Mozambique has now had its independence form Portugal for sixteen months. Like most new nations?
Mozambique has now had its independence form Portugal for sixteen months. Like most new nations it is still having teething troubles - the most severe being its continuing economic problems. In March, President Samora Machel decided to apply full sanctions against the Rhodesian regime. And than in itself is costing the country as much as 100 million pounds sterling (165 million U.S. dollars) a year. But despite the obstacles President Machel and his government are striving to weld Mozambique into a viable socialist state. Perhaps the most noticeable changes since the Portuguese exodus can be seen in the capital, Maputo.
SYNOPSIS: Under the Portuguese the capital was called Lourenco Marques. But now the name's gone and with it about 90 per cent of the Portuguese who used to live in Mozambique. There are Some shortages of food and other commodities but these are not as serious as has been reported abroad. And the shortages are caused more by distribution problems rather than by scarcity of supplies. Despite the loss of skills caused by the white exodus, the city is running well. The tree-lined boulevards and markets are kept immaculately clean and all the basic services are functioning.
But the most striking thing about Maputo under Frelimo rule is how calm the city appears to be. Reports about a reign of terror being enforced are just not true, according to foreign newsmen there. There are certainly political posters stuck on buildings around the place but virtually no police, and no armed guards to be seen. But though there are few outward signs of upheaval, a closer look shows that distinct changes are taking place.
Perhaps the most noticeable is the docks. Prior to independence Maputo was one of the busiest ports in East Africa. Now there's the seediness of unemployment, Since Mozambique applied its sanctions on Rhodesia it's estimated at least 10,000 people have lost their jobs - many of them in dockland-and several Portuguese companies that used to operate form the port have closed down throwing local people out of work. Some South African ships are still trading form Maputo but a lot of the cargo leaving the port is the furniture and household effects that whit settlers still leaving the country are shipping back to Portugal.
Now everyone's referred to as "Comrada" although some of the older white settlers who've stayed resent the term. Those who left were not willing to make the changes and other sacrifices demanded by Mozambique's revolution. According to Britain's Guardian newspaper, the whites who left early on were mainly racialists or strong anti communists. Most who're there after 16 months of independence are sympathetic to the revolution... and along with the Mozambiquans are trying to adjust to a new way of life.