U for Unity
In a way, the previous alphabet is partly a descriptor of this. National unity, Frelimo’s mantra since its founding, has been seriously undermined under Nyusi’s terms of office. Despite the cosmetic bent in filling the party bodies and local governments with Mozambicans from all over the country, it was in the central government key ministries – security cluster comprising policing, defence and security – where the group asserted itself.
Where that was not possible, the president acted as the minister and the portfolio holder acted as deputy-minister. As such, all structural or operational orders came from the group, always reflecting the group’s strategic thinking. National unity has been reduced to that quintessential Kenyan phrase: “It’s Our Turn to Eat.” meaning that it is the group’s turn at the collective national trough.
V for Victory
Already in the final straight, as journalist Marcelo Mosse questions, Nyusi has been handed a strange victory over the insurgency with the killing in August of Mozambique’s most wanted insurgent, Bonamade Machudo Omar. According to official sources, the insurgency leadership was put out of combat, raising the question of whether it was possible or not to capture at least of leader.
The war on the insurgency has been as strange as is surprising: what with the sudden victories which caught even the Rwandan partners and friends off guard and surprised. Mozambicans should hope that Bonomade does not rise from the ashes Phoenix-like to once again terrorise defenceless Mozambicans if the succession and what it brings, goes awry for some.
W for Winner
Nyusi won handsomely in the 2019 presidential elections, garnering 73 percent of the vote. His closest adversary, Ossufo Momade, the leader of the Renamo opposition party, was a distant second with 21 percent of the vote.
Only former President Armando Guebuza in 2009 won more votes than him, 75.46 percent of the total vote.
Internally, Nyusi was re-elected to a second term at the helm of Frelimo with 100 percent, at the party’s congress held in September 2022, something unheard of in the party’s history.
Both the national and Frelimo victories gave him a strong mandate to enact whatever policies he deemed necessary. However, as the hour of his departure draws nigh, Mozambicans are asking what he has have to show for the victories.
X for Xenocentrism
Nyusi eschewed any national political advice and instead lent his ears to Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. Especially with regards to the conduct of the war waging in Cabo Delgado. For quite a while, he has been visiting Kigali regularly where he touches base with his new-found authoritarian friend, Kagame. For a moment, part of Mozambique intelligentsia feared that Nyusi might tear up the text of the constitution dealing with term limits in favour of Kagame’s “life presidency democracy.”
Y for Yevgueni Prigozhin
The Russian mercenary Wagner Group was hired to fight and defeat the insurgency still in its infancy. But strange disagreements between the Russians and part of the Mozambican leadership, as well as leaked information to the insurgents just before a Russian sortie, which invariably led to the latter sustaining heavy casualties, forced the Prigozhin’s mercenaries to withdraw from Cabo Delgado.
Without the Russians, the barefoot boys from Macomia and Mocímboa da Praia went from village to village causing as much terror and carnage as possible, while government presented its “shopping list” to an unamused Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Troika, which instead wanted to see the semblance of a strategy, only sending a regional contingent after Rwanda’s Paul Kagame had sent his military and police to Mozambique.
Z for Zealots
Nyusi’s admirers and followers exceeded themselves in “rabid zeal” and one in particular crossed a dangerous line by threatening the then Bishop of Pemba, who was eventually transferred by Pope Francis to the wilderness of the Brazilian Diocese of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, and elevated to the rank of Archbishop ad personam.
The zealot in question was just repeating what he had heard from his master. After all, and far from Mozambique, Dom Luiz Fernando Lisboa, told the media that he had received death threats for his denunciation of the atrocities against the population in Cabo Delgado.
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