Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mozambique's Ruling Party Frelimo Elects New General Secretary

Frelimo Elects New General Secretary

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
November 15, 2006
By Quelimane

The Central Committee of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party on Tuesday night elected Filipe Paunde, the governor of Nampula province, as the party's new general secretary.

The Central Committee itself was elected earlier in the day, at the end of the Ninth Congress of Frelimo, held in the city of Quelimane.

Despite confident predictions in some of the press that the post would be hotly contested, in the event Paunde was the sole candidate.

The former first lady, Graca Machel, had been tipped as a possible candidate for general secretary - but in a Tuesday television interview she described such speculation as "nonsense". Machel said she had no ambitions beyond being a member of the Central Committee.

Since 2002, Armando Guebuza had been general secretary: but it was clearly impractical for Guebuza to continue combining this job with those of President of Frelimo and President of the Republic.

Since the general secretary must be based at the Frelimo headquarters in Maputo, Paunde will now leave Nampula, and so a new provincial governor must be appointed.

The Central Committee also re-elected Eduardo Mulembue, the speaker of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, as the chairperson of the Verification Commission, which is the Party's disciplinary body.

Taking advantage of the new statutes approved by the Congress, the Central Committee expanded the Political Commission from 15 to 17 members.

The Political Commission is effectively the most powerful body in Frelimo. Whereas the 160 strong Central Committee only holds ordinary meetings twice a year, the Political Commission meets almost every week.

In addition to Paunde, there are five new members of the Political Commission. They are the Planning and Development Minister, Aiuba Cuereneia, the Frelimo Secretary for Cadres and Training, Conceita Sortane, Education Minister Aires Aly, the general secretary of the Mozambican Women's Organisation (OMM), Paulina Mateus, and prominent jurist, and former chairperson of the Maputo Municipal Assembly, Teodoro Waty.

As expected, former Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi and former Transport Minister Tomas Salomao, leave the Political Commission. Both men have demanding jobs outside Mozambique, and so could not possibly attend Political Commission meetings on a regular basis. Mocumbi is the High Representative of the Holland- based Europe-Developing Countries Clinical Tests Partnership (EDCTP), which is a research programme to develop new drugs and vaccines against HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, while Salomao is Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Two others lost their seats on the Political Commission - the Women's Affairs and Social Welfare Minister, Virgilia Matabele, and the former Minister of Veterans' Affairs, Antonio Hama Thai.

The other 11 members of the previous Political Commission all kept their seats. Thus the composition of the new Political Commission is as follows:

Armando Guebuza (President of the Republic and of Frelimo) Joaquim Chissano (Honorary Chairperson of Frelimo, and former President of the Republic) Filipe Paunde (General Secretary) Eduardo Mulembue (Chairperson of the Verification Commission, and speaker of parliament) Luisa Diogo (Prime Minister) Alberto Chipande (former defence minister) Veronica Macamo (deputy speaker of parliament) Manuel Tome (head of the Frelimo parliamentary group) Margarida Talapa (deputy head of the Frelimo parliamentary group) Alcinda Abreu (Foreign Minister) Jose Pacheco (Interior Minister) Eneas Comiche (mayor of Maputo) Conceita Sortane (Frelimo Secretary for Training and Cadres) Aiuba Cuereneia (Minister of Planning and Development) Paulina Mateus (General Secretary of the OMM) Aires Aly (Education Minister) Teodoro Waty (former president of the Maputo Municipal Assembly)

Six out of the 17 members of the new Political Commission are women.

The Central Committee also elected the seven member secretariat. There are three new members - Paunde, Carmelita Namashalua (Deputy Minister of State Administration), and parliamentarian Castro Morgado.

Not re-elected were Mauricio Vieira (who lost his seat on the Central Committee), Amelia Sumbana and Laurinda Kanji. The other members of the existing secretariat - Edson Macuacua, Conceita Sortane, Aiuba Cuereneia and Eliseu Machava kept their seats.

Also elected was the Verification Commission. This body may contain members who are not on the Central Committee. Its tasks include disciplinary matters, and controlling the Frelimo accounts and the party's overall financial management.

Several of the existing members were re-elected, including Teresa Tembo (a former head of the OMM), Almerino Manhenje (former Interior Minister), Joana Mondlane (Frelimo first secretary in Maputo province), and Daniel Litsuri.

New members of the commission are prominent parliamentarian and businessman Hermenegildo Gamito, Justice Minister Esperanca Machavela, Health Minister Ivo Garrido, former deputy agriculture minister Joao Carrilho, the head of parliamentary plan and budget commission, Virginia Videira, former mineral resources minister Castigo Langa, and education official Arlindo Chilundo.

Investing in Education for Women

Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
November 15, 2006

Mozambique's Deputy Education Minister Antonia Xavier defended in Maputo on Tuesday the need to value investment in education for women as a means to promote gender equity.

Xavier was addressing the opening session of a seminar on "Sustainable Strategies to Promote Education for Women and Girls". The meeting was organized by the Mozambican African Forum of Women Educators (FAWEMO).

"This meeting should serve as an opportunity to consolidate awareness on the importance and the benefit of investing in education for women and girls to promote gender equity', said Xavier.

She recalled that the Second Decade of Education in Africa, launched by African education ministers in Maputo in September, has included among its objective the elimination of gender imbalances in schooling.

The FAWEMO three day meeting, with participants from southern and Eastern Africa, including South Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and Zanzibar, is designed to exchange viewpoints on the issues that hinder the success of strategies for girls' education.

Some of the reasons mentioned include early marriage and pregnancy, the use of girls by their parents as human capital, violence against girls and the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Xavier mentioned cases where parents consult witchdoctors and pay for the services of these sorcerers or charlatans by handing over one of their daughters.

Such practices, she said, were damaging to the future, not only of the girls themselves, but of the entire community, because "when you educate girls, you educate the nation".

For her part, FAWEMO coordinator Nacima Figia said that a strategy is being worked out to allow the education system to take gender issues into account.

One problem is that only about 20 per cent of the 68,000 teachers in Mozambique are women. This means that girls often find themselves faced with male teachers with very little sensitivity to their problems, which is reflected in them dropping out of school, particularly in the rural areas.

FAWEMO is to launch a work plan on advocacy for the rights of girls in Zambezia, Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces, where statistics show the lowest rates of formal education among girls.

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