Last weekend, President Kamuzu Banda of Malawi became the first black African leader to visit the Portuguese territory of Mozambique.
Last weekend, President Kamuzu Banda of Malawi became the first black African leader to visit the Portuguese territory of Mozambique. One of the first stops of his three-day visit to the area was the enormous Cabora-Bassa Dam project. His high praise of the project only added to thee tremendous controversy surrounding the dam - described by Zambia's President Kenneth Kaunda as "a crime against humanity".
Cabora-Bassa's main purpose will be the production of power - 18 billion kilowatt a year, which is twice as much as Egypt's Aswan Dam. South Africa had already signed on as a customer when the dam is completed in 1975. Malawi and Rhodesia could become other customers, with Zambia and Tanzania benefiting, if they wanted it. Portugal lays enormous store in the project. Besides power, the project is expected to open up the Zambesi River Valley, which is being spoken of as "potentially the Ruhr of southern Africa."
The Africans, with President Kaunda in full cry, have launched a massive international campaign to halt the scheme. They believe that if the project is completed, the Portuguese will be forever secure in Mozambique. More than that, they believe its successful completion will be a decisive boost to Southern African white supremacy.
SYNOPSIS: The Zambesi River in Tete Province, northern Mozambique, and the site of one of the most controversial projects in Africa--the Cabora-Bassa Dam. Due for completion in 1975, the one-hundred and fifty million pound-sterling project will be able to produce eighteen-billion kilowatts of power every year.
The portuguese, who have ruled the territory for five-hundred years, have enormous hopes for the project. Besides the hydro-electric plant, they hope that the scheme will open up the Zambesi River Valley, making it the "Ruhr of southern africa". Tans of thousands of acres of farmland will be irrigated and opened for settlement, and rich deposits of iron, coal, copper, manganese and possibly uranium will be open for exploitation. Portuguese officials say that Cabora-Bassa is one of the most ambitious social-economic development projects ever undertaken in the world. This view, however, is not shared by many Africans.
Heavy security surrounds the project, due to serious attempts to sabotage the dam by FRELIMO, the Mozambique Liberation Front. It is their view that the project can only secure Portugal's position in Mozambique, perhaps also being a decisive boost to Southern African white supremacy.
Zambia's President Kenneth Kaunda has described Cabora-Bassa as "a crime against humanity," and has launched an international campaign to halt the scheme. He and others like him are not persuaded by the argument that Cabora-Bassa's potential is such that its economic and social benefits could act as a catalyst for better political relations between black and white countries.