’information et d’actualité sur l’Afrique.

Energia e portos são a nova aposta em Moçambique | Económico

Energia e portos são a nova aposta em Moçambique | Económico.

via Energia e portos são a nova aposta em Moçambique | Económico.

RPT-AFRICA MONEY-Mozambique’s cashews get dose of Dutch disease | News by Country | Reuters

By Marina Lopes

MAPUTO, Sept 21 (Reuters) – Mozambique’s cashew industry is ailing, and the symptoms point to a bad bout of “Dutch disease.”

In a nutshell, this illness strikes an economy when the discovery of a resource such as oil draws in a flood of dollars, boosting the local currency but making all other exports uncompetitive.

The term was coined to explain the decline of manufacturing in the Netherlands after the discovery of North Sea oil and gas in the late 1950s.

In Mozambique’s case, an investment boom in the nascent coal and gas sectors hoisted the metical by a whopping 33 percent against the dollar from September 2010 to the end of 2011. It has since held on to the bulk of those gains.

Foreign direct investment soared to $2.1 billion last year – when the metical was the top-performing currency against the dollar – compared with just $7.8 million in 2010, central bank data showed.

While the government will welcome the money, it has crushed any cashew comeback and put the livelihood of tens of thousands of peasant farmers at risk in a country where agriculture still accounts for a third of gross domestic product.

The tropical southeast African nation and former Portuguese colony was once the world’s top producer of the coveted nuts, but – as with most of its economy – the industry was gutted when civil war erupted after independence in 1975.

The end of conflict two decades ago allowed the cashew sector to sprout anew, and in 2010, sales rose to a post-war peak of 113,000 tonnes, the third-highest in Africa behind Ivory Coast and Guinea-Bissau, according to the Ghana-based African Cashew Alliance.

But sales then tumbled to 63,000 tonnes last year.

Market and industry players say the currency’s appreciation prompted buyers in India, where most of Mozambique’s cashews are processed, to search for cheaper options elsewhere.

“Prices last year got to all time highs and that really hurts demand,” said Richard Rosenblatt, of the Richard Franco Agency, a U.S.-based nut broker.

Oil-rich Angola, another former Portuguese colony on the other side of Africa, also highlights the impact of Dutch disease on agriculture.

Before independence in 1975 and the chaos of its civil war, Angola was the world’s fourth-largest coffee producer, churning out 200,000 tonnes of beans a year.

Now, a decade after the fighting ended, it is vying with Nigeria to be Africa’s biggest oil producer, while its coffee industry remains in a rut with annual output of a paltry 4,000 tonnes.

One solution being explored in Mozambique is to process its cashew nuts at home.

“The cashew nut is consumed externally so it is the international price that dictates things,” said Filomena Maiopue, director of the National Cashew Institute in the capital, Maputo.

“We’ve reached the conclusion, in discussion with the Ministry of Agriculture, that in order to minimize that effect, we need to intensify local processing,” said Maiopue.

Even if the government does get its act together, there is little immediate relief in store for farmers as money continues to pour in from mining giants such as Brazil’s Vale to develop the Mozambique’s vast coal fields.

Joaquin Solomon Nhantumo, a farmer in southern Mozambique, has been forced him to grow lettuce and tomatoes in his back-yard orchard to provide for himself and his eight children.

But he says there is only one crop that will keep him in business in the long run.

“The cashew nut is our sole means of survival.” (Additional reporting and writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

via RPT-AFRICA MONEY-Mozambique’s cashews get dose of Dutch disease | News by Country | Reuters.

via RPT-AFRICA MONEY-Mozambique’s cashews get dose of Dutch disease | News by Country | Reuters.

UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea: Who Watches the Watchmen? | Think Africa Press

via UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea: Who Watches the Watchmen? | Think Africa Press.

Part of the UN Monitoring Group’s report seems politicised and, given past evidence, its claims should be approached with some scepticism.

