Profile: Mozambique's new hard man
By Jose Tembe
Armando Emilio Guebuza is widely expected to succeed Mozambique's
President Joaquim Alberto Chissano, who is stepping down after 18 years
A veteran of the ruling Frelimo party, Mr Guebuza is the front-runner
of six presidential hopefuls fighting the 1 December elections.
Mr Guebuza - who is the outgoing president's nominee - made his name
during Mozambique's long struggle for independence from Portugal, in
which he played a leading role.
His reputation for cracking down on corruption is thought likely to
make him a popular choice.
Mr Guebuza won his stern reputation in 1974 when he gave Portuguese
settlers just 24 hours to leave the country if they felt unable to
accept life Mozambique's approaching independence.
He has the aura of a military man, like Mozambique's first leader
Samora Machel, whereas Mr Chissano is more diplomatic and relaxed.
But he is also known as a highly sociable if rather unsmiling man, who
loves traditional Mozambican food, especially Matapa - cassava leaves
and groundnut sauce.
Mr Guebuza, 61, left the country in 1964 to join Frelimo in Zambia and
later joined the movement's armed wing in Tanzania.
He led the Frelimo government delegation to the Rome peace talks that
ended 16 years of conflict in 1992, and paved the way for the first
multiparty elections in 1994.
The success of the peace talks raised his popularity and softened his
reputation at home, as many Mozambicans had been doubtful that war would
As a minister, he has held the internal affairs portfolio more than
once, been deputy defence minister, and minister of transport.
He was elected the Frelimo party's general secretary in 2002.
Old guard still wields the power
Godwin Gandu and Netsai Mlilo
26 November 2004 07:53
The Zanu-PF old guard has awoken from its slumber ahead of the
party's crucial congress in Harare next week and achieved what many
world leaders, including President Thabo Mbeki, have been unable to do:
summons President Robert Mugabe and get him to act on their advice.
Surrounded by trusted former liberation war fighters * General
Solomon Mujuru, former PF Zapu stalwarts and party vice-presidents
Joseph Msika and John Nkomo * Mugabe relented and endorsed their
candidate for the one vacant vice-presidential post. This has seen Joyce
Mujuru, of the Women's League, take pole position as Mugabe's likely
The old guard is determined to wrest authority from "the
Mafikizolos", the term used to describe the Young Turks led by
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa. The older generation fears that they are destroying
Zanu-PF's legacy as a successful post-colonial government and
leading the party into a cul de sac.
Mugabe, who has been in power since independence in 1980, indicated
earlier this year that he will depart the political stage in 2008,
sparking intense jostling within Zanu-PF for leadership of the party
that will create a launching pad for ascendancy to the position of
The succession battle is turning out to be a fight for the heart and
soul of Zanu-PF and has consolidated into two camps: Speaker of
Parliament and Zanu-PF secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa
* for long believed to be Mugabe's anointed successor * and
Women's League candidate Joyce Mujuru, the wife of one of Mugabe's
It was General Mujuru who vouched for the president among soldiers in
the camps who knew little about him when he was released from a
Rhodesian jail in 1975. The general also introduced Mugabe to African
statesman Julius Nyerere, who had close ties with Joshua Nkomo and his
The Mujuru camp has the support of the security and intelligence
structures. They've also roped in Mashonaland central powerbrokers,
Intelligence Minister Nicholas Goche and Minister without Portfolio
Elliot Manyika, as well as party heavyweights information chief Nathan
Shamuyarira and Enos Chikowore. President Mugabe's Zezuru rank and
file clique and the Women's and Youth Leagues are also in their fold.
The Mujuru camp despises the Young Turks who have thrown their weight
behind Mnangagwa on the promise of landing the party chair and secretary
for administration posts respectively.
The old guard wants to cement the Zanu/Zapu merger and has nominated
John Nkomo to retain the party chair. This strikes a conciliatory tone
with the Ndebele clan who suffered 30 000 deaths during the Matabeleland
strife in the 1980s * atrocities repeatedly linked to Mnangagwa.
Until last week Mnangagwa was a sure bet, having garnered the support
of six of the 10 regions.
Political analyst John Makumbe said Mugabe was angered by
"allegations that some European Union countries * including
Britain, who imposed sanctions on Mugabe and 94 of his lieutenants *
recently had contact with Mnangagwa as his heir apparent".
An agitated Mugabe at the weekend warned: "There are politicians who
used money to sway party members to vote for them last weekend when
provincial structures nominated * the presidium." Mugabe said the
money, estimated at R11-million, came from imperialists, "white
capitalists". This severely dented Mnangagwa's ambitions.
The succession battle has also provided Mugabe with a way out of this
dilemma. "He approached it from a gender perspective to neutralise
ethnic tensions in the party," said academic Brian Raftopolous. "As
always, Mugabe is playing to the regional gallery. This has been his
strategy for years." Analysts have for long said that Zimbabwe's
road out of its current political crisis lies in contesting power within
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi is
of the view that "The old guard, for all its intolerance, has a
history of co-existing with opposition parties. Unlike the Young Turks
who want to redesign the political landscape in accordance with their
own vision and image, the old Zanu/Zapu guard talked and came to a
negotiated agreement after a protracted, bitter war. They also
negotiated at Lancaster House, an experience the Young Turks don't
The MDC's veiled endorsement of the old guard is likely to please
Mbeki, who has not made much headway with his quiet diplomacy approach.
