Natural resources belong to all Mozambicans

Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali on Wednesday warned that the country’s natural resources “belong to all Mozambicans, wherever they are, and no matter what part of the country the resources are in”.

Speaking in a question and answer session in the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Ali said that vast natural resources “boost our hope and our confidence in victory in the struggle against poverty”.

“But let us make this, above all, an opportunity to strengthen national unity, and our self-esteem as Mozambicans, because we possess resources to develop the country”, he urged, “What is necessary is that we become skilled to exploit them for our benefit, and to achieve this access to knowledge is fundamental”.

Everybody should be involved “in the search for technical and scientific knowledge to meet the demands of productive processes”, he said. “This is a challenge for all of Mozambican society which should take creative initiatives so that knowledge is increasingly accessible to all”.

Also crucial, Ali urged, was “maintaining the climate of peace so that we can continue increasing production and productivity. Only thus will we be able to capitalize upon the investments that the country is attracting”.

Interaction between the government and the governed was also crucial to success, he added, “and so we should use all means within our reach so that information circulates”.

That was why the government had created “all facilities so that the media may find the space necessary to pursue their goals”.

“Without the media we could be isolated, distant from each other, and compromising the interdependent work that we do”, he argued. “That’s why we state that the media are an element of cohesion, particularly if properly used”.

Ali was obliquely responding to a question from the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, which asked “”what mechanisms does the government have to ensure that coverage in the publicly-owned media is impartial and wide ranging so that the current pro-Frelimo censorship does not prevail”.

The only example of such “censorship” that Renamo gave was a claim that the media provide live coverage of events of the ruling Frelimo Party “something which does not happen with any other party”.

It is indeed true that the media (both public and private) have covered Frelimo conferences and the opening and closing sessions of Frelimo Central Committee meetings. That is because Frelimo bothers to invite the media. Renamo either does not hold such events, or does not invite the media. Certainly the only Renamo events AIM has ever been invited to cover are sporadic press conferences.

Censorship is outlawed under the Mozambican constitution – but Renamo is hoping to sneak censorship into the electoral legislation. One of the Renamo proposals for amendments to the election laws is to make it a criminal offence for any of the media to “ridicule” election candidates.

Post published in: Africa News

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