Monday, April 08, 2013

The struggle doesn't continue

In Mozambique the Frelimo Fourth Congress in 1983, the call went out to "Defend the Fatherland, Overcome Underdevelopment, Build Socialism". The national anthem of the time promised to make Mozambique "the grave of capitalism and exploitation". Frelimo's own anthem described party members as "soldiers of the people, marching forward in the struggle against the bourgeoisie".

It was not to be. Mozambique joined the World Bank and the IMF in 1985. Western donors, even friendly ones in Scandinavia, made it clear that a programme with the IMF was a condition for continuing assistance. Some may have viewed it as a temporary diversion, assuming that the march towards a classless society would resume in the near future. But it was not to be.

In 1989, Frelimo quietly dropped Marxism-Leninism from its statutes. The following year it was no longer a "People's Republic", but just "the Republic of Mozambique".

Frelimo's slogan "A Luta Continua!" ("The Struggle Continues!") is rarely heard nowadays.

The benefits of economic growth are not being spread throughout society, and poverty reduction has faltered. The household surveys by Mozambique's National Statistics Institute showed that the number living below the poverty line fell from 69% in 1997 to 54.1% in 2003. But the next survey, in 2009, suggested that the government's efforts to alleviate poverty had stagnated, and that the poverty rate was now 54.7%.
A growing gap between rich and poor is evident from the boom in luxury housing built in the fashionable parts of Maputo, and the explosion in car ownership. Traffic jams, unheard of 20 years ago, are now a regular feature of Maputo life. But the majority of Mozambicans still live in huts or shacks, and depend on buses for their transport. 64% still have no electricity.
Frelimo policy has somersaulted in the past three decades, but the party's grip on power remains strong

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