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Cablegate: Frelimo Congress Strengthens Guebuza's Mandate,

VZCZCXRO2094
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #1497/01 3211142
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171142Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6427
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP 0122

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 001497

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

AF/S FOR HTREGER
USAID FOR AA/AFR AND AFR/SA
MCC FOR SGAULL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KCOR PGOV PHUM MZ
SUBJECT: FRELIMO CONGRESS STRENGTHENS GUEBUZA'S MANDATE,
SHOWS MORE DOMINANT PARTY

MAPUTO 00001497 001.2 OF 002


Reftel: 06 Maputo 1306

Sensitive But Unclassified - Handle Accordingly

1. (SBU) Summary: Mozambique's ruling FRELIMO Party held its
9th Party Congress from November 10-14 in Quelimane, the
capital of Zambezia Province. The congress was characterized
by a number of `firsts:' the first congress held outside of
Maputo since independence, the first congress to be open to
all segments of the population (including the media and even
a few members of the opposition), and the first congress to
overtly address the growing HIV/AIDS problem. The elections
to leadership positions included significant numbers of
youth and women and achieved a symbolic balance between
supporters of former President Joaquim Chissano and
President Guebuza. Nevertheless, the congress strengthened
Guebuza's role within the party and showcased FRELIMO's
increasing dominance of political activity. End Summary.

//BACKGROUND//

2. (U) FRELIMO held its 9th Party Congress from November 10-
14 in Quelimane, the first time since independence that its
congress had been held outside Maputo. The choice of
Quelimane is also politically significant, since Zambezia
generally is regarded as a RENAMO stronghold. The move is
seen as an attempt to portray FRELIMO as a more universal
party that is able to hold its congress anywhere in the
country. As noted in reftel, the 9th Party Congress was
moved up a year to 2006, ostensibly to provide additional
time for FRELIMO to prepare for the 2009 general elections,
but also to plainly demonstrate to citizens the national
importance of the party and to consolidate Guebuza's power
base. In the months leading up to the congress, senior party
officials were involved in all stages of preparations,
including the recertifying of party rolls, touring provinces
to gain a sense of regional concerns, as well as logistical
groundwork.

//CORRUPTION AND HIV/AIDS TAKE CENTER STAGE//

3. (U) Continuing one of his major campaign pledges,
President Guebuza used the congress to address corruption,
particularly the causes and the government's responsibility
in managing corruption. Guebuza lamented the lack of
accountability, weak supervision mechanisms, the failure to
apply laws, and the practice of nepotism and favoritism. In
addition, he promised to promote greater government
transparency, which he noted would contribute to more
professionalism and ultimately an environment more favorable
to investment and economic growth.

4. (U) President Guebuza, Prime Minister Luisa Diogo, former
President Joaquim Chissano, and Graca Machel, the widow of
the first Mozambican President, Samora Michel, each used the
forum as an opportunity to speak frankly about the
increasingly critical HIV/AIDS situation. In his opening
speech, President Guebuza stated that the numbers of
infected Mozambicans had "reached levels of calamity" and
that "HIV/AIDS is becoming a serious obstacle to our efforts
to fight against poverty." Diogo announced that all 128
districts would have anti-retroviral treatment available for
all those eligible by the first quarter of 2007.

//SELECTING THE LEADERSHIP//

5. (SBU) Delegates reelected Guebuza as President of FRELIMO
while electing Chissano as honorary President in a move that
many press reports characterized as an attempt to unite the
two main factions of the party. Chissano promised "not to
interfere" with Guebuza, which may have been a tacit
admission that he has done so in the past. Delegates also
elected 60 of the 160 members of the Central Committee,
FRELIMO's larger decision making body. Of note, three of the
five candidates receiving the most votes were women,
including Prime Minister Diogo, former first lady Machel,
and deputy chairperson of the Assembly, Veronica Macamo. It
is also significant that several younger members were
elected, including Samora Machel Junior, son of the
country's first president, and Nyeleti Mondlane, daughter of
the founder and first president of FRELIMO, Eduardo
Mondlane.

6. (U) On the final day of the Congress, members of the
Central Committee elected members to the Political
Commission, the body makes the most important decisions

MAPUTO 00001497 002.2 OF 002


affecting the party and the government. The new commission
will have 17 members (it previously had 15). The reelected
include Guebuza, Chissano, Diogo, Foreign Minister Alcinda
Abreu, FRELIMO party whip Manuel Tome, Speaker of the
Parliament Eduardo Mulembwe, Interior Minister Jose Pacheco,
former Defense Minister Alberto Chipande, Maputo Mayor Eneas
Comiche, FRELIMO deputy whip Margarida Talapa, and first
Vice-President of the Parliament Veronica Macamo. New
members include Planning Minister Aiuba Cuereneia, veteran
of the independence struggle Raimundo Pachinuapa, Education
Minister Aires Aly, former speaker of the Maputo Municipal
Assembly Teodoro Waty, women's activist Paulina Mateus, and
Conceita Sortane. The four members who lost their seats on
the commission are former Veteran Affairs Minister Antonio
Hama Thai, former Transportation Minister Tomaz Salomao,
former Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi and Women and Social
Affairs Minister Virgilia Matabele (COMMENT: Post will
provide septel bio information on those members for whom we
have not already submitted bios. END COMMENT).

7. (SBU) Despite early speculation that the new Secretary
General of FRELIMO would be a strong, well-known figure,
such as Graca Machel, Antonio Hama Thai, Feliciano Gundana,
or Mariano Matsinhe, delegates chose current Nampula
Governor Filipe Paunde (he was the sole candidate running
for the job). The choice of Paunde, presumably by Guebuza,
is somewhat unexpected, although according to some press
reports, during his time as Secretary of Province, Paunde
worked hard to increase FRELIMO membership in the
traditionally RENAMO province. Other analysts opine that
Guebuza did not want a potential rival in the high-profile
position.

//COMMENT//

8. (SBU) The reconfirmation of President Guebuza as
President of FRELIMO may be seen as a renewal and
reinforcement of his mandate and his attempts to project a
more positive and inclusive image of FRELIMO. The party has
enticed many officials of other parties to defect over the
last year, reportedly with promises of jobs or other
benefits. Its role in directing the government has become
steadily more prominent under Guebuza, and some opponents
claim it is moving towards a renewed one-party state. The
Congress featured a blurring of the line between party and
government, with many government employees helping in
preparations. The presence of opposition parties, including
a "constructive opposition" group of parties not represented
in the legislature that made a public donation to help
FRELIMO pay for the Congress, was a sign that all recognize
that FRELIMO is the only game in town.

9. (SBU) The appointment of Paunde as Secretary General may
have a significant impact if President Guebuza decides to
appoint an incumbent government minister or provincial
governor to take Paunde's place as Governor of Nampula. This
would provide sufficient pretext for a government reshuffle,
particularly since Guebuza has been openly critical of the
performance of some of his ministers. END COMMENT

Dudley

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