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Mozambique: Donor Politics and Mozambique
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Mozambique: Donor Politics and Mozambique
Date Distributed (ymd): 950515
FROM THE "MOZAMBIQUE PEACE PROCESS BULLETIN"
ISSUE 15, APRIL 1995
TEMPORARY THUMBS UP
Donors are generally pleased with the new government and
seem prepared to give it cautious support for the rest of
this year -- putting Mozambique on a longer leash without
permitting it free rein.
This consensus emerged at the annual Consultative Group
(donors') meeting in Paris on 14-15 March. It was an explicit
rejection of United States attempts to win support for its
continued vendetta against Frelimo.
Before the meeting the US circulated a statement, backed by
Britain, demanding steps "to advance national reconciliation
[and] strengthen democratic institutions", including a
greater role for Renamo and a "resumption of President
Chissano's dialogue with Renamo leader Dhlakama."
On 13 March, the US called a special pre-meeting of donors in
Paris to press its case that the new government was really
no different than the pre-election one, that during the war
and the peace process Frelimo had been allowed by donors
to get away with anything it wanted, and that the donors
must now tighten the screws and impose heavy new
conditions. "The easy times are over," said one US official.
This view was backed by Britain and Germany. But, according
to one donor representative present, the three were "totally
isolated" by the other donors who opposed the US analysis,
style and strategy.
Most donors accept that Frelimo has been democratically
elected by a much higher proportion of voting age adults
than either the British or the US governments. Further, they
feel that the government has changed. Prime Minister
Pascoal Mocumbi as well as Finance & Planning Minister
Tomas Salomao and his deputy Luisa Dias Diogo won high
praise from donors for their performance in Paris.
The March meeting was described as the most political
Consultative Group meeting on Mozambique ever, but it
became political in a positive way with support expressed
for the new democratic institutions such as parliament, local
government and the independent media.
Although donors are not prepared to give Mozambique a free
hand, they want to take a lower public profile and give the
government more space and flexibility to try to find national
solutions to the country's many problems and not impose too
many detailed answers. In exchange, however, there are
demands for even more detailed donor intervention than in
the past to keep a much closer watch on what the government is
doing; one donor warned of the danger of trying to "co-govern
The main donor line of giving Frelimo more freedom while
watching very closely what it does contrasts sharply with US
stridency and demands for rigid pre-conditions. Many donors
privately talk of trying to support what they call
"progressive technocratic factions" within Frelimo,
represented particularly by Salomao, rather than trying to
curb the old guard. They argue that US stridency encourages
hostility instead of cooperation, and plays into the hands of
the old guard. And they point out that the government had
already promised several of the things the US was demanding,
including cuts in military spending, money for opposition
parties and a special status for Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama
as leader of the opposition.
Most donors say there must be a balance of carrot and stick,
with a carrot for the new government and a big stick reserved
for the December 1995 donors' conference if Frelimo fails to
fulfil promises made in March.
The main benchmarks for December will be:
1) on governance, a local government election law and
beginnings to improve the police and judiciary, and
2) on economic reform, a sharp increase in customs revenue
and continued privatisations including moves to sell or
reform BCM (Commercial Bank of Mozambique).
Two joint donor-government working groups meet monthly.
A macro-economic group of the World Bank, US, European
Commission, Sweden and Denmark meets with the Minister of
Finance. And a governance group of the World Bank, US,
European Commission, UNDP, Norway and Netherlands meets
with the Minister of State Administration.
So far, the governance group has stressed decentralisation
and civil service reform, but it will probably expand into
looking at parliament, local elections and corruption. At
least one member of the group feels that the Minister of
State Administration does not have high enough status, and
wants the working group to meet with someone of higher
standing in Frelimo.
In addition, there is the more widely-based Aid for
Democracy (AfD) donor group convened by the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which provided
support for the elections last year. AfD is still trying to
find a post-election role, but it will be one of the forums
where donor ambassadors discuss policy and strategy on
AfD seems likely to support parliament, the justice system
and local elections. There are proposals circulating for up to
$20 million to support the local election process, with a
UNDP technical assistance programme similar to the one
which assisted the STAE in the national election.
US INFLUENCE WANES
Faced with criticism in Maputo both from Mozambicans and
from most other donors, the US embassy has been forced to
take a lower profile, at least temporarily.
US influence in Maputo has fallen with the end of the United
Nations presence, with the unacceptability of its line, and
especially with loud statements in Washington that aid is to
be cut. Some donors accuse the US and Germany of trying to
impose unacceptable conditions on Mozambique to try to
camouflage their own aid cuts.
A representative of one of the larger donors said the US only
kept its influence because it controlled World Bank spending
here. One mark of reduced US influence is that it was single-
handedly able to force the postponement of the donors'
conference from December 1994 until March 1995, but an
April call by US embassy officials to delay the December
1995 donors' meeting drew no support.
Several donors told the Bulletin that even where they agreed
with parts of US policy, they could not be seen to support
the US because it is perceived as so hostile to the
The recently issued US report on human rights in
Mozambique details many alleged government violations,
while glossing over Renamo violations of the peace accord
and of rights.
And US officials in Maputo remain caustic in private. One said
that the US was seen as pro-Renamo only because "we have
been trying to level the playing field too openly". The same
official went on to comment that "Frlimo has delivered so
little to the people of this country."
US officials are demanding local elections in the entire
country in 1996 because "Frelimo does not want
decentralisation because they don't want to lose control."
A key element of US policy is continued backing for Renamo.
The US feels that Frelimo believes that Renamo will crumble
or be co-opted. The US feels this must be prevented and
Renamo needs to be supported as the only viable opposition
party. One official said: "We will continue to object to the
marginalisation of Renamo".
DONOR QUOTES TO THE BULLETIN
"Mozambique can't win. If it does not tell the donors what
they want to hear, it is told to go back and try again. And if
it tells the donors what they want, the donors take credit for
forcing policy changes but then say Mozambique can't be
trusted because it only tells donors what they want to hear."
"We are only giving advice now. But if that advice is not
taken, the bill will be presented in Paris in December."
"Donors were very late in realising the importance of local
government. The law passed last year was very much a
Mozambican project. It was not imposed by donors, so it was
not discussed at diplomatic cocktail parties, and was largely
ignored at first. One embassy did not even report the law to
their foreign ministry."
FOR MORE INFORMATION
The Mozambique Peace Process Bulletin is published
irregularly and free of charge by AWEPA, the European
Parliamentarians for Southern Africa. To get on the mailing
list, write to AWEPA at Prins Hendrikkade 48, 1012 AC
Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Phone: 31-20-626--6639
Fax: 31-20-622-0130). The Bulletin is edited by
Joseph Hanlon who can be reached on email@example.com. The
AWEPA office in Maputo is on firstname.lastname@example.org.
This material is being reposted for wider distribution
by the Washington Office on Africa (WOA). WOA is a
not-for-profit church, trade union and civil rights group
supported organization that works with Congress on