Clement Meric’s Killing: Anti-Fascist Demo Held in Paris to Mark Anniversary of Activist’s Death
worker | June 7, 2021 | 8:10 pm | Anti-fascists | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/europe/202106051083079893-clement-merics-killing-anti-fascist-demo-held-in-paris-to-mark-anniversary-of-activists-death/

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Clement Meric, a left-wing youth was heavily beaten in a clash in a shopping area between right-wing and anti-fascist activists in June 2013. A few hours after the fight, he succumbed to his wounds.

Sputnik is live from Paris, France, where an antifascist demonstration to commemorate the eighth anniversary of Clement Meric’s killing is taking place.

Meric, 18, died in a fight with right-wing activists after sustaining fatal wounds. Two men, Esteban Morillo and Samuel Dufour, were indicted for his death and were convicted of manslaughter and weapons supply.

On Friday, they were sentenced to 8 and 5 years in prison respectively.

Follow our live feed to find out more!

 

 

‘New world order’ being formed before our eyes, Russia’s deputy defense minister tells RT ahead of key Moscow security conference
worker | June 3, 2021 | 8:43 pm | Analysis, Russia | No comments

https://www.rt.com/russia/525561-new-world-order-emerges/

‘New world order’ being formed before our eyes, Russia’s deputy defense minister tells RT ahead of key Moscow security conference

'New world order' being formed before our eyes, Russia’s deputy defense minister tells RT ahead of key Moscow security conference
We are currently witnessing the formation of nothing less than a “new world order,” with the existing international legal system fracturing and states taking sides in a fresh Cold War, Russia’s deputy defense minister has told RT.

Colonel General Aleksandr Fomin spoke to the network ahead of the 9th Moscow Conference on International Security, scheduled to take place on June 22-24 in the Russian capital. The event brings together military officials and security experts from different countries, with some 49 nations having already confirmed their participation.

The upcoming conference is an explicitly non-partisan event, and the countries are invited to partake regardless of their current relationship with Russia, Fomin stated.

“At the forum, we give the floor not only to partners who share our approaches to solving major world problems, but also to opponents, countries with which cooperation today is at bare minimum or equal to zero,” Fomin said.

Discussions like those at the Moscow forum are particularly important during challenging times, the official added, as the world’s political and security landscape is currently experiencing historic shifts, with the ‘old’ world order crumbling apart.

Today we are witnessing the formation of a new world order. We see a tendency for countries to be drawn into a new Cold War, the states being divided into ‘us’ and ‘them’, with ‘them’ unambiguously defined in doctrinal documents as adversaries.

“The existing system of international relations and the security framework is being systematically destroyed. The role of international organizations as instruments of collective decision-making in the field of security is being diminished,” Frolov said, without specifying examples.

Over the past few years, particularly under former US president Donald Trump, multiple international agreements ceased to exist. Effectively, only one major accord between Washington and Moscow – the New START treaty – remains, after President Joe Biden agreed to extend it for another five years.

ALSO ON RT.COMNo going back to ‘Open Skies’ spy plane agreement, US tells Russia ahead of eagerly awaited first Biden-Putin presidential summitThe emergence of new weapons systems, as well as the efforts of some nations to bring warfare into areas that have never seen it before, further accelerates the emergence of a “new world order,” Frolov noted.

“Fundamentally new types of weapons that radically change the balance of power in the modern world are emerging, with warfare getting into new areas – into space and cyberspace. This, of course, leads to a change in the principles and methods of war,” he added.

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Argentina’s oil workers threaten STRIKE if government doesn’t greenlight private Covid-19 vaccine purchase
worker | June 3, 2021 | 8:39 pm | Argentina, Labor, Latin America | No comments

https://www.rt.com/news/525518-argentina-oil-strike-coronavirus/

Argentina’s oil workers threaten STRIKE if government doesn’t greenlight private Covid-19 vaccine purchase

Argentina’s oil workers threaten STRIKE if government doesn't greenlight private Covid-19 vaccine purchase
Argentina’s largest oil workers union is eager to buy coronavirus vaccines on its own, warning that it will be forced to go on strike to protect the health of its members if the government doesn’t quickly authorize the sale.

The Rio Negro, Neuquen and La Pampa Private Oil and Gas Union – which has 24,000 members, many of whom are employed at the Vaca Muerta shale oil formation – insisted that it would only wait until the end of next week for permission from the government in Buenos Aires.

“If there are no answers to our request [by Friday, June 11], we are going to withdraw from our jobs to protect the health of all our colleagues,” Guillermo Pereyra, the union’s leader, warned in a statement on Wednesday, adding “we have raised this situation with the health authorities and so far we have not achieved anything.”

ALSO ON RT.COMStriking health workers in Argentina reject govt’s 53% salary increase, maintaining road blockade to country’s biggest shale siteThe vaccines purchased by the government are currently being given to senior citizens and priority workers. So far, 12.8 million doses, including Russia’s Sputnik V, have been administered in Argentina, which has a population of 45 million. Pereyra, however, said the union would rather buy its own immunizations.

“We don’t want to get vaccinations from anyone or to be assigned items that are intended for the elderly, educators, health personnel or people at risk. We are willing to pay for them,” he continued.

According to earlier reports, the union was considering purchasing 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from Israel, which remained unused as the country largely relied on Pfizer’s inoculation.

Covid-19 cases have surged in Argentina as it sees a second wave of the pandemic, with the country reporting a record daily death toll of 745 people in mid-May. So far, it has seen 3.82 million infections and 78,733 coronavirus-related deaths nationwide since the outbreak kicked off in late 2019.

Argentinian port workers earlier went on strike over lack of access to vaccines and only returned to the job a week ago after making sure that the government included them in the priority group. Healthcare workers have also joined strikes in recent months, with some blocking roads to the Vaca Muerta shale site in April while demanding an immediate pay increase amid the health crisis.

ALSO ON RT.COMArgentine president tests positive for Covid-19 after Russia’s Sputnik V shot, but researchers say he will recover swiftlyLike this story? Share it with a friend!

‘Class cleansing’ is killing London, as poor people are removed from communities like vermin
worker | June 3, 2021 | 8:33 pm | class struggle | No comments

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/525482-class-cleansing-killing-london-gentrification/

‘Class cleansing’ is killing London, as poor people are removed from communities like vermin

Dr Lisa McKenzie
Dr Lisa McKenzie

Dr Lisa McKenzie is a working-class academic. She grew up in a coal-mining town in Nottinghamshire and became politicized through the 1984 miners’ strike with her family. At 31, she went to the University of Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree in sociology. Dr McKenzie lectures in sociology at the University of Durham and is the author of ‘Getting By: Estates, Class and Culture in Austerity Britain.’ She’s a political activist, writer and thinker. Follow her on Twitter @redrumlisa.

‘Class cleansing’ is killing London, as poor people are removed from communities like vermin
A new report has highlighted the aggressive social cleansing that is rampant in three London boroughs, and the devastating effect it has on people who are displaced. It seems the working class are not welcome in Britain’s capital.

Gentrification is not a new phenomenon but it is clear that it is out of control in London.

As with many cities, it is a process the UK capital has been familiar with for some time. Poorer communities have been moved out of neighbourhoods in favour of a ‘better’ class of people for generations, and in the early 1960s sociologist Ruth Glass coined the term ‘gentrification’ as the old Victorian properties of Islington were bought for a song by the affluent middle classes.

These once-grand houses, which had fallen into disrepair housing society’s poorest, were renovated and modernised, with the aid of local government grants, by many of the middle-class gentrifiers. What had become slums were transformed into million-pound properties and are now among the most sought-after houses in the country, with Islington firmly established as a political, media and cultural enclave. It is no coincidence that Tony Blair, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn have all lived in the original gentrified borough.

The working-class residents who lived in the squalid, overcrowded conditions were moved into newly built council housing, as the consensus between political ideologies after World War II continued. Millions of social housing properties were built around the country, allowing many working-class people to live in dignity for the first time, with indoor bathroom facilities, clean running water and a sufficient number of bedrooms for children and parents to sleep separately.

