Advances Against Terrorism But Foci Of Instability Remais
Maputo, 20 Dec (AIM) – Despite attempts to consolidate stability in areas regained from islamist terrorists in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, there remain “foci of instability in various parts of the province”, said Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday.
Giving his annual State of the Nation address to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Nyusi said there have been “advances in the fight against terrorism”.
“Just yesterday a group of our young men from the Special Forces interrupted an attempted attack in Nangade district”, he added. “The enemy suffered losses and disappeared, but they are being pursued back to the area where they took refuge”.
Overall, said Nyusi, the Mozambican defence and security forces, together with their allies from Rwanda and from SADC (Southern African Development Community) “in 2022 consolidated security in the areas affected by terrorism. We were able to provide humanitarian assistance to over a million displaced people, and we have been guaranteeing the voluntary return of people to their home areas”.
He put at 198,000 the number of formerly displaced people who have been able to return.
“In the areas affected”, he added, “we have been gradually rebuilding services and infrastructures for electricity and water supply, schools, health centres and roads”.
As for the Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) of former members of the militia of the main opposition party, Renamo, Nyusi said that three Renamo military bases were closed this year. The number should have been four, but for reasons that are not yet clear, the attempt to close a base in Manica province on Monday failed.
Nyusi said the government and Renamo are studying the questions of pensions for the demobilized soldiers. “We are studying a sustainable way of instituting pensions for this group of Mozambicans, so that our fellow-countrymen can be integrated into society in a dignified and productive way”.
Nyusi defended the government’s attempt to overhaul the state wages system through the introduction of a “Unified Wages Table” (TSU), which is intended to consolidate a vast array of bonuses and allowances into the basic wage.
“Many of the staff in the public administration earned more from allowances than from their wages”, he said. “Today, with this new configuration, most of the allowances have been incorporated into the basic wage, which guarantees greater protection for the staff when they retire”.
Easily the most controversial part of Nyusi’s speech was his announcement that this year the government is unable to pay workers of the public administration the traditional New Year Bonus. This bonus is equivalent to an extra month of the basic wage, and so is commonly known as “the thirteenth month”.
There is no legal obligation on the government to pay this bonus, but it has become taken for granted, and so its removal may come as a rude shock to many state employees.
Nyusi said the government simply does not have the money to pay the thirteenth month to all its workers this year, and it is still looking for funds to pay a thirteenth month to state pensioners.
“My government would like to offer better conditions to all state employees”, he said. “But good will is not enough. There must also be a robust economy”.
“Given the need to respond to pressing national imperatives”, continued Nyusi, “including the stabilization efforts in northern Mozambique, we regret that this year it is not possible to pay the thirteenth month to public sector workers”.