Mozambique's new president Nyusi will be tested by a basketful of problems

Nearly 70% of the 24 million Mozambicans live in absolute poverty. Only about 5m of the 10m registered voters cast their ballots in recent polls.

CORRUPTION, unemployment, wealth redistribution, national unity, gas, coal and oil sectors, are among the main challenges the new Mozambican President, Filipe Nyusi is going to face in the next five years, following his victory in the general elections held on October 15.

Statistics show that nearly 70% of the 24 million Mozambicans are facing absolute poverty, while outcries from ordinary people, civil society and opposition parties have become more intensive these years.

Among other things, they are protesting the unequal distribution of wealth in Mozambique although the country discovered abundant natural gas reserves, and has drawn investment from across the world.

Only about 5 million out of the 10 million registered voters cast their ballots in the October 15 polls in Mozambique. “I vote for them to eat, while my family and I are starving. In no way,” said Marcos Ponela, who works for an Indonesian private company in one of Maputo city’s suburbs.

 For Ponela, the ruling party should think of the idea of picking some “bright” guys from the opposition and appointing them its future governments.

John Tumbuka, a tourist guide in Vilankulo, one of the districts of the southern province of Inhambane, said “something must be changed, Nyusi must focus on people’s concerns, poverty and unemployment.”

A country divided

Another challenge Nyusi is going to face is how to infuse non-partisanship in state apparatus, one of the demands by the opposition political parties. 

 Andre Gabriel, a teacher in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, said that the new head of state must also strengthen national unity.  “Check this year’s general elections results. You will notice that they reflect division within the country. Frelimo got more votes in the south and in two northern provinces. This shows that there is still a gap to be filled,” he said.

The parties accuse the Frelimo-led government of discriminating against their members and sympathisers at workplaces. They claim that if someone is not a Frelimo member, he cannot get a job in state most state institutions.

Frelimo, in power since the country’s independence in 1975, rejects the accusation. In his elections campaign, Nyusi said that his government would fight this practice, and he also promised that job creation will be among his priorities.

The 55-year old new president also has a tough job to deal with the struggle against the killer disease, AIDS. Nearly two million people have died of the disease nationwide since it was discovered in 1986 in the country. The infection rate stands at 14%, according to the Health Ministry.

To make matters worse, the country’s lack of medicines and doctors, and inadequate of knowledge of the deadly disease, all contribute to the further spread of AIDS and many other diseases.

Nyusi will be the fourth head of state since Mozambique’s independence from Portugal in 1975. The country then endured civil war from 1975 to 1992, leaving thousands of deaths and injuries. In recent years, massive gas reserves estimated around 200 trillion cubic feet have been discovered off the country’s coast, which could promote the country to the ranks of major exporter of liquified natural gas in the future. 


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