‘The struggle against poverty and the promotion of our welfare are of paramount importance’

Armando Emílio Guebuza

Standing together

President Armando Emílio Guebuza sets out his vision for national unity, improved communications and the fight against poverty in Mozambique 

The struggle against poverty and the promotion of our welfare are of paramount importance in our government. In order to continue to see success in their development, it is vital that we continue to consolidate national unity, peace and democracy. In this year’s contribution to our open and inclusive presidency, we highlighted to our people the importance of peace consolidation, national unity and national independence. We carefully analysed the first two, but I emphasise here that national independence is a political construction that makes us Mozambican citizens and, at the same time, reminds us that beyond our borders, whether we like it or not, we are foreigners – and as such we are seen and treated. 

National unity is enshrined in our constitution as a fundamental objective of the Mozambican state, ensuring the link between us, as citizens, and our beautiful nation. Patriotism comes from our love for our motherland, from the meaning that we place on our relationship with our country, how we change and build on it and the role that it plays in our lives – our own melody in the concert of nations. 

The love of our country has its basis in the fulfilment of our duties, but also the enjoyment of the rights that allow us to exert our citizenship and with that citizenship engrain the foundations of the state, one of the most important reference points for the consolidation of national unity. Thanks to the sense and value we attach to national unity, the cultural references, affirmation of values and supreme interests of the Mozambican nation are necessarily perennial. 

It is in this light that our constitution provides for the punishment of acts that go against national unity. So where diversity flourishes, our cultural mosaic rejoices, the sense of Mozambican citizenship strengthens and national unity consolidates. Viewed this way, national unity teaches us that the opportunities for all of us to participate in the fight against poverty are spread throughout our beautiful Mozambique. Thus, in all our provinces we have land for agricultural production and conditions for agro-processing, logistics and tourism, including hunting. 

In all these areas, we are able to develop our knowledge society and service industry companies, including financial and insurance services. In some provinces we have ports to explore, build and expand; in other provinces we have natural gas, and in yet others we have heavy minerals. We also have coal and precious stones and yet the right conditions for energy production, including the use of new and renewable sources. The variation in the distribution of natural resources in our homeland should not be an excuse to incite division and separation, jeopardising national unity. Just remember how Mozambicans from different provinces fought together – and some lost their precious lives – for this homeland of heroes to become free and independent. 

We should reaffirm, therefore, the need to consolidate national unity around the noble interests of our heroic people, regardless of our partisan and political convictions, religious creed, tribe, race or place of origin. In the same context, we should be steady and persistent in the consolidation of our Mozambican homeland, joined together by the communion of destiny and matrix density that identifies us as one people, as one nation. 

Inspired by national unity, we continue to nurture Mozambicanship through various representations of the people and we express this diversity of origin, race or creed in both central and local organs of political power. It is in this context, and in the context of promoting the sense of homeland and self-esteem, that we continue celebrating the lives and deeds of national heroes on the 40th anniversary of their death in the liberation of the land and people. This has been commemorated with state ceremonies in the home towns of each of them. They are our compatriots who shed their precious blood so that today we could take our place in the community of nations. 

These are, namely:

– Romão Fernandes Farinha, in the locality of Muatide, Muidumbe District, Cabo Delgado Province, who lost his life at the age of 30

Francisco Orlando Magúmbwa, Messumba, Lake District, Niassa Province, who lost his life aged 33

Francisco Manyanga, Charre, Mutarara District, Tete Province, who lost his life aged 42

Armando Tivane, Locality of Maqueze, Chibuto District, Gaza Province, who lost his life at the age of 36

Luís Joaquim Marra, Caia, Sofala Province, who lost his life aged 27

These national heroes, combatants of the National Liberation Struggle, lost their lives young. As we remember their deeds, let us today ask how much, at our age, we have already done for our motherland and create an insight into the legacy we have built, through which we shall be remembered by future generations. 

The exaltation of these national heroes honours and glorifies the patriotism that characterised those noble sons of Mozambique and this is an opportunity for the preservation and dissemination of their legacy to present and future generations. 

Given its large impact on the promotion of mutual understanding among Mozambicans, the reality we live in and various resources we are endowed with, we organised the Eleventh National Festival of School Sport Games in the cities of Tete and Moatize Town. These were, once again, demonstrations of our potential in sports, our organisational and competitive capabilities and our steps to intertwine sports, arts and culture into pillars of national unity – mainstays of Mozambicanship and sources of our self-esteem. 

Thanks to the concept of national unity that we promote and consolidate, we have clearly seen that the homeland of heroes continues to produce heroes in the fight against poverty among workers, peasants, students and employees. 

The Holidays Developing the District programme, which is being sponsored by university final year students through the University Students Association in Mozambique, should be viewed with respect to it promotion and consolidation of national unity, giving students the opportunity to know their Mozambique better and discover that the challenges they face in everyday life are similar to those of other Mozambicans, and that only united can we overcome them. 

The Policy and Strategy of Decentralization and Devolution is another driving factor of national unity consolidation, which brings the decision-making centres, the symbols of power and nation, closer to the citizens. It is also in this light that legislation to create new districts by province, as well as to create ten new municipalities, should be viewed. 

National unity is also articulated through an increasingly professionalised public administration where capacity-building, training and staff turnover remain as permanently pressing needs. Still, in the scope of national unity promotion, we have been building infrastructure that facilitates the movement of people and goods, such as roads, bridges and railways, and others that draw services closer to the citizen – for example, building petrol stations reduces the amount of fuel that citizens have to spend on their trips to purchase fuel for their vehicles. 

This factor adds to many others that have been improving communications between certain ‘remote areas’ in our beautiful Mozambique. By bringing the leadership, resources and services closer to the citizen we have increased national unity in citizen awareness. 

With national unity we have Mozambique. Without national unity, Mozambique does not exist. No Mozambique, no Mozambican. Without Mozambicans there shall be tribes, ethnicities, races, religions and a full range of centrifugal conditions to exacerbate the whole plethora of what distinguishes some from their brothers. 

National unity is the cement of Mozambicanship. It is the mortar that holds together the strong and enduring creation that we have been building since 1962. This was the guarantor of all our achievements and victories of the past and in continuing to consolidate it, we reinforce the certainty that our fight against poverty, today and tomorrow, will be crowned with success.

About the author:

Armando Emílio Guebuza has been Mozambique's President since 2005. He is the leader of FRELIMO, the Mozambique Liberation Front


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