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Cablegate: Mozambique Celebrates Thirty Years Of

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

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000831

SIPDIS
FOR AF/S - HTREGER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KDEM PGOV PREL MZ
SUBJECT: MOZAMBIQUE CELEBRATES THIRTY YEARS OF
INDEPENDENCE; DESPITE ACHIEVEMENTS, CHALLENGES STILL EXIST

Summary
-------
1. On the weekend of June 25, Mozambique commemorated 30
years of independence from Portugal. In events attended by
numerous foreign dignitaries and diplomats, President Guebuza
reiterated his campaign promise to fight absolute poverty,
crime and corruption. Recognizing the challenges that
Mozambique still faces, Guebuza called on all Mozambicans to
unite in the battle. Opposition Renamo leader Afonso
Dhlakama and his party boycotted official events. End
Summary.

Mozambique Celebrates Thirty Years of Independence
--------------------------------------------- -----
2. In several events on the weekend of June 25, Mozambique
celebrated 30 years of independence from Portuguese rule.
Independence Day festivities in the capital city of Maputo
included a morning wreath-laying ceremony at the Praca dos
Herois, a monument where the remains of 26 liberation-era
heroes, including Mozambique's founding president Samora
Machel, are enshrined. Celebrations then moved to the Praca
da Independencia where President Armando Guebuza welcomed the
"flame of unity," a torch that was carried the length and
breadth of the country under the slogan "Together in the
Fight Against Poverty," repeating a torch run made at the
time of independence. Dignitaries reported as attending the
festivities included the presidents of Botswana, Malawi,
Namibia, Tanzania, and Sao Tome and Principe, as well as
South African elder statesman Nelson Mandela, who is now
married to Machel's widow Graca, head of the NGO Foundation
for Community Development (FDC).

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3. In his Independence Day address, President Guebuza
reiterated the government's commitment to battle absolute
poverty and urged all Mozambican citizens to fight obstacles
to development, including red tape, corruption, crime, and
diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and cholera.
Guebuza admitted that, though Mozambique has experienced
significant economic growth (about 8 percent a year between
1992-2004), the country still faces high poverty and
unemployment rates, mainly among the rural populations.
Guebuza said his five-year program seeks to address these
issues by expanding basic social services such as education
and health, increasing supply of water and power, and
improving roads and other key infrastructure. On the
international front, Guebuza spoke for the continued
reinforcement of cooperation with bilateral and multilateral
partners. (Note: Guebuza arrived back in Mozambique just
days after completing two visits to the United States, where
he participated in June 13 meetings with President Bush, MCC,
USAID and, on a second visit, attended the CCA Business
Summit in Baltimore. End note.)

Renamo Boycotts Official Events
-------------------------------
4. Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the opposition party Renamo,
carried out his promise to boycott the celebrations claiming
they were "a thinly-disguised ode" to the ruling Frelimo
party. Mozambican Television (TVM) showed footage of
Dhlakama and a few dozen Renamo members having their own
party on the lawn outside the Renamo headquarters in Maputo.
Several minor parties, some of which are part of the
Renamo-Electoral Coalition, apparently ignored Dhlakama's
call for a boycott and took part in the official events,
including a reception at the Presidential Gardens.

Comment
-------
5. The ceremonies seemed less partisan than they could have
been, and Guebuza's speech included praise, albeit
backhanded, to Renamo for abiding by the terms of the Rome
Peace Accords. End Comment.
Dudley

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