February 2, 2005

Crackdown on crime and corruption, promises new President / Government appointed

The fight against crime and corruption will be "a central point on my agenda", Mozambique's new President, Armando Guebuza, had promised at his inauguration ceremony. Crime and corruption were "insidious enemies" that "present themselves as alternative means of reaching wealth", said Guebuza. "They erode citizens' trust in institutions and undermine all efforts aimed at enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in the public service and at strengthening a society in which the values of justice, ethics and respect for human life and for citizens' rights and freedoms prevail". Guebuza pledged that his government "will strive to strengthen the institutions responsible for public security and the administration of justice throughout the country, doing its best to provide them with the necessary human, material and financial resources". In particular, he would "encourage the courts to be more expeditious in settling conflicts and restoring the rights of individuals and companies when breached, and in consolidating professional ethics".

Guebuza also promised that his government will demand that civil servants improve their performance. The type of public administration he desired "is not compatible with the red tape and apathy found among some civil service". "We will strive for a public service that encourages development", he said, "through greater productivity of its officials, whose key function is to support, help and facilitate transactions of individuals and institutions".

The duty of state employees was to improve the services provided to the public in offices, schools, hospitals and other state department, "in strict respect for the law and their professional obligations". He was not demanding anything new, Guebuza stressed. "In the past, our civil servants succeeded in rendering an exemplary service to citizens, despite the prevailing professional and material constraints", he said, clearly thinking of the years immediately following Mozambican independence in 1975. He wanted to see today's civil servants "take leadership in the current public sector reform, and to show more respect for citizens". The new President also pledged that a style of "open presidency" would be followed at all levels "so that our people can follow every step that each member of the government is making in the fight against poverty.
In the meantime, Guebuza has also appointed the new government, by selecting 23 ministers (including the Prime Minister) and seven deputy ministers. Eight of these (27 per cent) are women (six ministers and two deputy ministers). This compares with a government of 24 ministers and 18 deputy ministers under Chissano, of whom eight (19 per cent) were women - three ministers and five deputy ministers. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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