ARTICLE | 2 AUGUST 2012 – 10:49AM | BY ABUKAR ARMAN
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President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia addresses UN General Assembly. Photograph by Marco Castro/UN.
Yesterday, the UN Security Council met to discuss Somalia, with the latest report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea a focal point of discussion. Since its inception, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea has been subject to heavy criticism and the group has often failed to substantiate its claims. In this latest report, seemingly a mixture of innuendo and half-truths, a handful of officials and presidential candidates from Somalia’s past and present are condemned.

In the absence of clear evidence to the contrary, none of the accusations should be dismissed. However, they should certainly not be taken at face value. On past evidence, the monitoring group’s reports should be approached with a healthy dose of scepticism.

In its 2006 report, for example, the monitoring group made two rather odd claims which were seemingly designed to pave the way for Ethiopia’s invasion and occupation of Somalia. They claimed that al-Shabaab, the Sunni militant group, had exported 720 of its fighters to help Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia nationalists, in its fight against Israel. They also claimed that Iranian scientists were mining uranium for their nuclear programme in Dhusamareeb. These claims were used to justify the funding of Ethiopia’s military project in Somalia.

The contents of the report
Despite piecemeal gains, institutionalised corruption and nepotism is alive and well in Somalia. After five decades after independence, Somalia has still yet to develop an effective check on central power and clans compete for exclusive rights to various government ministries. These issues need to be addressed, but the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea seems to be going about this the wrong way.

Much of its latest report – which comes out just a few weeks before Somalia’s planned emergence from a long period of official transition on August 20 – is neutral and insightful. However, a large segment is heavily politicised.

It seems the group’s focus has changed. No longer so concerned with the new constitution, Somali sovereignty, or the unaccountability of NGOs in Somalia, the group now appears preoccupied with $130 million that seems to have gone missing since 2000. These are serious revelations and, if proven correct, will represent strong grounds for prosecution.

More broadly, the report directly condemns various members of the current and previous transitional governments for the misappropriation of public financial resources. The accusations are based on claims made by two disgruntled employees who were both sacked recently and the report ignores the circumstances in which these employees gave testimony. When it comes to incriminating or condemning people based on unsubstantiated individual testimonies or that of an entity, credibility should be the determining factor. It seems, therefore, reprehensible that on such evidence, the report should recommend the UN Security Council take punitive action against these accused officials.

On the subject of Eritrea, the report largely exonerates the country of claims it has illegally supplied al-Shabaab with shipments of weapons. The report concludes that “The Monitoring Group received no credible reports or evidence of assistance from Eritrea to armed opposition groups in Somalia during the course of the mandate”. However, the report goes on to state that the Eritrea maintains “relations with known arms dealers in Somalia and has violated the arms embargo during the course of the mandate by its support for Ethiopian armed opposition groups passing through Somali territory”.

Watching the watchmen
Weeding corrupt officials out of the political system is in Somalia’s best interests. However, these are matters that Somalia must investigate and pursue on its own. If the end of the transitional period means that Somalia is able to reclaim its lost sovereignty and handle its own affairs, then the new parliament should take responsibility for these matters.

Moreover, the promotion of good governance and the protection of revenues and donated funds would be better served by urging the Security Council to demand that “ghost-lords” – international actors with vested interests – and all UN agencies tasked with providing services to Somalia open their books and list all projects they have completed in Somalia.

The report has nothing to say about the laboratory of international corruption in Nairobi that profoundly hinders any significant progress in Somalia. It says nothing about almost $1 billion per year squandered in Nairobi that the Transitional Federal Government has no say or knowledge as to how, when, and where it is spent. The allegations in the report are based solely on monies collected or promised to the government on a bilateral basis.

It is also interesting to note that the movement against corruption started soon after officials within the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) requested UN agencies to open their books and hired an independent firm to conduct general audit and administer forensic accounting to reclaim Somalia’s assets in various Western banks.