Makumbe believes "Mbeki's approach will find favour with the old
guard with whom he shares a struggle history. The Mafikizolos must have
made him very nervous with their radical and disruptive nature."
Zanu-PF insiders say a Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards after the
elections in March in which the intellectual wing aligned to Mnangagwa
* Moyo, Chinamasa, Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge and Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made * could get the chop.
But Makumbe has warned that Mnangagwa must not be viewed as down but
"He is going to fight. This might be the beginning of internal power
struggles and eliminations characterised by stage * managed accidents
and poisonings. These guys are ruthless and it's open season now."
The in-fighting will culminate at the congress in December where Mugabe
will be elected unopposed as president.
It's been a frenetic week for Zanu-PF. On Mugabe's orders,
Parliament remained in session until 3.15am on Wednesday for the second
reading of a Bill to outlaw all foreign-funded human rights
organisations and give the government the power to shut down any other
Zimbabwe's school crisis
By Barnaby Phillips
The education system in Zimbabwe used to be Africa's finest and one of
President Robert Mugabe's greatest achievements. But today schools are
in crisis - economic collapse and political interference are having a
President Mugabe has banned BBC journalists from the country
This interview took place in a secret location - and although it had
been planned for months, we were only told where we should go a few
We did it as quickly as possible, and my cameraman arrived and left in
a different car.
The interviewee was never told my name. And I cannot tell you the
interviewee's name, nor can I tell you where we met.
You get the picture. All very cloak and dagger.
So who was I meeting? Perhaps an underground rebel leader, who had
decided to take up arms against the government? Or a fanatic, planning
Sadly, the truth is more mundane.
I met a teenage school-girl. Or, to be more accurate, a teenage
ex-school-girl, because - like so many Zimbabwean children - her parents
can no longer afford her fees and she has dropped out.
So why all the secrecy for an interview about education?
Partially because reporting in Zimbabwe has become so difficult and
dangerous that you cannot take too many precautions.
This month the Zimbabwean government tightened - again - its reporting
The innocently named "Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act" makes it illegal for any foreign journalist to be based in
Zimbabwe. When the Zimbabwean authorities can identify people who have
spoken to the foreign or independent media, they are prepared to go
after them, and punish them.
It also says that any journalist who reports without the approval of a
government-appointed commission can be sentenced to up to two years in
Zimbabwe's information minister, Jonathan Moyo, says "this kind of
legislation is the norm worldwide", but the intention of this
legislation is to get Zimbabwe off our television screens, and radios,
and newspapers, and minimise the government's embarrassment.
For foreign journalists, it has made life inconvenient.
For brave, independent Zimbabwean journalists, it has made life very
But there is another reason for our secrecy: to protect the people who
have the courage to give interviews. Because make no mistake, when the
Zimbabwean authorities can identify people who have spoken to the
foreign or independent media, they are prepared to go after them, and
And yes, even a school girl, talking about the disappointment of not
finishing her studies, would be a target.
So at the risk of annoying Mr Moyo, and his colleagues, let me tell you
a little bit more about Zimbabwe's education system, and its problems.
It was the pride of Africa.
And the credit for that goes to President Robert Mugabe and his
government. In the years after independence, President Mugabe supervised
an enormous expansion in spending on education.
By the late 1990s, Zimbabwe had a higher percentage of literate people
than any other country on this continent.
According to the UN, as recently as 2000, 90% of young Zimbabwean
children went to primary school. Again, the highest attendance in
But by 2003, that figure had plummeted, to only 65%.
This represents a social catastrophe, the impact of which will be with
Zimbabwe for decades.
The crisis in the economy is the main reason for the collapse in school
The girl I met at the secret rendezvous is typical. She is bright and
was planning to take her A-levels and qualify as a social worker.
But her family has been hit by unemployment and Aids, and now they
cannot even afford to spend the equivalent of £5 a term to send her to
They want her to go out and make money instead. So it is not surprising
that many girls are falling into prostitution.
To make things worse, thousands of qualified teachers have left
Zimbabwe in recent years. The head of the teachers' union told me that
he believes that at least 10,000 have gone.
They are, mostly, economic migrants hoping to make a better living in
South Africa or Britain. They say they were fed up in Zimbabwe where
schools are under-funded, and salaries cannot keep up with inflation.
But several of the teachers whom I have met in South Africa say that
they fled for political reasons.
The Zimbabwean government believes that teachers tend to be opposition
supporters and has used violence to intimidate them.
In a squalid flat in downtown Johannesburg, a former Zimbabwean teacher
told me how government thugs stormed into his school and told him that
his teaching should be more "patriotic".
Later, he says, they attacked him and beat him so badly he needed
stitches in the head. That is when he decided to leave Zimbabwe.
Like many exiles, he has not found life easy in South Africa. He works
as a waiter. Other former teachers that I have met drift between odd
jobs, selling things on the street, cleaning houses in Johannesburg's
These stories are important - the girl who can no longer go to school
and the teacher who was beaten up. They say so much about Zimbabwe
And that is why we have got to keep on trying to tell these stories, no
matter how hard the Zimbabwean government makes it for us, the
Because we owe it to the brave Zimbabweans who do want to speak out.