Mozambique Insights takes a closer look at Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi time at the helm of the country, by zooming on on various sectors and issues of concern.
E for Employee
In his own words, the People’s Employee is monumentally amnesiac. Not a single project meant for his bosses, the People, was set in motion. On the contrary, Nyusi became the boss and worked hard for himself and those around him.
Early on, he abandoned his political and ideological commitment. Affirming himself as a solo careerist in a party that depends on and interacts a lot with its president, Nyusi fashioned a government and a party tailored to him and to the right of any of his comrades’ ideological aspirations. What emerged was a government of friends and a party of employees.
All that remains of the employee are the sad remnants of an encouraging and hopeful promise
and successive episodes of an employee stealing from the boss, commonplace in Mozambique’s politics.
F for Family
The most important element in the second term and in the following order: wife, children; tribe and friends.
Everything comes down to this small but significant link. For Nyusi, the most important thing was and is to satisfy those around him. In this exercise of restricted loyalty, everything else is irrelevant, mere servants or a way of maintaining and protecting himself from anything.
On a state visit to the United Arab Emirates, he introduced one of his sons to the local Emir. He surrounded himself with direct relatives or people with whom he has cultural affinities and informally gave them powers beyond the constitutional ones. In some places, he was assertive, in others, a strategist and in others a real circus. But for the interests of the group, they are just forms of concerted strategies to accumulate power and money.
He elevated his nephew to the post of police General Commander. His colleagues describe him as the worst general commander ever, who not only is stubborn but gets rid of whoever crosses his path. Rather than sacking him, Nyusi has kept Bernardino Rafael at the helm of the police, while he fires interior ministers on justification that they do not do enough to fight crime. What’s ironic is that ministers are not operatives.
Rafael has shown that he only answers to family ties, and in the process, he has weakened the police structural, leading it to become less republican. Whatever gains arise out of this sorry affair, only the family can tell.
G for Government
His governments have had younger ministers comparatively. The cabinets in the two terms have been full of young faces, including that of a deputy-minister for Higher Education and Technology whose stint was brief, as it was discovered that he was a member of the Renamo opposition party – he was appointed because he was Nyusi’s friend.
A friend of his friends, Nyusi is very fond of lifelong friendships, and it is also said that he does not forget lifelong enemies.
His governments reflect Nyusi’s mismanagement and political unpreparedness. He has placed people according to their affinity and, one might add, some loyalty to him and ethnic origin, without considering their ability, including their experience, for the job. This is how the management of the state and the country continues under the shade of group agreements, private interests and short- and med-term benefits.
An unprecedented gap grew between the government and the party. The Secretary General only served the direct interests of the President. The social organisations, the grassroots, the history, the norms, the statutes and the processes were hived off, sometimes in the interests of the group, sometimes in the personal interests of the president. Everything is in disarray. Nothing is as it used to be, or was expected to be. The party is a poor remnant of itself. Groupism is the order of the day and because of this, the courts have been called upon to intervene, setting a precedent that will only hurt Frelimo in the not-too-distant future.
Today, Frelimo is a tired institution, divided and full of vices of form, flawed in its strategy, corrupted and corrupt in its essence, which tramples every day on its statutes, its norms and its history. Nyusi can consider himself the president who pissed on the the Frelimo’s government pulpit.t.
I for Ideas
The most clueless of Mozambican presidents. He has spent both his terms of office playing to the tune of three “constituencies”: the tribal one (focused on power and its benefits); the friends one (focused on the benefits of power and organised for political manipulation with a view to his succession, in fact his survival after that); and the party: without ideas and reduced to a single person: his comrade and friend Secretary General Roque Silva, who, truth be told, everyone wants to see gone.
From idea to idea, some of them good, some interesting, Nyusi abandoned them all until he dedicated himself to inaugurating traditional water wells that cost less than the cost of traveling and have no impact on the province and with no national dimension.
“One district, one hospital”, “one district, one bank”, “one district, one court” were the great banners of his second term in office, after the failure to populate schools with desks until it was discovered that the desk business belonged to his daughter… “it doesn’t matter what the idea is, as long as the Chief gets some of it”, said one of his ardent followers.
I for Ideology
Frelimo is no longer a Marxist-Leninist party, nor is it a party of the Left, and with each episode it is becoming very difficult to disguise this ideological volte-face. Chissano and Guebuza had made an interesting adjustment based on their experience and militancy. Nyusi, on the other hand, perhaps because of his weakness, has been unable to maintain the course of vagueness and let the curtain fall on a dangerously liberal party and showed an elite that was even more liberal than the ideological line of his presidency. The result is what we see: autocracy and ineffectiveness.
National unity has been greatly undermined by his solo rehearsals, the Political Commission, literally huddled together, was neither seen nor heard of, and the Chief continued without obeying any strategy in a communication effort and vanity that have become instant memes to the delight of the youth. He has been entertaining more than he has governed, which may sound positive but unfortunately the country was left rudderless over his terms of office.
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