Today, though, there is no political consensus to provide good, affordable housing for working-class people, just a laissez-faire attitude that it should be left to the market. In fact, we can look back to the early ’60s – with the slum clearances, the high -rises and the council house building – and think, for all the faults, that these were the good old days compared to what is happening now, as was evidenced by a report last week from the Runnymede Trust and CLASS think tank titled ‘Pushed to the Margins’.

It describes contemporary gentrification in Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Newham in London that is alarming and aggressive, with working-class people being violently displaced. And what is especially concerning is that it is working-class people from black and Asian communities who seem to be particularly affected.

They are being pushed out to the furthest points of the capital, away from transport links, meaning that if they work in central London their commute for minimum wage jobs becomes ever longer and more uncomfortable, in packed buses and tubes. Contemporary life for working-class people in Britain means longer, more expensive, insanitary commutes.

This is nothing more than what I call ‘class cleansing’. I undertook extensive research on this process in London between 2013 and 2018 – a five-year ethnography of what happens to working-class people who are being crushed by what is not now ‘gentle’ gentrification, but a horrific Manhattanisation process.

ALSO ON RT.COMThe housing market may be booming for a fortunate few, but the have-nots of Britain are still being left way behindNo longer is it the middle class gentrifying parts of Victorian London, but instead we see a global elite army of property developers – aided and abetted by local and national politicians – who are inflicting this ‘class cleansing’.

They are removing working-class people from communities as if they were vermin, with no thought or care of where they go, and there is no real economic or social solution being put forward by any of the mainstream political institutions. Meanwhile, the council estates are being bulldozed to make way for luxury towers soaring into the sky – soulless, lifeless and disconnected from the streets and the people of the city.

Four years ago, I lived in Tower Hamlets and was part of a housing movement trying to bring attention to the class cleansing occurring in London. I was contacted by a woman who worked in a private lettings agency in North Nottinghamshire, who informed me a woman from the borough of Barking and Dagenham had just turned up at her office with two Ikea bags stuffed with her belongings, and two small children.

She had been sent to Nottinghamshire with no more than an address by the housing official. Since arriving in the UK from Nigeria 10 years previously, she had never lived outside London and over the years had found it impossible to find somewhere affordable and safe to live. She had a Master’s degree, but was unable to put it to use because without a home and stability you cannot find and secure a decent job. That takes headspace and commitment, which you simply can’t have when you are living out of carrier bags, being moved around with two kids.

Barking and Dagenham Council had an arrangement with a private landlord in North Nottinghamshire to house families that London had no room for. The council had paid the deposit and two weeks’ rent upfront, and the mother and her children were housed in a flat in an old mining village that was remote and had very few services and little public transport. I made contact and visited her, and she told me she desperately wanted to get back to London – she was totally isolated. This poor mother and her children had been cleansed out of London – not good enough, not rich enough, not productive enough for Britain’s capital city.

ALSO ON RT.COMPoverty is rising fast, but it’s part of a decades-long project which the lockdowns of 2020 will only accelerateHer story did not end well – she became very ill and her children were put into care in Derbyshire, and I lost contact with her about two years ago. But this is not an isolated incident. I have met women and children who have been forced out of many ‘successful cities’ throughout the UK – it is a violent, abusive process and it is the state, local councils and bureaucrats who are inflicting this misery on working-class families without being held to account.

The former mayor of Newham, Robin Wales, summed it up years ago, when talking about a group of young mothers from the Focus E15 hostel in Stratford as it was being closed down and they were about to be cleansed out across the country. “If you can’t afford to live in Newham, you can’t afford to live in Newham.”

As temperatures soar this week and we see images of rich people floating in sky-high glass-bottomed swimming pools looking down on London, the symbolism of the gap between those at the top of society and those at the bottom has never been so stark. It is unequal, unfair and cruel. For all the talk about coming out of the pandemic and rebuilding society, are working-class people included in this vision? I doubt it.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Biden commemorates Tulsa massacre, notes ‘terrorism from white supremacy’ is ‘greatest threat’ to US
worker | June 2, 2021 | 9:04 pm | Fascist terrorism, Joe Biden, Local/State | No comments

https://www.rt.com/usa/525413-joe-biden-tulsa-massacre/

Biden commemorates Tulsa massacre, notes ‘terrorism from white supremacy’ is ‘greatest threat’ to US

Biden commemorates Tulsa massacre, notes ‘terrorism from white supremacy’ is ‘greatest threat’ to US
Joe Biden commemorated the 100th anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre by visiting the city and announcing new efforts to combat “white supremacy” and increase federal spending on minority-owned businesses.

Speaking from Tulsa’s Greenwood Cultural Center after visiting with the three remaining survivors of the massacre of black citizens, Biden noted he was the first sitting president to visit the Oklahoma location, something he said he did to help erase the “silence” around the dark event, which he described in detail.

The Tulsa destruction began when a young black man named Dick Rowland was falsely accused of rape by a white woman. With a white mob demanding the sheriff turn him over, dozens of black citizens showed up to guard Rowland at his trial. After being turned away, they returned in greater numbers only for things to descend into violence with a mob of white people. The chaos led to the destruction of the Greenwood neighborhood, referred to as “Black Wall Street” thanks to its thriving black-owned businesses. Numerous homes and shops were destroyed and black citizens were killed, some even by private planes dropping bombs.

ALSO ON RT.COMArmed protesters march for reparations in Tulsa, Oklahoma as the city marks 100th anniversary of black massacreThe true death count from the day is not known, but some have estimated that it could be higher than 300.

“This was not a riot. It was a massacre,” Biden said to applause, dismissing the long-held narrative that the events were a “race riot.”

“Imagine all of those hotels and diners and mom-and-pop shops that could have been passed down this past 100 years,” he later added, before announcing efforts to help in “black wealth creation,” including increasing federal contracts to “black or brown owned” businesses by 50% as well as combating the “racial discrimination in housing,” noting black home ownership is lower today than 50 years ago.

“We’re committed to changing that,” he said.

ALSO ON RT.COMTrump expects to get reinstated as president by August, New York Times’ Maggie Haberman claims, sparking stormAmong his administration’s other efforts is setting aside $10 billion in infrastructure spending to go to rebuilding roads, schools, etc. in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

The president also said he was putting Vice President Kamala Harris in charge of an effort to push back against new voting laws in various states he claims are trying to suppress the “right to vote.” Biden did not go into specifics, but said he would have more details about his plan in the coming days.

He wrapped his commemoration by comparing the “hate” at the center of the Tulsa Massacre, as well as voting rights issues, to more recent events such as the 2017 Charlottesville riot and Capitol riot – done by a mob of “violent white extremist thugs,” according to Biden – on January 6, which led to the death of five people, though he did mistakenly say the latter took place on January 9.

“Terrorism from white supremacy is the most lethal threat to the homeland today,” Biden claimed, citing concerns from US intelligence communities.

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Mozambique/Global: Fossil Fuels, Debt, and Corruption
worker | June 1, 2021 | 8:53 pm | Africa | No comments

Mozambique/Global: Fossil Fuels, Debt, and Corruption

AfricaFocus Bulletin
May 31, 2021 (2021-05-31)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

“The scandal of Mozambique’s “hidden debts” has already cost the country at least 11 billion US dollars, and has plunged an additional two million people into poverty, according to a detailed study of the costs and consequences of the debt published on Friday by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), and its Norwegian partner, the Christian Michelsen Institute. The term “hidden debts” refers to illicit loans of over two billion US dollars from the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia in 2013 and 2014 to three fraudulent, security–linked Mozambican companies – Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).” – report by Centre for Public Integrity (Mozambique) and Christian Michelsen Institute (Norway)

Long-time subscribers to AfricaFocus Bulletin will know that I occasionally publish two Bulletins on one day (although not more than 4 times a year). This Bulletin (available at http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz2105b.php) and its companion Bulletin on Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity (http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz1205a.php) are the first such double-posting this year. The reasons are both personal and analytical, given my editorial criterion of focusing on developments relevant for the entire continent and for the world, as well as one particular country. This editorial note is also longer than usual, although even so it points to more questions than answers.

