In this interview, Mozambique’s Green Party leader talks about the country’s current political situation, the party’s development, and what they would like to achieve with the Global Greens between now and 2021.
By the Global Greens
The Mozambique Green Party (Partido Ecologista Movimento da Terra) reached out to the Global Greens community for solidarity following two devastating cyclones this year.
This is an interview with the party leader Mr. Joao Massango about the current political situation in Mozambique, the Green party’s development, and how they would like to be active in the Global Greens between now and the GG Congress in 2021.
Tell us about Mozambique and its current political situation.
Since 1975, the Liberating Party has continued to dominate Mozambique politics – despite Mozambique becoming a democracy in 1990, when a constitutional amendment introduced multi-partyism and Mozambique’s first democratic elections were held in 1994.
Despite the constitutional change, Mozambique’s political system is not healthy; opposition parties experience persecution, elections are mired with claims of fraud and a culture of political intolerance persists.
How has the Green Party developed in this context?
The Partido Ecologista Movimento da Terra has participated in several electoral processes since the party’s foundation in January 1999. The party was officially registered in 2001, published in the national bulletin of parties in July 2002, became a member of the African Greens Federation in 2012, and participated in the Global Greens congresses in Dakar (2012) and Liverpool (2017).
The party is represented at national level in the national territory, and actively participates in environmental activism – including natural disaster relief during the 2019 floods and cyclones, which devastated parts of the country.
Party campaigns include the capacity building of communities in environmental conservation, particularly relating to rural areas, deforestation, the indiscriminate killing of protected species, and election campaigning.
How does the party want to cooperate and interact with Green parties globally over the next three years?
The Partido Ecologista wants the Green family interactions to be more solid over the coming three years, through the global platform of the African Green Federation and Global Greens.
We want there to be a fluidity of information, exchange and sharing of experience, the opening of political twinning, the exchange of electoral manifestos, and mutual assistance.
In the next three years I would like the Global Greens Coordination Committee to develop election monitoring services. For instance, Mozambique will hold our sixteen general pre-election of legislative assemblies and I have been nominated by the Green Party to contest as a presidential candidate.
The success of Green party candidates will be enabled by our mutual support in the Global Greens, so I want to count on your support!
Tell us more about your country, Mozambique. What is it like to grow up there?
Geographically, Mozambique is a country on the eastern coast of Southern Africa bounded by Tanzania in the north, Malawi and Zambia in the northwest, Zimbabwe in the west, South Africa and Swaziland in the south, South Africa in the east, and the section of the Indian Ocean called the Mozambique Channel.
In the Mozambique Channel, the neighbors are Madagascar and the Comoros (including the French possession of Mayotte). In the Indian Ocean, to the east of the great island of Madagascar, are the dependencies of Réunion, Juan de Nova and Europa Island. In the Mozambique Channel, roughly halfway between the mainland and Madagascar, the atoll of Bassas of India, also a French possession. The capital of Mozambique is Maputo (it was called by Lourenço Marques during the Portuguese domination).
Mozambique continues to suffer the effects of the hidden debt crisis of 2016. Real GDP growth slowed to 3.7 percent in 2017, down from 3.8 percent in 2016 and well below the growth rate of 7 percent of GDP achieved on average between 2011 and 2015. Small and medium-sized enterprises have declined and their capacity to generate jobs has been further reduced. Growth is expected to remain relatively stable at around 3 percent over the medium term.
Mozambique is a democratic country based on a multiparty political system. The Constitution of the Republic enshrines the principle of freedom of association and political organisation of citizens, the principle of separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers, and the holding of free elections.
What is your party’s experience in elections, both previously and upcoming?
The Partido Ecologista is composed of members and followers with the passion for nature. Opposition party activities are constrained because the system does not allow funding of political party activities, we therefore live and contribute to the ecological imbalance with our own means and wills of the members, the problems of a structural nature and a lack of background, so our maintenance in the Green family is necessary for our development.
Despite these challenges the Green party has participated in the local elections of 2008/9, 2013/4 and 2018; and this year the party will contest in the Presidential, Legislative and Provincial Assembly elections which are scheduled for 15 October 2019.
The Partido Ecologista is represented in the country's 10 provinces. Our aim is to form the government of sustainable development, to elect our candidate for the presidency of the Republic, to elect deputies of the assembly of the Republic and Provincial Governors.
How have the recent cyclones impacted life in Mozambique?
Mozambique is vulnerable to extreme events such as floods, droughts and cyclones, so all extreme events have whipped my country.
We recently suffered the strong tropical storm Cyclone Idai this on March 14 in the central zone of Mozambique, with damages estimated at 700 million euros and almost 5,000 dead and thousands more displaced.
A few weeks later, Mozambique once again suffered another cyclone, named Kenneth, resulting in 45 dead and 254 thousand affected in four districts of the north of Mozambique.
Summing up on the cyclones in the last decades, more than 14 cyclonic events have already occurred. Our country has no natural disaster management policy, so the data is incalculable. We ask Global Green members to help train our members and volunteers in natural disaster response for floods, cyclones and other forms of environmental emergencies.
After the disastrous Idai cyclone, I launched a call for support to Mozambique through the African Greens and Global Green channels. Post-Idai, rebuilding and back-up support for people in remote areas is a long-term endeavour and we continue to appeal for support for the magnitude of the devastation of cyclones Idai and Kenneth, we ask once again for food, medicine, water, clothing and financial support as well as the training of our volunteers in natural disasters for the future.
This article was originally published on GlobalGreens.org.