from ARIMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
Mozambique Bureau Chief
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – INCUMBENT Felipe Nyusi has been sworn in for a second term as President of Mozambique, heralding the beginning of what is anticipated to be an era of lasting peace and economic prosperity in the resources-rich Southern African country whose progress has been curtailed by conflict.
Nyusi (60) has been sworn-in following a victory, by a wide margin during elections held in October last year.
During the ceremony attended by international leaders in the capital Maputo on Wednesday (toda), Mozambique’s fourth president, reached out to the opposition that disputed the poll outcome which was later endorsed by the courts.
“I want to salute the competitors of other political parties here. Nobody won or lost. The Mozambican people won. Democracy won,” Nyusi said.
“I renew the commitment to work for Mozambique that we all dream of,” said the Mueda-born leader who was first elected in 2015.
“Our agenda is to develop Mozambique. Peace was and will be our absolute priority,” he added.
Nyusi was elected on a campaign premised on securing lasting peace in the country of some 30 million people.
Permanent peace has seemed elusive in the former Portuguese colony, which soon after independence in 1975, spilled into a civil war.
An estimated 1 million people were killed following the conflict and drought after a rebellion by the militant Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) against the governing Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO).
A peace deal signed between the two parties in August last year has set the tone for Nyusi and his part to secure peace and stability.
This is despite some resistance by a section of RENAMO that is opposed to the historic deal.
Another issue the incoming administration must address if Nyusi is to fulfill his pledge for peace is the militancy in his home province of Cabo Delgado.
In that northern part of the country, suspected Islamists have been perpetrating attacks that have left hundreds dead. The motive of the terror spree is unclear but the area teems with new discoveries of lucrative gas.
The hopes of economic prosperity in Mozambique are based on these discoveries. Mozambique hopes to make a leap in economic growth levels within four years when natural gas exploration projects kickoff.
It is hoped this would subsequently boost progress made in addressing poverty by successive governments.
The World Bank has projected economic growth to recover towards 4,3 percent by 2021 as rehabilitation efforts and continued easing in interest rates provide additional stimulus to the economy.
“Large-scale investments in gas production could push this further,” the World Bank stated.
The institute highlighted the importance of maintaining the macroeconomic stability as well as the diversification of the economy away from the current focus on capital-intensive projects and low-productivity subsistence agriculture toward a more diverse and competitive economy.
Services such as tourism, transport and finance have shown a modest increase in growth in recent years and thus earmarked to be central to diversification.
Nyusi disclosed the government was considering the creation of a Sovereign Fund.
“It could support the diversification efforts of our economy,” the president said.
He said the youth would be empowered. Part of such efforts is the proposed creation of an office to address issues, such as unemployment, faced by youth.
The office will be linked to the Presidency.
“Mozambique is a country of young people. There will be no development without youth,” Nyusi assured.
Nyusi was overall upbeat about the country’s prospects.
“I believe in Mozambicans. I always said, and I keep saying that Mozambique has everything to work,” he said.
On Monday, almost all 250 members of the Mozambican Parliament took the oath of office at a ceremony Nyusi chaired.
This included 60 from the RENAMO. It quashed speculation the main opposition would boycott the ceremony. Three legislators from the ruling party were absent for various reasons.
– CAJ News