First, it’s personal for me, since Mozambique has been the African country to which I have had the most personal ties for more than 50 years, since first arriving in Dar es Salaam to teach at the FRELIMO secondary school in 1966. My time actually living and working with Mozambicans, first in Tanzania and then in Mozambique and working with Mozambicans only amounts to five years in the 1960s and 1970s. And my occasional visits for research or conferences in the decades since then have been far less frequent than I would have wished. But like my Mozambican friends and others who have worked in that country, I am acutely and painfully aware that Mozambique is now suffering its third war over the last six decades.

All three have been the result of complex interactions of national, regional, and global factors. The armed struggle for independence lasted 10 years, from 1964 to the 1974 agreement for transition to independence in 1975. The post-independence war from 1976 to the peace agreement in 1992 was simultaneously a regional war fueled by Rhodesia and South Africa and an internal conflict. And the present “insurgency” in the northeastern province of Cabo Delgado is driven both by internal discontent and by a mix of external factors. It began in October 2017 and has escalated sharply since March 2020, drawing increased international news coverage and debate.

But much of that coverage is superficial and focused on the single issue of whether external actors should intervene militarily or not, and if not, which of the numerous candidates to do so should step up first. Within Mozambique and the Southern African region, there is a much better informed debate by both scholars, civil society activists, and in the media about the causes of the conflict and what kind of response is needed from Africa and the global international community, prioritizing humanitarian assistance and development rather than a military solution.

[Those who know me will know that I am normally not a fan of webinars, which often supply less solid content than the time they take to watch. But this 2-hour webinar hosted by SAPES Trust on May 27 (https://www.facebook.com/sapestrust/videos/1076962609494070) is an exception. These are real experts from Mozambique and the region with in-depth knowledge of the issues engaged in real debate. No answers, but keen insights and eloquent presentations. A must-watch for anyone wanting to understand the real options for international response to the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado.]

Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado is now a central test case for whether lessons have been learned from the consistent failures of such a military solution in Mali, Somalia, and northeastern Nigeria. Sadly, it is likely to be a protracted repetition of such mistakes, with the added complexity of the interests of multinational natural gas companies.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the new report quoted above on the hidden debt in Mozambique, as well as some additional reflectino by Joseph Hanlon on the future of natural gas in Mozambique. The situation is rapidly changing, but Hanlon regularly provides updates, links to other sources in English and Portuguese, and well-informed analysis. You can subscribe to his newsletter at https://bit.ly/Moz-sub.

My apologies for the length of this comment and of these two Bulletins. If you do not have time to read them now, I hope that you will put them aside for later reference. For now, however, I have several suggestions.

  1. Do read and watch this first short on-the-scene report from the conflict zone in Cabo Delgado by veteran BBC journalist Catherine Byaruhanga, who is based in Uganda (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57254543), from on May 27, 2021
  2. Do read this summary of the report on the hidden debts, from the Mozambique News Agency, May 29, 2021 (https://allafrica.com/stories/202105290201.html), and
  3. Take a break from the news by watching the short music video embedded at the end of this Bulletin (a new feature I added last week, featuring videos I have found it essential to watch while taking breaks from writing subjects which more often feature grim realities than hope for change. The videos I choose are not linked to the specific theme of each Bulletin, but they definitely illustrate the visions of the resilience and hope needed both by Africa and the world.)

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Mozambique, visit http://www.africafocus.org/country/mozambique.php

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on peace and conflict in Africa, visit http://www.africafocus.org/intro-peace.php

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor’s note+++++++++++++++++

Costs And Consequences of The Hidden Debt Scandal of Mozambique

Centro de Integridade Pública (CIP), Moçambique, and Chr. Michelsen Institute, Norway

May 27, 2021

[Excerpts below from the executive summary and the preface.

For the full report in English:
https://www.cipmoz.org/en/2021/05/27/costs-and-consequences-of-the-hidden-debt-scandal-of-mozambique/

Additional coverage from CIP, in both English and Portuguese
https://www.cipmoz.org/en/category/dividas-ocultas/]

Executive Summary

How a $2 billion hidden and corrupt loan has cost $11 billion and increased poverty

In 2013, bankers in Europe, businesspeople based in the Middle East, and senior politicians and public servants in Mozambique conspired to organise a USD 2 billion loan to Mozambique – an incredible 12% of GDP of one of the poorest countries in the world. The loan was kept hidden. None of the borrowed money, except bribes, went to Mozambique, and there were no services or products of benefit to the Mozambican people.

The knock-on effects of such a huge corruption scandal may already have cost Mozambique at least USD 11 billion – nearly the country’s entire 2016 GDP – and almost 2 million people have been pushed into poverty. If Mozambique is forced to service this debt, there is USD 4 billion more to pay, on top of future damaging impacts.

This report is an inventory of the huge costs and consequences of the hidden debt scandal – measuring them in numbers where possible and tracing the chain of harmful events and tendencies resulting from it. The impacts were economic (direct costs and damages), social (reducing welfare), and institutional (worsening politico- institutional environment).

Economic costs

There are direct costs associated with the loans, mainly past and future costs of interest and repayments. Past direct costs – those incurred up to, and including, 2019 – amounted to USD 674,2 million. To that will be added another USD 3,93 billion that the country will have to pay to service the hidden debt until 2031.

The economic crisis was caused partly by the debt itself, but even more by the damage that flowed from the secrecy and corruption, and the following discredit. And its impact on Mozambicans was hugely more than the hidden debt. When rumours about hidden loans began to circulate, Mozambican ministers lied to the IMF and ambassadors of Mozambique’s development partners, denying the existence of any loans. When the Wall Street Journal revealed the hidden debt in April 2016, the anger was extreme. Donors and lenders had kept the country afloat, and they pulled the plug.

The IMF halted its programme and donors cancelled direct budget support and other aid to the government – a reduction of USD 831 million in 2016 compared to the year before. The cascade that followed included a fiscal crisis making the government unable to pay its bills, there was a major currency devaluation, foreign debt became unpayable, the economy slowed down sharply, real GDP per capita fell, unemployment soared, and poverty increased.

This report calculates that damage. The best and simplest overall measure of it is the fall in the value of the GDP caused by the debt, which we calculate to be USD 10.7 billion in the four-year period. Future costs of lost GDP will continue to pile up, since the damage caused by the HDS is perennial.

[see table by year in full report]

Summarised, a group of corrupt businesspeople and senior government officials committed Mozambique to a debt of over USD 2 billion and split the proceeds of the fraud. That cost Mozambicans, in the years 2016-2019 alone, over USD 11 billion – or USD 403 per citizen.

On top of that, in the decade to come, Mozambique is scheduled to pay nearly USD 4 billion more in direct costs, plus the incalculable economic damage.

Social Costs

The sudden reduction of external donations after the hidden loans were revealed in April 2016 triggered a fiscal and monetary instability that forced the government to reduce public spending severely.

In 2016 real public expenditure (in USD) was cut to less than half of what it was in 2014. That reduction in public expenditure hit the sectors aiming at social welfare. Comparing the three-year average of 2016-18 to the three previous years, spending on health and education fell by USD 1,7 billion – entirely due to the debt. Put in per capita terms, the scandal caused, for each Mozambican citizen:

– USD 10 less in the education sector, each year
– USD 7 less in the health sector, each year

There are many indications that poverty increased during the years after 2015, in various ways of measuring it. The sudden rise in inflation in 2016 and rising prices drove 2,6 million people under the threshold of consumption-based poverty, as shown by studies projecting poverty levels in 2016 using data from the most recent household surveys (IOF 2014/15). We then estimated the proportion of the increase in poverty to be explained by the hidden debt, and found that:
– because of the hidden debt scandal, at least 1,9 million people fell below the line of consumption-based poverty by 2019.

There is no starker measure of the tragedy that the hidden debt scandal has inflicted upon Mozambicans.

Political and institutional costs

The costs and consequences of the hidden debt scandal on the political and institutional landscape in Mozambique were real and severe, yet no single figure or currency captures its full impact.

