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Cablegate: Mozambique: June Socio-Political Digest

VZCZCXRO7030
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0781/01 1901428
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091428Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7591
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 000781

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

AF/S FOR HTREGER, AF/RSA FOR MBITTRICK
MCC FOR SGAULL
USAID FOR AFR/SA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: POL PGOV PREL MZ
SUBJECT: Mozambique: June Socio-Political Digest


1. This is a summary of significant socio-political developments in
Mozambique that occurred during June 2007. We provide it as a
supplement to our other reporting.

-- Provincial Elections Scheduled for December 20, 2007; Election
Process Moves Forward

-- Recent Increase in Crime Rate Viewed as Proof of Ineffectiveness
of Guebuza Government

-- 3 Children, 5 Soldiers killed in two separate Malhazine-related
Munitions Accidents

-- Former RENAMO Deputy Defects to FRELIMO

-- Police Beat Lawyer

Provincial Elections Scheduled for December 20, 2007; Election
process moves forward.
---------------------------------------

2. Against the advice of senior electoral civil servants, December
20th has been set as the date for the first provincial assembly
elections. Analysts view the December 20th date as very difficult to
achieve since the oversight group (CNE) must set up election
commissions in all provinces and districts and register the entire
Mozambican electorate within days after the country is set to
complete its first population census since 1997. An additional
potential complicating factor is that December is well into the
rainy season.

3. The Mozambican government (GRM) estimates that the elections
will cost approximately $44 million of which the GRM is able to
provide $12 million. Donors have been asked to pay the balance, but
largely due to questions concerning the feasibility of organizing
the registration and election process, no donors have yet offered
financial assistance.


Increase in Crime Rate Viewed as Proof of Ineffectiveness of Guebuza
Government
-----------------------------------------

4. Despite official government statistics noting a decrease in
crime during 2007 compared with 2006, a recent spate of well
publicized crimes has led to criticism of the current government.
Some of the crimes reported in the past several weeks include: a
gang attacked a police station in Matola city and robbed a car that
the police had seized earlier that day; criminals stole AK-47s from
the police and used the weapons to steal $40 thousand from a bank in
Matola city; and unknown persons shot and injured two policemen
responding to the attempted robbery of a cell-phone store.

5. The inability of the government to deter crime, along with the
increasingly violent nature of the crimes, is viewed by some as
proof that current government policies have been ineffective. In
response President Guebuza has made several public statements and
visited the Ministry of Interior and several police stations in
Maputo city. Interior Minister Pacheco noted the criminal activity
had terrorist characteristics that resembled a war and called for a
similar police reaction, in which elements of the Mozambican armed
forces (FADM) would begin patrolling the areas in and around Maputo
City with regular police officers. Despite these actions, there
appears to be public doubt that the Guebuza government has the
ability to control crime.


3 Children, 5 Soldiers killed in two separate Malhazine-related
munitions accidents
--------------------------------------------

6. The death toll from the March explosion of the military
ammunition dump located in the Maputo neighborhood of Malhazine
continues to rise. In two separate incidents three teenagers and
five soldiers, including one South African, were killed. The
teenagers died when they struck a buried munition while playing in
the yard of a home. The FADM immediately began another search of
the area to locate other buried bombs; experts believe many more
munitions are buried, serving as a hazard to all in the area. The
five soldiers were killed when an explosive detonated unexpectedly
during routine destruction of remaining munitions.


Former RENAMO Deputy Defects to FRELIMO
---------------------------------------

7. The former parliamentary deputy of Mozambique's main opposition
party, RENAMO, has defected to the ruling FRELIMO Party. Cristovao
Nhacatete had been a RENAMO activist since 1991. He was a RENAMO

MAPUTO 00000781 002 OF 002


delegate in the Sofala district of Chemba from 1991 to 1999, when he
was elected to the country's parliament, the Assembly of the
Republic.


Police Beat Lawyer
------------------

8. Policemen severely beat a lawyer in a Matola city police station.
His injuries required him to be hospitalized. The lawyer had gone to
the police station to represent several clients, but attempted to
leave after becoming intimidated by the aggressive nature of
questioning by interrogators. Police versions of the story claim the
lawyer was fleeing and subsequently became involved in a scuffle
with other police officers, but photos of the injuries he sustained
are more consistent with a severe beating. The Mozambican Bar
Association demanded an investigation and measures to punish the
involved police officers.

DUDLEY

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