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07MAPUTO318 2007-03-16 07:42:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Maputo
Cable title:  

Mozambique - Opposition Parties Complain of Growing FRELIMO

Tags:   PGOV MZ 
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1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Emboffs called on opposition leaders in early
March, while making the rounds of Mozambican contacts for the
Mission's newly-arrived poloff. A common theme was resentment
towards FRELIMO's increasing assertiveness and hand wringing that
they were relatively powerless to do anything about it. They
pointed to more prominence given the ruling party in government
affairs, a plan to gerrymander the municipality of the opposition
stronghold of Beira (Mozambique's second city) to weaken RENAMO, and
how it was becoming harder to find (or hold) employment when linked
to the opposition. End Summary.

2. (SBU) Lutero Simango, a deputy in the RENAMO-UE coalition,
complained that the government tapped its resources to fly FRELIMO
deputies around the country, whether for government work or
politicking. His party, on the other hand, was starved for funds,
which meant that most RENAMO delegates remained in the capital of
Maputo rather than visiting constituents in the countryside. The
mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango (Lutero's brother), at a reception
several days later, told emboff that he believed press reports that
the government was planning to revise boundaries in the municipality
of Beira to strip off outlying suburbs known to support RENAMO, so
that the city would more likely fall to FRELIMO in 2008 municipal
elections. He added that he had seen none of the $250,000 President
Guebuza said had been allocated to each district in the country to
fund local initiatives. Being an opposition mayor was "very hard,"
he lamented. (Comment: Despite his city's funding troubles because
of its non-FRELIMO status, Simango remains very popular in Beira.
End Comment.)

3. (SBU) Maximo Diaz, outspoken lawyer and leader of MONAMO, the
"first peaceful opposition party", as he refers to it, which he
founded in 1992 right after the Rome Peace Agreement ended the civil
war between FRELIMO and RENAMO, told emboffs that many of President
Guebuza's ideas originated with him and his advisers, without their
getting any credit. Meanwhile support for MONAMO was drying up,
with membership dropping to "probably no more than 2,000 members."
He said he would be turning 70 years old in several weeks time and
talked much more of the past than the future. Cynically, he
remarked that maybe "Africa was not ready for democracy; perhaps
countries had to go through the monarchy stage first."

4. (SBU) Raul Domingos, former #2 in RENAMO who founded the PDD
party in 2002 and unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004 (PDD came
in third, after FRELIMO and RENAMO, but garnered only about 2.5
percent of the votes), told emboffs that what most worried him was
the increased prominence given to FRELIMO party cells in government
institutions by President Guebuza. He reported that FRELIMO had a
cell in every department of every ministry, that government organs
throughout the country follow suit, and that Guebuza was using the
cells to pressure employees to belong to the party. (Comment: Party
cells were important during the Samora Machel era in the 1970's and
1980's, but of not much significance under Machel's successor,
President Chissano, after the government adopted a new constitution
in 1990 that provided for a multi-party state. End comment.) As an
example, he said that several weeks earlier the woman who had run a
highly effective PDD campaign in Beira had resigned for "family and
social reasons" (he showed emboffs a copy of her resignation
letter). He believed that her husband, who worked in the state
sector, had come under pressure because of his wife's activities and
would have lost his job had she not quit. Domingos added that
several PDD members in the provinces had been arrested late last
year for holding a political meeting, and were only released,
without any formal charges, one month later when he protested
personally on their behalf.

5. (SBU) Comment: There is no question that the Guebuza
administration is actively trying to increase FRELIMO's power and
influence throughout Mozambique. This has been a focus of Guebuza's
since he was chosen by the party to succeed Chissano back in 2002,
two years before the 2004 elections. There has been a steady
trickle of reports in the media of mid-to-low level opposition
figures switching to FRELIMO (almost certainly because of better job
prospects as party members rather than ideology) since Guebuza took
office in February 2005. The opposition figures' charges track what
we have heard from other sources, especially over the last year (see
reftels). On March 15 and 16 the FRELIMO Central Committee is
meeting in a Maputo suburb to plan for the upcoming provinciQ
elections. Every cabinet minister and every governor, reportedly,
is in attendance. We will report on the outcome of the meeting