Mozambique’s performance deteriorated on all relevant indexes measuring aspects of democracy, governance, public financial management and credibility in the decade between 2010-2020. Many of them also registered an acceleration of the deterioration after 2013 when the debt was incurred, and a particularly sharp fall coalescing with the discovery of the secret debt in 2016 – the “smoking gun” evidencing the secret debt’s contribution to the deterioration. This report goes beyond circumstantial evidence and also shows how and why the hidden debt contributed to the deterioration of governance.

Knowing that the debt was illegal and fraudulent, some powerful Mozambicans pushed developments contradicting good and democratic governance. They acted to:

• Cover up the deal and the debt, reducing transparency. Senior politicians lied to the public about the debt, and public finance management reforms stagnated or were reversed.

• Seek impunity, manipulating politics and institutions to avoid accountability for punishable offences. So far, no one in Mozambique has been held to account and convicted for manifestly illegal actions. Checks and balances failed. The Justice system and the Assembly of the Republic were unable to control the actions of the Executive. A Special commission of the Assembly of the Republic was highly critical, but no action was taken. The Constitutional Council ruled that the hidden loans were unconstitutional, but the Executive has ignored this.

• Create political conflict, reducing institutional cooperation. Injection of large amounts of money into one faction of the political elite, and the inevitable bickering over responsibility following the fraud, increased factional fights and institutional chaos.

• Discredit the country and its reputation, as the eventual and inevitable discovery of the debt damaged the Government’s and country’s reputation and integrity. Mozambique’s credit rating plummeted, and its reputation as a serious development partner was severely dented.

Some were inevitable costs of the decision to defraud the state and the population. However, some political choices were not inevitable. When Mozambican society reacted to the fraud with demands of accountability and refusal to pay the debt, the state chose to implement: authoritarian measures, countering the principles of the liberal-democratic Constitution. Harassment of key individuals reduced the scope for public criticism. Blatant manipulation of elections in 2018 and 2019 reduced chances that the regime would lose power.

Summarised, the hidden debt and ensuing scandal impacted heavily on politics and institutions and led to:

1. More contradictions and debilitating conflicts within the state and political system.

2. Worse governance quality and weakened state institutions.
3. Disrepute of the regime and government.
4. A less democratic and more authoritarian country.

Preface

. . .

The hidden debts, the pandemic and other disasters

The final draft of the report was drawn up in the second half of 2020, a time when the Covid-19 pandemic was battering both Mozambique and the rest of the world. This analysis will make no mention of this plague, for the simple reason that the last year included in the report is 2019. It is, however, noteworthy that is in that year Mozambique suffered the abnormal consequences and costs associated with the damage caused by the cyclones named Idai and Kenneth. The consequences of these disasters will be included in the due analyses under the relevant indicators.

The reader will have the opportunity to understand that a small group of people linked to the hidden debts scandal, some of them Mozambican and others foreign, caused damage which greatly exceeds the losses caused by the cyclones. The debts which they managed to conceal until 2016 resulted in an economic meltdown, a weakening of the institutions of governance, and a loss of political and international trust. They contributed to a worsening of the social indicators.

While we do not yet know the consequences of the pandemic currently under way, we are sure that Mozambique would have had much greater capacity to face the pandemic – and perhaps also the growing problem of the war in Cabo Delgado – had it not been for the hidden debts. For example, we will show that it is likely that, without the hidden debts, the health services would have been in better condition. Although our analysis is mostly retrospective, it is obvious to us that the costs of the hidden debts will have consequences of delaying development, also in the future – like a coefficient that multiplies the weight of all the other difficulties.

The analysis in the report leaves aside speculations about the future, the forensic debate about the individuals responsible, and the politico-normative considerations about the necessary reforms in governance. It is dedicated mainly to describing and analysing the consequences of the hidden debts, and calculating their costs realistically, from their conception up to the end of 2019.

The judicial situation of the HD

When the CIP and CMI team of researchers finished writing this report, 17 citizens were under arrest in Mozambique, accused by the Attorney-General’s Office of being involved and of having benefitted directly from this corrupt scheme. Among them there stand out:

* Ndambi Armando Guebuza, son of the former President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza;
* Gregório Leão, former director of the State Intelligence and Security Services (SISE) ;
* António Carlos do Rosário, former Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Ematum, ProIndicus and MAM;
* Inês Moiane, private secretary of President Armando Guebuza;
* Renato Matusse, political advisor to the then President Armando Guebuza;
* Teofilo Nhangumele, one of the Mozambicans who is also accused in this same case by United States prosecutors.

Internationally, the former Minister of Finance, Manuel Chang, has been under detention in South Africa since 29 December 2018, awaiting a decision as to whether he will be extradited to the United States or to Mozambique. While Chang was awaiting this decision, in the United States, in a New York court, Privinvest official Jean Boustani was tried and the jury considered he had not committed the crimes of which he was accused within the New York jurisdiction, and so he was acquitted.

In London courts, other lawsuits are under way. In one of them, the Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office is pitted against the bank Credit Suisse and Privinvest, while in others a group of creditors is fighting the Mozambican government, as well as VTB against MAM and the Republic of Mozambique.

So, when the final draft of this report was produced, this case was still far from reaching an outcome in the various jurisdictions where the lawsuits were being waged. However, its effects, as from 2016, are already visible in the lives of millions of Mozambicans who have witnessed a worsening cost of living and the deep economic and financial crisis into which the country has been plunged. With regard to the lawsuits, although it is regrettable, the delay in the trial of the various cases related with this enormous corruption scheme is understandable. It is justified by the fact that the cases are taking place in several jurisdictions and may potentially have a contagion effect – that is, the decision in one case may influence or produce evidence for the other cases.

The path to follow

However, the same excuse cannot be used for the delay in introducing structural reforms to prevent the occurrence of new scandals on this scale. Since the discovery of the hidden debts, in April 2016, more than four years have passed and the focus of the analyses is still on the individuals who were behind the contracting of the debts, and never on analysing how the system of checks and balances completely failed to create antibodies so that a fraud of this nature would not happen .

The Assembly of the Republic (AR) failed completely in its role of checking the actions of the Executive, and did not redeem itself even after the debts were discovered. The parliamentary commission that investigated the case was a clear example of this failure of the AR. The Mozambican parliament never managed to take the case of the hidden debts as an opportunity to initiate a more profound debate on the role of the legislature as inspector of government actions, probably because parliament is controlled by the ruling party which benefitted from the swindle (in the New York court, documents were presented which proved bank transfers of about USD 10 million to finance the party’s campaign), in which at least part of the leadership was complicit. So, it is an inconvenient matter for the Frelimo parliamentary group.

As for the judiciary, this also showed it did not have enough power to force the Executive to comply with the Constitution. The refusal of the government to obey rulings of the Constitutional Council is the most flagrant example.

It is essential that the country should reflect deeply on the structural reforms that should be implemented so that cases like this are not repeated. And after this reflection, mechanisms must be set up to guarantee that these reforms are undertaken. The Assembly of the Republic should lead this process.

But intellectuals, academics, civil society organisations and the public in general can and should play an important role in helping the political institutions make the necessary reforms. Currently, the weaknesses of the system persist. Hence, new actors and the knowledge of what went wrong with the hidden debts, could lead to an even more daring swindle, and one which avoids financing from western countries, such as the United States and Britain who have legislation which can act belong their physical borders.

If the internal control systems remain weak, if the parliament and the judiciary remain decorative bodies, then the Government of the day, under a presidentialist system in which the President of the Republic is all-powerful, can seek financing from creditors who are outside of the western financial systems, but who have liquidity and as a counterpart for the high risks involved, demand in exchange the country’s natural resources.

The institutional weakness, the weakness of the institutions that should act as checks and balances raises some questions in the event that Mozambique manages to win the lawsuits that it brought in London, and if it has to be compensated for the damage done to Mozambicans. If this hypothesis comes to pass, where would the money paid to the country in compensation for the damage caused by the HD go? If the institutions are not credible and controlled by the Executive and by the party that controls the government, it raises the possibility of this money returning to the hands of some of those involved in this case, thus overturning all the efforts that are being made so that companies such as Privinvest, Credit Suisse can be held responsible for the damage done to the country.

