By Rush Perez
(GIN)—At a ceremony last week, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza decorated more than 100 people, many posthumously, for their contributions to the country. The awards were part of Mozambican Heroes’ Day—an annual celebration which commemorates the death of the independence fighter and founder of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), Eduardo Mondlane. Mr Mondlane was killed by a parcel bomb in 1969 by the Portuguese police forces.
Both military and civilian heroes were recognized by President Guebuza of the Frelimo party, as were those who contributed to the peace talks in 1992 that eventually ended fighting between Frelimo and Renamo, the anti-communist rebel group that fought Frelimo from 1976 until 1992.
The conflict was one of the Cold War “hot spots” in Southern Africa. Renamo was backed by western countries, South Africa and the former Rhodesia while Ghana, Tanzania, Algeria, Brazil among others backed Frelimo.
In 1994, Frelimo agreed to multiparty elections and has won every election since then. The party now faces a new challenge from Renamo, which claims the ruling party has been in power too long. Discussions to end hostilities have begun.
Meanwhile, the Corporate Council on Africa called Mozambique one of the five Africa countries to watch this year:
“As African reporting goes, most eyes in 2014 will likely be on the major economic powers such as Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, or on the crises that continue to spring up on the continent, primarily in Central Africa and South Sudan. However, there are several other nations that are worth watching as they may be harbingers of Africa’s future development.
“One of the world’s largest reservoirs of natural gas, as well as oil reserves, has been discovered off the coast of Mozambique. The discovery has enormous implications not only for Mozambique but also southern and eastern Africa. In the reserves is enough gas to cover southern Africa’s power needs for generations; this has the potential to make the country as rich as those on the Arabian peninsula.
“The key will be how well the nation’s leaders use the reserves for the benefit of its population.
“There is growing concern in Mozambique that all business runs through the office of the president. How well President Armando Guebuza and his successor manage the process will determine whether Mozambique prospers or finds itself in another form of civil war or strife,” said the council statement.
Presidential, parliamentary and regional assembly elections are scheduled to take place on Oct. 15.
Category: Africa Briefs