It is about time the Security Council reconsiders the absolute power invested in the monitoring group. It is time to “police the police” or monitor the monitoring group, especially given that it has full immunity from lawsuits for the untruths they occasionally propagate, not to mention defamations and character assassinations. It is time for the Security Council to start protecting its own integrity.

Think Africa Press welcomes inquiries regarding the republication of its articles. If you would like to republish this or any other article for re-print, syndication or educational purposes, please contact: editor@thinkafricapress.com

Moçambique: a maldição da abundância? | Brasil de Fato

Moçambique: a maldição da abundância? | Brasil de Fato.

 

via Moçambique: a maldição da abundância? | Brasil de Fato.

Moçambique: a maldição da abundância?
acima cabeçalho | Análise
As grandes multinacionais, algumas bem conhecidas dos latino-americanos, estão se apoderando das riquezas de Moçambique

26/07/2012

Boaventura de Sousa Santos

A “maldição da abundância” é uma expressão usada para caracterizar os riscos que correm os países pobres onde se descobrem recursos naturais objeto de cobiça internacional. A promessa de abundância decorrente do imenso valor comercial dos recursos e dos investimentos necessários para o concretizar é tão convincente que passa a condicionar o padrão de desenvolvimento econômico, social, político e cultural.

Os riscos desse condicionamento são, entre outros: crescimento do PIB em vez de desenvolvimento social; corrupção generalizada da classe política que, para defender os seus interesses privados, se torna crescentemente autoritária para se poder manter no poder, agora visto como fonte de acumulação primitiva de capital; aumento em vez de redução da pobreza; polarização crescente entre uma pequena minoria super-rica e uma imensa maioria de indigentes; destruição ambiental e sacrifícios incontáveis às populações onde se encontram os recursos em nome de um “progresso” que estas nunca conhecerão; criação de uma cultura consumista que é praticada apenas por uma pequena minoria urbana mas imposta como ideologia a toda a sociedade; supressão do pensamento e das práticas dissidentes da sociedade civil sob o pretexto de serem obstáculos ao desenvolvimento e profetas da desgraça. Em suma, os riscos são que, no final do ciclo da orgia dos recursos, o país esteja mais pobre econômica, social, política e culturalmente do que no seu início. Nisto consiste a maldição da abundância.

Depois das investigações que conduzi em Moçambique entre 1997 e 2003 visitei o país várias vezes. Da visita que acabo de fazer colho uma dupla impressão que a minha solidariedade com o povo moçambicano transforma em dupla inquietação. A primeira tem precisamente a ver com a orgia dos recursos naturais. As sucessivas descobertas (algumas antigas) de carvão (Moçambique é já o sexto maior produtor de carvão a nível mundial), gás natural, ferro, níquel, talvez petróleo anunciam um El Dorado de rendas extrativistas que podem ter um impacto no país semelhante ao que teve a independência. Fala-se numa segunda independência. Estarão os moçambicanos preparados para fugir à maldição da abundância? Duvido.

As grandes multinacionais, algumas bem conhecidas dos latino-americanos, como a Rio Tinto (Austrália) e a brasileira Vale do Rio Doce (Vale Moçambique) exercem as suas atividades com muito pouca regulação estatal, celebram contratos que lhe permitem o saque das riquezas moçambicanas com mínimas contribuições para o orçamento de estado (em 2010 a contribuição foi de 0,04%), violam impunemente os direitos humanos das populações onde existem recursos, procedendo ao seu reassentamento (por vezes mais de um num prazo de poucos anos) em condições indignas, com o desrespeito dos lugares sagrados, dos cemitérios, dos ecossistemas que têm organizado a sua vida desde há dezenas ou centenas de anos.