This report is a contribution to the debate around this matter and may be a useful tool for political decision makers, for public institutions, for the Assembly of the Republic, the Attorney- General’s Office, the Administrative Court, the Constitutional Council, the private sector, civil society organisations, intellectuals, academics, and the public at large.

We are confident that the report will contribute to constructive and structuring debates. Debate it, criticise it and improve its analyses and estimates! But, above all – use it! Let the extent and gravity of the injustice committed be known, so that it is never repeated, and so that its lessons may be used to build a more just, equitable and safe society!

Edson Cortez
Executive Director of CIP
May, 2021

*******************************************************

Mozambique 546 – Energy agency says no more Moz gas; Total demands peace – 20 May 2021

International Energy Agency says no future for Mozambique gas

This newsletter in pdf is on http://bit.ly/Moz-546

Mozambique’s gas fields cannot be developed if global warming is to be kept to 1.5º above pre-industrial levels, according to a dramatic International Energy Agency (IEA) report published Tuesday (18 May). The IEA is part of OECD and thus represents establishment, mainstream thinking. So when it says gas is done, that carries significant weight.

The IEA report is entitled Net Zero by 2050, and shows what needs to be done to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050, to limit the long-term increase in average global temperatures to 1.5º C, and ensure universal access to electricity and clean cooking by 2030. https://www.iea.org/reports/net-zero-by-2050

To do this requires that “beyond projects already committed as of 2021, there are no new oil and gas fields approved for development.” Only two Cabo Delgado projects fit within that window – ENI’s floating LNG plant (3 million tonnes per year – mt/y – of LNG) and Total’s suspended project (13 mt/y). ExxonMobil has still not committed, and Total has not committed to a larger project, so under IEA scenario they are excluded. In any case, the Economist (4 Feb) reports that shareholders are pushing ExxonMobil to go green. This means production of at most 16 mt/y, which is far less than the 100 mt/y being predicted just six years ago.

“The contraction of oil and natural gas production will have far- reaching implications for all the countries and companies that produce these fuels. No new oil and natural gas fields are needed.” This will mean a huge cut in projected income for gas-producing countries. “Net zero calls for nothing less than a complete transformation of how we produce, transport and consume energy.”

“No new natural gas fields are needed… beyond those already under development. Also not needed are many of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) liquefaction facilities currently under construction or at the planning stage. Between 2020 and 2050, natural gas traded as LNG falls by 60%. … In the 2030s some [gas] fields may be closed prematurely or shut temporarily.”

. . .

Global 2º compared to 1.5º for Mozambique: Hotter, drier, worse cyclones; south hit hardest

IEA cites extensively a report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), which is so detailed that it is possible to estimate the difference between global warming of 1.5º and 2º for Mozambique. The 1.5º and 2º are global average increases, and the actual impacts vary significantly across the world, and even within Mozambique.

+ Temperature rise in Mozambique will be more serious at global 2º than global 1.5º of warming. The hottest days and coldest nights will both be hotter. Global 1.5º causes a Mozambique temperature rise, but the increase is much greater at 2º. The number of hot days increases more in the north than in the south.

+ Southern Mozambique will become much dryer at 2º with droughts. Water shortages will be more severe at 2º than 1.5º. The number of consecutive dry days increases, particularly in the south.

+ Total rainfall will decrease more at 2º than 1.5º across Mozambique, and will be most serious south of the Zambeze river. However extreme rainfall increases significantly, particularly in northern coastal zones.

+ The number of cyclones may actually decrease, but their intensity increases. Thus flooding causes by heavy rain and intense cyclones will be more serious with 2º warming than with 1.5º.

+ The ocean will get warmer, and sea level will rise – with significant difference between 1.5º and 2º.

+ There is increased risk to mangroves.

+ Moving from 1.5° to 2° of warming reduces maize yield and the suitability of maize as a food crop. Food shortages are predicted, and the risks at 2º are “much larger than the corresponding risks at 1.5°”.

This all comes from an extremely detailed comparison of 1.5º and 2º with maps good enough to identify differences within Mozambique in Chapter 3 of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) thick 2018 tome Global warming of 1.5ºC https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ .

Higher Ground 2020 (Stevie Wonder) | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

441,167 views

There are many other versions of this song available on-line, including different versions by Stevie Wonder

Three that I found and think you might like are

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV1DK9tSHio – Stevie Wonder in 1973

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PEPrPRAp4M – Stevie Wonder, Shakira & Usher at Obama inauguration

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYi8Haq4C-oAfrican River

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter. For an archive of previous Bulletins, see http://www.africafocus.org,

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Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity
worker | June 1, 2021 | 8:51 pm | Africa | No comments
Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity

Mozambique/Global: War, Intervention, and Solidarity

AfricaFocus Bulletin
May 31, 2021 (2021-05-31)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor’s Note

“No amount of international military assistance will, within two years, create a fighting force that can combat the insurgency. Two other factors complicate external support. Foreign intervention is likely to provoke a response from Islamic State to provide weapons and training to the insurgents. And the fight is already underway between factions in Frelimo over the upcoming 2024 elections. Cabo Delgado politics and economics, the police and military, and the war itself are already caught up in the bitter infighting. Thus the war seems likely to escalate and continue until a new president is in place in 2025.” – Joseph Hanlon

Long-time subscribers to AfricaFocus Bulletin will know that I occasionally publish two Bulletins on one day (although not more than 4 times a year). This Bulletin (available at http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz1205a.php) and its companion Bulletin on Mozambique/Global: Fossil Fuels, Debt, and Corruption (http://www.africafocus.org/docs21/moz1205b.php) are the first such double-posting this year. The reasons are both personal and analytical, given my editorial criterion of focusing on developments relevant for the entire continent and for the world, as well as one particular country. This editorial note is also longer than usual, although even so it points to more questions than answers.

First, it’s personal for me, since Mozambique has been the African country to which I have had the most personal ties for more than 50 years, since first arriving in Dar es Salaam to teach at the FRELIMO secondary school in 1966. My time actually living and working with Mozambicans, first in Tanzania and then in Mozambique and working with Mozambicans only amounts to five years in the 1960s and 1970s. And my occasional visits for research or conferences in the decades since then have been far less frequent than I would have wished. But like my Mozambican friends and others who have worked in that country, I am acutely and painfully aware that Mozambique is now suffering its third war over the last six decades.

All three have been the result of complex interactions of national, regional, and global factors. The armed struggle for independence lasted 10 years, from 1964 to the 1974 agreement for transition to independence in 1975. The post-independence war from 1976 to the peace agreement in 1992 was simultaneously a regional war fueled by Rhodesia and South Africa and an internal conflict. And the present “insurgency” in the northeastern province of Cabo Delgado is driven both by internal discontent and by a mix of external factors. It began in October 2017 and has escalated sharply since March 2020, drawing increased international news coverage and debate.

But much of that coverage is superficial and focused on the single issue of whether external actors should intervene militarily or not, and if not, which of the numerous candidates to do so should step up first. Within Mozambique and the Southern African region, there is a much better informed debate by both scholars, civil society activists, and in the media about the causes of the conflict and what kind of response is needed from Africa and the global international community, prioritizing humanitarian assistance and development rather than a military solution.

[Those who know me will know that I am normally not a fan of webinars, which often supply less solid content than the time they take to watch. But this 2-hour webinar hosted by SAPES Trust on May 27 (https://www.facebook.com/sapestrust/videos/1076962609494070) is an exception. These are real experts from Mozambique and the region with in-depth knowledge of the issues engaged in real debate. No answers, but keen insights and eloquent presentations. A must-watch for anyone wanting to understand the real options for international response to the conflict and humanitarian crisis in Cabo Delgado.]

Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado is now a central test case for whether lessons have been learned from the consistent failures of such a military solution in Mali, Somalia, and northeastern Nigeria. Sadly, it is likely to be a protracted repetition of such mistakes, with the added complexity of the interests of multinational natural gas companies.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts on the war in Cabo Delgado from recent newsletters by Joseph Hanlon. The situation is rapidly changing, but Hanlon regularly provides updates, links to other sources in English and Portuguese, and well-informed analysis. You can subscribe to his newsletter at https://bit.ly/Moz-sub.

