December 24, 2003

Guebuza: Governing model "very expensive"

The Mozambican model of democracy is "very expensive", admits Armando Guebuza, secretary-general of the ruling Frelimo Party, in an interview. Guebuza, who is also the Frelimo candidate for the 2004 presidential elections, emphasised that on the one hand, "the current model is not appropriate, but there is no alternative because we have not designed our own model". Furthermore he stated that the current model did have the virtue of expressing "fundamental values that should never be called into question," such as "freedom of expression, respect for the human person, and popular participation in solving day to day problems".

Although Guebuza is running for President, he stressed that Frelimo was no longer in favour of a presidential form of government. Instead, Frelimo "defends a parliamentary model, in which the force with the greatest number of seats in parliament should influence the appointment of the government". To appoint a prime minister, the President should obey the will of parliament, he added - which had not been the case to date. But this required changing the constitution, and the last attempt to amend the constitution, in 1999, was aborted when Renamo reneged on its prior commitment to abandon the presidential model. "We are running into many difficulties from Renamo", said Guebuza - which could mean that the current attempt to revise the constitution may also come to nothing. Constitutional amendments require a two thirds majority in parliament, and Frelimo's majority is not large enough to push them through on its own.

Asked if he would govern in a different way from the current president in case he would win the elections, Guebuza stressed that both he and Chissano "are from Frelimo, we have the same philosophy, we share the same values of party organisation, of thinking about the country in a collective way, of consultation, and of freedom of expression". Asked about the alleged hostility of western governments towards him, Guebuza said that, since he was chosen last year as the Frelimo presidential candidate, he has visited several western countries, including Britain, Italy and Portugal: "I had contacts with various western leaders, and I didn't notice any hostility", he said. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)


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