Sempre que as populações protestam são brutalmente reprimidas pelas forças policiais e militares. A Vale é hoje um alvo central das organizações ecológicas e de direitos humanos pela sua arrogância neocolonial e pelas cumplicidades que estabeleceu com o governo. Tais cumplicidades assentam por vezes em perigosos conflitos de interesses, entre os interesses do país governado pelo Presidente Guebuza e os interesses das empresas do empresário Guebuza donde podem resultar graves violações dos direitos humanos como quando o ativista ambiental Jeremias Vunjane, que levava consigo para a Conferência da ONU, Rio+20, denúncias dos atropelos da Vale, foi arbitrariamente impedido de entrar no Brasil e deportado (e só regressou depois de muita pressão internacional), ou quando, às organizações sociais é pedida uma autorização do governo para visitar as populações reassentadas como se estas vivessem sob a alçada de um agente soberano estrangeiro.

São muitos os indícios de que as promessas dos recursos começam a corromper a classe política de alto a baixo e os conflitos no seio desta são entre os que “já comeram “ e os que “querem também comer”. Não é de esperar que nestas condições, os moçambicanos no seu conjunto beneficiem dos recursos. Pelo contrário, pode estar em curso a angolanização de Moçambique. Não será um processo linear porque Moçambique é muito diferente de Angola: a liberdade de imprensa é incomparavelmente superior; a sociedade civil está mais organizada; os novos-ricos têm medo da ostentação porque ela zurzida semanalmente na imprensa e também pelo medo dos sequestros; o sistema judicial, apesar de tudo, é mais independente para atuar; há uma massa crítica de acadêmicos moçambicanos credenciados internacionalmente capazes de fazer análises sérias que mostram que “o rei vai nu”.

A segunda impressão/inquietação, relacionada com a anterior, consiste em verificar que o impulso para a transição democrática que observara em estadias anteriores parece estancado ou estagnado. A legitimidade revolucionária da Frelimo sobrepõe-se cada vez mais à sua legitimidade democrática (que tem vindo a diminuir em recentes atos eleitorais) com a agravante de estar agora a ser usada para fins bem pouco revolucionários; a partidarização do aparelho de estado aumenta em vez de diminuir; a vigilância sobre a sociedade civil aperta-se sempre que nela se suspeita dissidência; a célula do partido continua a interferir com a liberdade acadêmica do ensino e investigação universitários; mesmo dentro da Frelimo, e, portanto, num contexto controlado, a discussão política é vista como distração ou obstáculo ante os benefícios indiscutidos e indiscutíveis do “desenvolvimento”. Um autoritarismo insidioso disfarçado de empreendedorismo e de aversão à política (“não te metas em problemas”) germina na sociedade como erva daninha.

Ao partir de Moçambique, uma frase do grande escritor moçambicano Eduardo White cravou-se em mim e em mim ficou: “nós que não mudamos de medo por termos medo de o mudar” (Savana, 20-7-2012). Uma frase talvez tão válida para a sociedade moçambicana como para a sociedade portuguesa e para tantas outras acorrentadas às regras de um capitalismo global sem regras.

Boaventura de Sousa Santos é sociólogo e professor catedrático da Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra (Portugal).

Autesserre: The Trouble with the Congo

The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding

Lecture with Assistant Professor Séverine Autesserre

NAI FOI Lecture Series on African Security 2011. Filmed 2 November 2011. 50 min.

via Autesserre: The Trouble with the Congo.

via Autesserre: The Trouble with the Congo.

Angola Diamantes

http://www.tsf.pt/Programas/programa.aspx?content_id=917512&audio_id=1707525

Présidentielle en RDC : tension au lendemain de la victoire contestée de Kabila | Jeuneafrique.com – le premier site d’information et d’actualité sur l’Afrique

Présidentielle en RDC : tension au lendemain de la victoire contestée de Kabila | Jeuneafrique.com – le premier site d’information et d’actualité sur l’Afrique.

via Présidentielle en RDC : tension au lendemain de la victoire contestée de Kabila | Jeuneafrique.com – le premier site d’information et d’actualité sur l’Afrique.