My apologies for the length of this comment and of these two Bulletins. If you do not have time to read them now, I hope that you will put them aside for later reference. For now, however, I have several suggestions.

  1. Do read and watch this first short on-the-scene report from the conflict zone in Cabo Delgado, from May 27, 2021, by veteran BBC journalist Catherine Byaruhanga, who is based in Uganda (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57254543).“Today, on one of the islands – Quirimba – rows of white tarpaulin tents line the white sandy beaches. We are the first international journalists to arrive here since the attack on Palma. More than 9,000 people from different parts of Cabo Delgado are seeking shelter here. By this point, it was nearly two months since the town was overrun but she’s spent all that time travelling to Quitunda and other villages before taking a boat to Quirimba where she hopes other family members will join her.
  2. She started her journey seven months pregnant, but while out at sea she went into pre-term labour and her son died.” – Catherine Byaruhanga
  3. Thirty-two-year-old Mamo Sufo from Palma and her three young children arrived at the island just days before we did.
  4. Do read this summary of the report on the hidden debts, from the Mozambique News Agency, May 29, 2021 (https://allafrica.com/stories/202105290201.html), and
  5. Take a break from the news by watching the short music video embedded at the end of this Bulletin (a new feature I added last week, featuring videos I have found it essential to watch while taking breaks from writing subjects which more often feature grim realities than hope for change. The videos I choose are not linked to the specific theme of each Bulletin, but they definitely illustrate the visions of the resilience and hope needed both by Africa and the world.)

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on Mozambique, visit http://www.africafocus.org/country/mozambique.php

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on peace and conflict in Africa, visit http://www.africafocus.org/intro-peace.php

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor’s note+++++++++++++++++

Mozambique: News Reports and Clippings

545 – part 1 – 16 May 2021

Editor: Joseph Hanlon ( j.hanlon@open.ac.uk)
To subscribe or unsubscribe: https://bit.ly/Moz-sub
Articles may be freely reprinted but please cite the source.

This newsletter in pdf is on http://bit.ly/Moz-545-gas

Part 1 – security

Security will be at the top of the agenda when President Filipe Nyusi meets French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday (18 May) in Paris. Also in Paris will be Antonio Costa, who is both Portuguese Prime Minister and President of the Council of the European Union (EU), and he will probably also meet with Nyusi. But their agendas will be very different. Macron wants Nyusi to agree on a French security cordon so Total can return to Afungi. Costa wants Portuguese soldiers in Mozambique, preferably under an EU umbrella.

Total’s declaration of force majeure and its complete withdrawal from Afungi means it does not expect to return soon – definitely not this year. But it has to return within two years. Longer than that will require renegotiating contracts – with buyers, contractors and the Mozambique government, And a delay in production to 2026 or 2027 will require rethinking about whether or not there is a long term market for gas (discussed in part 2 of this special report).

What Total decides determines what happened to the other large gas block (area 4), which is run by Exxon Mobil (with a 28% stake). Exxon has repeatedly delayed it final investment decision, now pushed back to 2023, and will not agree before Total is back at work. Area 4 has China’s only gas investment in Mozambique; China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has a 12% stake. The newsletter China-Lusophone Brief (30 Mar) says this investment in now imperilled. So what happens in the next two years determines the future of not just Total, but Exxon and its partners as well.

No amount of international military assistance will, within two years, create a fighting force that can combat the insurgency. Two other factors complicate external support. Foreign intervention is likely to provoke a response from Islamic State to provide weapons and training to the insurgents. And the fight is already underway between factions in Frelimo over the upcoming 2024 elections. Cabo Delgado politics and economics, the police and military, and the war itself are already caught up in the bitter infighting. Thus the war seems likely to escalate and continue until a new president is in place in 2025.

After being misled by President Nyusi in March about the ability of the Mozambican defence forces to protect Palma and Afungi, Macron will probably tell Nyusi that Total will only return if France has complete control of a large security zone. This will be hard for Frelimo to swallow and there will be delay, but they want the gas money and will eventually agree – especially if there is another successful attack on Palma.

. . .

Multiple foreign players

With Mozambique’s defence forces (FDS) weak, divided and corrupt – and now at the centre of high level fights inside Frelimo – the FDS has little chance of winning a purely military war against guerrilla insurgents. That leaves two alternatives. One way is to resolve the grievances that are at the root of the war, sharing the resource wealth and creating thousands of jobs. That is unacceptable, because so many people are profiting, and because if Mozambique admits the cause of war is poverty and inequality, it is effectively admitting responsibility. The alternative route is to blame external aggression by Islamic State (IS) and call on outsiders to join the new holy war against IS. And this is the route that Frelimo has chosen.

Four countries and two international bodies have shown some interest in joining the war: the United States, Portugal, South Africa and Rwanda, as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the EU. Because of Total, France is also a possible player, although it might prefer to stick to its security zone.

Portugal is sending an 140-person training mission of whom 60 are already in Mozambique, training marines in KaTembe and commandos in Chimoio.?Training will continue for three years. Portuguese and Mozambican defence ministers Joao Cravinho and Jamie Neto met in Lisbon 10 May and signed a five year military cooperation agreement.

United States (US)  A dozen US special force soldiers completed two months of training of Mozambican marines on 5 May, and another training session will start in July. On 10 March the US called the insurgents “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria- Mozambique (ISIS-Mozambique)” and designated them as a “foreign terrorist organisation”. The US said on 6 May that it would provide humanitarian assistance in response to what the US State Department called “devastating violence by ISIS-affiliated terrorists”.

Rwanda. President Nyusi flew to Rwanda on 28 April and met President Paul Kagame, who promised military help. Just 10 days later, on 8 May, a Rwandan military mission was seen in Pemba.

Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent an assessment mission 15-21 April which recommended a 3,000-person regional military force plus submarines, surveillance aircraft and drones. SADC expects the EU and US to fund the mission. It would take a year or more to get such a mission on the ground. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on 10 May South Africa would join such a force if asked. But Mozambique has not encouraged the SADC mission.

The European Union (EU) is divided and slow. The European Union must move with “urgency” to step up its support for Mozambique, said Josep Borrell, EU “foreign minister” (High Representative for Foreign Affairs) on 6 May. But with a hint of frustration, he continued: “We are considering a potential European Union training mission, like the ones that we already have in several African countries.” Borrell said any mission would be similar to the EU’s involvement in the Sahel. He hoped a mission could be sent to Mozambique before the end of the year, and suggested sending 200-300 soldiers to Mozambique. Portugal currently holds the EU’s six month rotating Council presidency, and has been pushing for EU involvement in Mozambique. “Portugal has already offered half of the staff [and] sent in advance military structures. It will be integrated into the EU training mission, if we finally agree on that,” said Borrell. But there is no agreement yet.

. . .

Does a military response ignore the roots of war?

The rush for military support has caused substantial debate. Many of the issues were raised in a letter from 30 African civil society organisations (CSOs) to SADC, in response to the proposal to send 3000 troops – a major military force. The CSOs’ letter is on http://bit.ly/Moz-CSO-SADC

It welcomes “collective action from SADC” but continues: “We urge our leaders to consider the lessons learnt from other similar conflicts in Africa. Sahel, Somalia, and the Niger Delta offer stark contemporary reminders that a purely militaristic solution (devoid of measures to address the causes of the insurgency) increases the likelihood of its intractability. It is also unlikely to pave the way towards achieving sustainable peace.”

“Any SADC intervention should also provide avenues to pursue political and diplomatic solutions to the conflict. This necessitates an acute understanding of the root causes of the conflict, push and pull factors that lead to the recruitment of locals and youth into insurgency operations, and the motivations of actors operating in the region.” Creating a sustainable peace requires creating “avenues for local communities to address their grievances with government, which is paramount to addressing the root causes of conflict.”

And the CSO letter calls for “holding government and businesses to the highest levels of accountability regarding their operations in Cabo Delgado. Corruption, maladministration, and skewed development are central to communities’ feelings of marginalization. Ensuring that citizens receive the lion’s share of dividends from gas revenue form part of broader longer-term socio-economic solutions to insurgency.”

