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Cablegate: Mozambique: June Socio-Political Digest

VZCZCXRO6819
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0780/01 1901344
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091344Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7589
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 000780

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

MAPUTO 00000780 002 OF 002


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 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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