Two parliamentary commissions will quiz the government on the secret debt. The parliamentary Standing Commission agreed Monday (9 May) that the both Plan and Budget Commission and the Defence and Public Order Commission would question the government. The parliament session is scheduled to resume in June, but commissions meet during recesses so the hearings could be soon. The secret debt was taken without parliamentary approval (thus the Budget Commission) and is said to be for patrol boats and others arms (thus the Defence Commission). Renamo boycotted the Standing Committee session.
This is a total reversal of the position of Frelimo in parliament, which last month rejected a debate on the debt. More than $2 billion in secret loans and bonds were taken on in 2103-14 by a small group around the then President Armando Guebuza. Many MPs are seen as aligned to Guebuza, and the reversal of position is an indication of increasing pressure on Guebuza and Frelimo.
On Saturday the politically influential Veterans Association (Associacao dos Combatentes da Luta de Libertacao Nacional, ACLLN) said the government should investigate possible conflicts of interest of the still secret individual investors in the three companies whose debts were guaranteed by the state - Ematum, ProIndicus and MAM. It also said that the state should only accept the military part of the debt and not that of the three companies. Last month the Frelimo Central Committee had demanded a public explanation of the secret debt.
In a speech to the Mozambican Bar Association on 4 May, Rui Baltazar said the country is going through "a profound political, economic and social crisis." In an obvious reference to the Guebuza government, he said Mozambique has gone through "a prolonged period of exercise of political power with an authoritarian nature and great opacity." He cited "deepening corruption, misuse of state property, nepotism, [and] an assault on public goods that should be exploited for the benefit of the people. … Politics seems to be only about the conquest and preservation of power as a means to have unauthorized access to resources, promoted by a premature and dangerous euphoria based on energy El Dorados, encouraging wastefulness and megalomania, with all the harmful consequences that now we will have to face."
AIM (6 May) calls Baltazar "a moral beacon for Mozambican society". An anti-fascist in the late colonial period, he was one of the few lawyers who defended Mozambican nationalists. After independence he became Justice Minister and then Finance Minister. Eventually he became the first chair of the Constitutional Council.
Source: MOZAMBIQUE News reports & clippings 319, 11 May 2016