Two key issues are raised by the CSOs’ statement, the roots of the war and danger that foreign military forces will remain indefinitely.

There is a quite broad agreement that the insurgency was initially local and based on local grievances about growing poverty, inequality and marginalisation. The division is about what happened next. The US argues that the insurgency has been totally taken over by IS which now commands and controls. But the respected International Crisis Group say IS does not have “the ability to exert command and control.” Local researchers confirm that although there is contact with IS, command and control remains local and the grievances remain important for insurgent recruiting.

The CSOs stress the role of government and business in the “skewed development”, which effectively puts the blame for the war on Frelimo and government. This suggests that diverting money from those getting rich on the gas and minerals and instead using the wealth to create jobs and development would play a key role in ending the war.

It is also central to the interveners. The US, EU and others would not support Mozambique to kill hungry, illiterate peasants demanding a share of the wealth. But they would intervene in a war against Islamic State.

And Frelimo and the Mozambique government are being very careful that those who intervene do not talk about grievances and root causes. Thus it supports intervention by foreign governments and private military companies, which it can control, and not by international bodies such as the UN, EU and SADC, which issue statements it cannot control.

. . .

**************************************************************

Mozambique: News Reports and Clippings

546 – 20 May 2021

This newsletter in pdf is on http://bit.ly/Moz-546

Total will return only with peace and tranquillity

“As soon as Cabo Delgado has peace again, Total will return,” the president of the French oil and gas company, Patrick Pouyanee, promised Monday (17 May). President Filipe Nyusi confirmed Tuesday (18 May) that Total will return only when everything “is calm”. “Total may demand that there is tranquillity and peace to develop its economic projects,” Nyusi added. (Lusa 18 May)

France has shown “complete willingness” to provide whatever is necessary for Mozambique’s fight against terrorism in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, according to President Filipe Nyusi after his meeting in Paris with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, on Tuesday. (18 May) Nyusi said “we discussed in detail the situation of terrorism. The matter is unavoidable. France has shown great willingness, but it has left sovereignty in the hands of Mozambicans”. To follow up, Nyusi said, the two countries must advance quickly to sign the agreements which will define exactly the type of support to be granted by France. (Mediafax 19 May) But it remains unclear if Mozambique sovereignty will allow enough of a French presence to guarantee the tranquillity and peace Total demands.

Nyusi also met in Paris with Arnaud Pieton, executive administrator of Technip, the principal offshore contractor. Pieton said “we have received guarantees from the Mozambique government that they are doing everything to reintroduce security, and this is a fundamental condition for the project to be developed rapidly.” ( O Pais 19 May)

Government still blocking aid to Palma; the focus on ‘terrorists’ makes it worse

There is still no aid reaching up to 20,000 people not being allowed to leave Quitunda near Palma. Finally Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has spoken out. “Significant restrictions are placed on the scale up of the humanitarian response due to the ongoing insecurity, and the bureaucratic hurdles impeding the importation of certain supplies and the issuing of visas for additional humanitarian workers,” said Jonathan Whittall, MSF Director of Analysis, on 14 May. http://bit.ly/Moz-Palma-MSF

It is also made very difficult for foreigners to visit the area. The UN was allowed to send a team to Quitunda on 21 April, but could not negotiate aid access. After the visit, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) called “for full humanitarian access and a reduction of bureaucratic impediments, including the issuing of visas [for UN experts], to ensure timely and efficient delivery of humanitarian aid.” There is also a need for “greater and strategic engagement with the Government,” said Laura Tomm-Bonde, IOM’s head of mission in Mozambique. But the call fell on deaf ears.

Whittall, too, recently visited but apparently without gaining access.

He writes: “What does seem set to scale up is the regionally supported and internationally funded counter-terrorism operation that could further impact already vulnerable people. In many conflicts, from Syria to Iraq and Afghanistan, I have seen how counter-terrorism operations can generate additional humanitarian needs while limiting the ability of humanitarian workers to respond.

“Firstly, by designating a group as ‘terrorists’, we often see that the groups in question are pushed further underground – making dialogue with them for humanitarian access more complex. While states can claim that they ‘don’t negotiate with terrorists’, humanitarian workers are compelled to provide humanitarian aid impartially and to negotiate with any group that controls territory or that can harm our patients and staff.”

“For Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), successfully providing impartial medical care requires reserving a space for dialogue and building trust in the fact that our presence in a conflict is for the sole purpose of saving lives and alleviating suffering.”

Whittall is showing why the Mozambique government is trying to keep out the foreign humanitarian workers. The government says that it cannot find anyone with whom it can negotiate. MSF says it can “negotiate with any group that controls territory” – and clearly has in Cabo Delgado.

“Counter-terrorism operations try to bring humanitarian activities under the full control of the state and the military coalitions that support them. Aid is denied, facilitated or provided in order to boost the government’s credibility, to win hearts and minds for the military intervening, or to punish communities that are accused of sympathising with an opposition group. The most vulnerable can often fall through the cracks of such an approach, which is why organisations like MSF need to be able to work independently. … Being aligned to a state that is fighting a counter-terrorism war would reduce our ability to reach the most vulnerable communities to offer medical care.”

“In counter-terrorism wars around the world, we often see civilian casualties being justified due to the presence of ‘terrorists’ among a civilian population. Entire communities can be considered as ‘hostile’, leading to a loosening of the rules of engagement for combat forces,” Whittall writes.

And he concludes: “The current focus on ‘terrorism’ clearly serves the political and economic interests of those intervening in Mozambique. However, it must not come at the expense of saving lives and alleviating the immense suffering facing the people of Cabo Delgado.”

548 – 30 May 2021

South Africa says send troops; Tanzania says no troops,  instead negotiate, develop

South Africa is pressing for urgent military intervention in Cabo Delgado, South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor told Reuters (21 May) in a telephone interview. Since 2008 SADC has had a regional defence pact that allows military intervention to prevent the spread of conflict. “We support the use of the defence pact. It’s never been really been utilised in the region, but we believe this is the time, this is a threat to the region,” Pandor said.Tanzania will not send troops to Mozambique to counter insurgents in Cabo Delgado, Minister of Foreign Affairs Liberata Mulamula said Wednesday 26 May in Dar es Salaam. The Tanzania government has, instead, emphasised on the need for talks as a means of promoting peace and tranquility in Mozambique, calling on the international community to help the country by sending development aid. (Citizen 27 May)

A SADC evaluation proposed 3000 troops and equipment including a submarine. The SADC summit scheduled to discuss this was postponed from April to 27 May, and the summit simply postponed the issue until a new summit on 20 June. President Filipe Nyusi’s longstanding opposition to a multi-lateral force and the opposition of some countries such as Tanzania suggest the SADC force will never happen.

At the Frelimo Central Committee on 22-23 May, President Filipe Nyusi made clear he wanted foreign troops. But in his closing speech, he stressed the “concentration on bilateral efforts to combat terrorism in Cabo Delgado”. It is a point he has stressed in private talks with diplomats for more than a year, that he does not want international forces – SADC, EU or UN. Instead he wants agreements with individual governments and the ability to move and assign foreign troops to particular zones or tasks. SADC or UN troops would have their own external commanders, but Frelimo will only accept foreign troops that it controls – which means private military companies (PMCs) or bilateral arrangements with governments.

Will Rwandan troops create the Total security zone?

Rwandan troops may play a central role in creating the security zone around the Palma-Afungi natural gas area. Rwanda has become a major participant in peacekeeping missions and has had troops or police in Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan, South Sudan and other countries. But more three-way discussions will be needed between France, Rwanda, and Mozambique.

On 28 April Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi flew to Rwanda for talks with President Paul Kagame. Just 10 days later a reconnaissance team of Rwandan officers was in Cabo Delgado. Nyusi and Kagame were in Paris for the French Africa summit 17-18 May; both met President Emmanuel Macron and Cabo Delgado was discussed. Last week Marcon was in Rwanda and South Africa to meet their presidents on 27 and 28 May. Again, Cabo Delgado was discussed, although not top of the agenda.

