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Cablegate: Mozambican Presidential Candidates to Visit United

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) The visits to the United States of ruling party
FRELIMO presidential candidate Armando Guebuza and opposition
party RENAMO Presidential candidate Afonso Dhlakama offer an
opportunity to learn about the positions of the two main
candidates in what should be tightly contested December
elections in Mozambique. Likely third-party (PDD)
presidential candidate, Raul Domingos, will attend the
Democratic National Convention and also visit Washington.
Post understands that meetings for Guebuza have been
scheduled with USTR, MCC, S/GAC and CCA. Guebuza will be the
first candidate to visit Washington. We expect him to be
particularly interested in discussing Mozambique's
participation in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS
Relief (PEPFAR), eligibility for the Millennium Challenge
Account (MCA) and bilateral trade issues, such as prospects
for a US-Mozambique FTA.

2. (SBU) Mozambique is rightly considered a post-conflict
success story. Since the signing of the 1992 Peace Accords
that ended sixteen years of civil war, Mozambique has made
significant progress in promoting economic reforms and
consolidating democracy. In December, Mozambique will hold
its third multi-party presidential elections since
independence in 1975. The current constitutionally-elected
president, Joaquim Chissano, will step down after having
served two terms. Chissano and the leadership of FRELIMO
dominate policy-making and implementation. During November
2003 municipal elections, FRELIMO won all but 4 of the
country's 33 mayorships US-Mozambican bilateral relations
have been excellent under Chissano.Though the electoral
campaign does not officially begin until October 17, both
FRELIMO and RENAMO party officials have already hit the
campaign trail. Guebuza and Chissano have been traveling
extensively in the Northern and Central provinces of
Mozambique, focusing on areas of traditional RENAMO support.
Most recently, Guebuza visited the populous Northern province
of Nampula, the site of RENAMO's best showing in the
municipal elections. These visits are key to increasing
Guebuza's name recognition, particularly in rural areas that
have generally served as RENAMO's base. The actual elections
will be held on December 1 and 2. The USG is supporting the
electoral process through financial assistance to the Carter
Center and domestic observer groups. As with the municipal
elections, post will send observers to key municipalities
throughout the country.

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3. (SBU) Though Guebuza was not Chissano's personal choice as
candidate, he has indicated that he is likely to continue
current government policies if elected. Post has also heard
that a number of key ministers are likely to retain their
positions in a Guebuza administration. Key themes in recent
addresses have included combating corruption, reducing
poverty, and creating a national entrepreneurial class as a
way to make the country's climate attractive for foreign
investment and economic growth. Touting the importance of
human rights and freedom of expression, Guebuza has in the
past praised the United States for its democratic values.
However, Guebuza is also known as nationalist and has on
occasion called for the "Mozambicanization" of businesses. A
central theme for Guebuza has been that the GRM reach out to
the rural areas where 80% of the Mozambican community
resides. Guebuza has demonstrated a depth of understanding of
business and economic concerns. Despite past government
experience (including serving as Interior Minister under
Samora Machel, where he was responsible for the
implementation of the "24/20" program which gave Portuguese
residents 24 hours to leave newly independent Mozambique with
20 kilos of effects), he is also a businessman and one of the
richest men in Mozambique. In a country where government
connections and conflicts-of-interest are an integral part of
doing business, a key test for Guebuza if FRELIMO wins in
2004 will be the ability to separate personal business
interests from the broader economic and commercial needs of
the country.

4. (SBU) A) Trade & Investment: Mozambique has yet to take
full advantage of AGOA, and US trade and investment in
Mozambique remains small. Currently, only one apparel company
in Mozambique is exporting under AGOA, with a second company
expected to begin operations shortly. The prospect of a
US-Mozambique FTA offers a unique opportunity to deepen the
trade relationship, but also raises concerns over the
technical capacity of the Mozambican government to enter into
negotiations. As an eligible MCC country, Mozambique has an
opportunity to address a number of the constraints to
increased trade and investment. It would be interesting to
hear Guebuza's vision for linking these programs to increased
trade and investment as a mechanism for reducing poverty.
B) HIV/AIDS: Mozambique is at a critical stage in its efforts
to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In Southern Africa, Mozambique
presents both the greatest challenges and possibly the
greatest opportunity to become the next Uganda-like success
in turning around the HIV/AIDS threat. Despite considerable
efforts to ensure PEPFAR be seen as a collaborative approach
to addressing the epidemic, our relationship with the
Minister of Health has at times been tense. Recently articles
in the local and international press have accused the USG of
a "unilateralist" approach to combating HIV/AIDS. While
current Minister of Health Songane is not expected to retain
his post if Guebuza is elected, it should be stressed that
the USG views the GRM as a full partner in PEPFAR and is
making every effort to ensure that our programs compliment
and support those of the government.
C) Regional Issues: During his Presidency of the African
Union (AU), President Chissano was actively engaged on
broader African issues and sought to use his AU Presidency
both to build stronger African institutions and to find
African-led solutions to African problems. Mozambique's
participation in the AU's peace-keeping operations in Burundi
is one such example. ACOTA has visited Mozambique twice in
the past few months. We look forwarding to supporting the GRM
increase its capacity to contribute to peace-keeping

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