Maputo, 9 Nov (AIM) – A noisy crowd on Wednesday obliged Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi to abandon the written speech he was giving at a ceremony in the northern province of Nampula.
Nyusi had gone to Nampula to inaugurate the connection of the Covo-Ger-Ger administrative post, in Nacala-a-Velha district, to the national electricity grid.
Far from welcoming the new electricity sub-station in dignified silence, the crowd continued to talk among themselves, making such a noise that it was impossible to hear what Nyusi was trying to say.
He tried for about a minute, speaking about the achievements of the government in electrification. “Our main goal is to guarantee universal access to electricity for all Mozambicans”, he said. “From 2020 to now, 55 administrative posts have been electrified, benefitting 1.2 million people”.
But the noise from the crowd was such that it was impossible to continue the speech. Nyusi then turned to his delegation and asked (with the microphone still on) “what do they want?”
Nyusi left the rostrum and approached the crowd, with no greater success. He returned to the rostrum and spoke for another three minutes or so, but the noise continued.
The Nampula provincial governor, Manuel Rodrigues, urged the crowd to keep quiet and allow the President to speak. He was unsuccessful.
Giving up his written speech, Nyusi spoke off the cuff, declaring “we promised to electrify all the administrative posts during this term of office, and we’re almost finished. I believe that next year we shall conclude the task”.
The ceremony ended with members of the crowd drifting away before the President had left.
This cool reception for Nyusi was unprecedented. It cannot be blamed on the opposition parties, since there was no sign of their flags or slogans (at least not on the television footage).
Was the public of Covo Ger-Ger protesting at the municipal election results? Perhaps – but there are no municipalities in Nacala-a-Velha district. However, people living there doubtless have friends and relatives in Nacala Port, and other municipalities on the Nampula coast and so would be aware of the demonstrations against what the opposition regards as “a mega-fraud”.
Speaking to the independent television station STV, Nyusi made light of what had happened, saying the crowd was here not to listen to him, but to celebrate the arrival of electricity.
“The population wants electricity, they want water, they want roads, they want telephones, they want to live well, and when we arrive, for them, it’s a party”, he said. “They didn’t give us the time to stop and speak, because they want to celebrate the electricity that has arrived, and which they had long been waiting for”.
According to the publicly-owned electricity company, EDM, the electrification of Covo-Ger-Ger cost 48 million meticais (about 751,000 US dollars, at the current exchange rate).
25 kilometres of medium voltage transmission line, and 10 kilometres of low voltage line were installed as well as seven transformer posts. 1,050 consumers will be connected to the grid, out of 1,500 envisaged in the first phase of electrification.
Earlier in the day, Nyusi inaugurated the connection to the grid of the Saua-Saua administrative post, in Nacaroa district, which involved building 50 kilometres of medium voltage and ten kilometres of low voltage transmission line.
It cost 113 million meticais. The electrification of both Saua-Saua and Covo-Ger-Ger was financed entirely out of the state budget.