France’s acceptance in a report this year that it bore a responsibility for the 1994 genocide in Rwanda marked a “big step forward” in repairing relations between the two countries, which are now on the mend, Kagame said.

After the fiasco of President Nyusi guaranteeing a security zone including Palma just days before the insurgents took Palma against little resistance, Total wants more than just promises. It will demand overall French control of any security zone, and French navy control of the ocean off of Cabo Delgado. Mozambique will demand that its soldiers are on the ground, but will accept a foreign presence. Rwanda fits the bill. For Mozambique, Rwandan troops are more acceptable than South African soldiers. For France and Total, Rwandan troops are well trained and experienced, and much more effective than Mozambican army or police. Improved relations between France and Rwanda complete the package.

Who will be top dog?

An increasing number of countries want part of the action, and there is a quiet struggle as to who will be top dog. On the ground Portugal has 60 soldiers doing training, the US just finished its first training mission, Rwanda has a military investigation team, and South Africa has had private military companies and sent in soldiers to rescue its civilians after the Palma attack.  Off shore, France and South Africa have regular naval patrols and the United States and India have had less frequent patrols.

French President Emmanuel Macron travelled to Africa and met Rwandan President Paul Kagame on Thursday 26 May and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday, 28 May. In both countries, the Cabo Delgado war was on the agenda. In South Africa Macron said France is available to assist the Mozambican military, but only in the “‘context of a political solution”. And any help “should be an African response at the request of Mozambique and coordinated with the neighbouring countries,” he said. The interest of both Rwanda and South Africa is that France and the EU pay for their intervention.

Macron particularly stressed that France already has a regional presence in its island territories of Mayotte and Reunion, and stood ready to offer naval assistance. “We have frigates and some other vessels in the region and on a regular basis organise operations. So we could be available, and very quickly so, if requested,” he said.

Meanwhile EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell said on 28 May that the EU could have a military training mission in Mozambique in months. “The problem will be to look for capacities. Apart from Portugal, who else is going to contribute?”

Saudi Arabia is working with SADC to support the Mozambican military fight the insurgents, Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman said on 20 May. There is a certain irony in this, as many Mozambicans have been trained in Saudi Arabia in fundamentalist Islam.

The United States is now beefing up the embassy’s security advisory team with the help of private military contractors (PMCs). A new adviser to head up the counter-terrorism programme will be provided by one of the Pentagon subcontractors bidding for the contract, reports Africa Intelligence (28 May), a Paris based newsletter which backs Paris in its confrontation with Washington. The US has been strongly critical of the use by Mozambique of PMCs, despite their being extensively used by the US in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Difficult negotiations are ahead as Mozambique desperately tries to keep support fractured and in pieces it can control, and at least four countries want to be top dog:

United States: Wants a base in southern Africa and has long coveted Nacala, with its big airport and deep water port that would be good for submarines. Mozambique could be its new base for the war against Islamic State. Mozambique could be the new Afghanistan or Libya.

France: Wants control of the gas zone but appears willing to accept Rwandan fighters. But will expect to control coastal security.

South Africa: Wants to assert itself as the regional power but has been cutting the military budget, so hoping the EU will pay.

Portugal: The military of the former colonial power want to return and prove their ex-colony still needs them. They are using their position as president of the EU to gain EU backing for their operation.

None of these four has won a recent war against a guerrilla insurgency. Frelimo won a guerrilla independence war 47 years ago, but has never beaten a guerrilla force.

Fighters or job creators?

As governments try to militarise Cabo Delgado, civil society groups increasingly stress the need to resolve the roots of the war – growing poverty and inequality, youth seeing no jobs and no future, and the belief that the Frelimo elite are eating all the wealth from rubies, gas, and other resources.

Speaking to Reuters, [South African] Foreign Minister Pandor said “We have had our colleagues, for example in Nigeria, saying: ‘don’t allow this to get out of hand because once it does it is uncontrollable and very difficult to reverse’. So, that is why we believe it is urgently necessary that we have action.” Academic analysts point to the similarity to the roots of Boko Haram in Nigeria and al Shabaab in Cabo Delgado. Both are groups in Muslim areas where young people feel marginalised and with no future, and they are recruited on that basis. Thus the “don’t allow this to get out of hand” lesson is the need to create jobs and development before the war gets out of hand. It is, contrary to Pandor, not military but development intervention that is urgent.

Three articles from the South African mainstream establishment point to alternative thinking:

“Suicidal SADC military deployment to Mozambique looms” was the headline of an opinion article in the Johannesburg Business Day (28 May) “SA soldiers will return home in body bags, as was the case in the failed military deployment to the Central African Republic in March 2013. The defence force must serve sovereign national interests and not the interests of private actors working for profit.” The article argues that South Africa government is under pressure from national corporations and France to protect the profits of their investors.

The article continues: “Like France and its transnational corporation Total, the LNG project in Mozambique is critically important for SA and its corporations. SA state financiers the Industrial Development corporation (IDC), the Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) have, in total, lent more than $1bn in public funds to the LNG project. Standard Bank has sunk $485m into the project, and other major players include Absa and Rand Merchant Bank.”

The article is written by Sam Hargreaves, director of WoMin/African Women Activists, and Anabela Lemos of Justica Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique. The article’s publication in a mainstream business newspaper suggests opposition to militarization of Cabo Delgado is gaining a hearing.

“Regional support is a good start, but much more than a SADC military deployment to Mozambique is needed,” according to a 27 May report from the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) of South Africa. “At the root of the conflict is a governance challenge that includes allegations of deeply entrenched corruption in the ruling party, Frelimo. Poor governance and state absence have antagonised the local population and left a security vacuum. … The government must commit to the development and effective governance of the region.”

Military support may be needed to contain the violence. But the report stresses “the education system must be reinvigorated to train and prepare locals for skills suited to new job opportunities. Authorities in Cabo Delgado would also need to invest in public works programmes to complement job creation in the formal and informal sectors and offer social activities such as sport to engage the youth. An important poverty-alleviation measure would be a cash transfer (or social grants) programme that would directly benefit the community and demonstrate the government’s commitment to development.”

“Maputo needs to own and drive the response to the insurgency and the recovery of local and investor confidence. No amount of private security advice, support or foreign troops and equipment can compensate for political leadership and the establishment of trust between people, the government and regional actors.” Lead author of the report is Jakkie Cilliers, founder and former Executive Director of ISS – another indication that senior establishment figures are pointing to the roots of the conflict.

“Regional military intervention in Mozambique is a bad idea,” wrote Gilbert M. Khadiagala, Professor of International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand, on 27 May. He argues “SADC interventions in internal conflicts in its neighbourhood haven’t worked out well.” In 1998 Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe intervened in Lesotho. “South African troops lost their lives and SADC troops had to withdraw in ignominy. The SADC has since had to continually intervene as a peacemaker in the fractious terrain of Lesotho politics.”

The other major intervention was by Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa to defeat the M23 Movement in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2013. Initially it made a difference. “But the militia menace in the region has continued unabated, raising questions about the long term efficacy of the brigade’s work,” notes Khadiagala.

More generally, military interventions in resource curse civil wars only make matters worse, he says, citing South Sudan, Cabinda in Angola, and the Niger Delta.

“SADC is now being asked to intervene in a conflict [in Mozambique] that it has neither resources nor the political will to manage. When the body bags begin to come home, there will be tremendous pressure on SADC forces to withdraw. Rather than the folly of an intervention, the region should be encouraging the Mozambican state to address the grievances of the communities in Cabo Delgado.” Khadiagala concludes: “SADC’s military intervention will only embolden die-hards in Frelimo who are reluctant to find peaceful and political solutions to the crisis. And the intervention will postpone a problem that is not going to go away any time soon.”

One Love with Playing for Change

One Love (Bob Marley) feat. Manu Chao | Playing For Change | Song Around The World

59,419,809 views

There are many other versions of this song available on-line, including two by Bob Marley.
Three that I found and think you might like are:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdB-8eLEW8g – Bob Marley, with lyrics
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13RSENmoamk – Bob Marley, 1978 Peace Concert
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXLumLvHWfA – Benefit for UNICEF

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