Elected to his second and final term of office in 2019 (73.46%) with far more votes than his ruling Frelimo party (70.78%), and even considering its experience and maturity in competing for elections, by every metric President Filipe Nyusi did outperform the party, which has been at the helm of Mozambique since independence in 1975.
Probably it had to do with his ‘out of the box’ speech and his youth compared to former presidents Joaquim Chissano and Armando Guebuza. But Nyusi’s trump card was his vivacity and an uncompromising commitment to the freedom discourse, while maintaining patriotic-nationalist references.
More relaxed, he has been managing the second term at his own discretion and pace. His cabinet ministers are young or new in public sector management. Some casting errors have gone unnoticed or will be his doom on the day of the party’s judgment.
But was seems to be salient is Nyusi’s solo dynamism which in not accompanied by a more pragmatic approach by the executive and the state apparatus. At the outset, his ideas have momentum but quickly fizzle out, dying an early death.
As all mortals, Nyusi has his own ghosts and one of them is Guebuza – his predecessor’s ghost is one that torments him the most in this inept second term.
Ideologically, his solo dynamism has created a huge gap between the President and the party, which is also headed by a person who is equally inept. Roque Silva, the current Secretary-General, is only known for deifying his boss and placing him in an enviable position, or worse for alienating people from the party, which he runs as he perceives and not as he should.
Nyusi’s torments became more vivid when Guebuza made himself present in court at the trial of the $2.2 billion scandal as a witness; when he referred to his children – one who was assassinated and another who’s languishing in prison for his role in the said scandal – on their birthday, which Nyusi did not attend in person, and before that when he publicly touched upon a topic which frequently might be talked about in the corridors namely, his legacy.
Nyusi diminished any legacy he might have established and reduced this important governmental and political milestone to unveiling plaques. The promise of ‘one district, one hospital’, ‘one district, one court’, and other similar initiatives, as well as the strange disappearance of ‘Sustenta’ have not materialised.
Perhaps that is the reason he has been unveiling every project, including fountains and personal investments.
Consequently, he continues to chase a ghost that he will never reach, which he despised and mistreated, that is, Guebuza, who left lots of crucial infrastructure to his name.
Despite the fallout from the manipulations of the political bodies and the half-baked attempt to manipulate the constitution, doubts that he wants to continue to govern Mozambique have yet to be dispelled.
But will his comrades trust his intentions, and would Mozambicans trust him? At this stage, it is hard to see his comrades trusting him, especially after frittering away any goodwill his votes might have spelled.
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