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Cablegate: Renamo Election Office Head Dismissed As Public

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 001280

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
FOR AF/S-HTREGER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM MZ RENAMO
SUBJECT: RENAMO ELECTION OFFICE HEAD DISMISSED AS PUBLIC
UNIVERSITY SPOKESMAN


Sensitive but unclassified. Please treat accordingly.

Summary
-------
1. (SBU) Eduardo Namburete, director of the election office
of Mozambique's main opposition party, RENAMO, was dismissed
as head of the press office at Maputo's Eduardo Mondlane
University on September 1. He was relieved of his duties
shortly after assuming the position within RENAMO. Some
RENAMO supporters have labeled his dismissal political
harassment. Namburete retains his post as the director of
the university's communication and arts school. End Summary.

Coincidence or Payback?
-----------------------
2. (SBU) During a September 8 meeting with acting pol/econ
section chief and pol/econoff, the new RENAMO election office
director Eduardo Namburete confirmed his removal as head of
the press office at Eduardo Mondlane University, the public
university that is Mozambique's largest and most highly
regarded higher education institution. This came less than a
month after he was sworn into office as director of the
opposition party's election office. According to Namburete,
he was advised of his removal by the university's Vice
Chancellor, Brazao Mazula, on the morning of September 1.
Namburete retains his post as the director of the
university's School of Communication and Arts.

3. (SBU) Some RENAMO supporters have labeled his dismissal
political harassment. Speaking in the Mozambican parliament,
the head of the RENAMO parliamentary bench, Ossufo Quintine,
claimed Namburete was removed only after he refused to leave
his position as head of the RENAMO election office.
Namburete did not openly support this claim, stating that
under relevant articles of the University's code, the Vice
Chancellor has the power to dismiss individuals in nominated
positions, the head of the press office being one them.
Despite this, Namburete admitted seeing some of his
colleagues completely marginalized within the University
after going public with their support for RENAMO. When asked
whether he feared the same, Namburete commented he did not
think he would be isolated. Namburete did disclose, however,
that since aligning himself with RENAMO, he has lost some
clients in his private communications consultancy.

4. (SBU) Namburete reported that in the weeks following his
going public with joining RENAMO, he received telephone calls
from colleagues congratulating him and vowing their active
support. Nevertheless, since he was removed from his post at
the press office, Namburete stated most have remained silent.
Namburete seemed disappointed, but not surprised by such
reactions. Namburete cited a case in which a wealthy
colleague lost his business, home, and car after declaring
allegiance to RENAMO. Despite the potential of such threats,
Namburete was clear that he did not intend to return to
FRELIMO, no matter the consequences.

The Elections: RENAMO Puts on Brave Face
----------------------------------------
5. (SBU) Speaking in his capacity as director of the RENAMO
election office, Namburete expressed disappointment at the
dire lack of funding facing the party. He lamented that
RENAMO could not campaign as actively as FRELIMO due to such
constraints. He was critical of FRELIMO's use of state funds
and equipment for campaigning purposes, alleging it was equal
to stealing from the government and the people. Namburete
admitted that a long and difficult path lay ahead for RENAMO,
but expressed confidence this would be the year for change
and that the result of their work would be victory in the
December elections. RENAMO Secretary General Viana da Silva
Magalhaes echoed this confidence during a September 21
meeting with acting pol/econ section chief and visiting AF/S
deputy director, stating that despite incidences of political
harassment, citing Namburete as one example, he believed
RENAMO would ultimately gain the support it needed to win
this year's election.

Comment
-------
6. (SBU) Over the past few months, RENAMO has actively
pursued membership among the intellectual and academic
community. Such moves have been interpreted as a step by
RENAMO towards developing a more professional approach to
this year's election, especially in the face of historically
low support among urban voters and increased scrutiny over
the party's ability to govern. RENAMO was successful in its
effort to gain Namburete's allegiance, but the speed with
which he was removed from his high profile post may dissuade
other would be RENAMO academics from going public. End
Comment.
LA LIME

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