Mozambique: Murrupula Gradually Emerging From Poverty
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
The district of Murrupula, in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, the birth place of Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, is gradually emerging from the depths of poverty, thanks to investments made over the past few years.
Four years ago, electricity in the district was limited to four generators and people protested that Morrupula had no doctor, no secondary school, and no access to the mobile phone network, or to national television. But today the situation is completely different.
Visiting Murrupula on Thursday, as part of his tour of the country in his "open presidency", Guebuza inaugurated the new power supply network, which cost about 2.4 million US dollars, and links Murrupula to the national grid. It is thus power from the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi that now supplies Murrupula, rather than obsolete oil-fired generators.
At the inauguration ceremony, which was followed by a brief rally, local people told Guebuza about their satisfaction, but also complained of the poor performance of the police and the justice sector.
The local authorities declared that "today, Murrupula has a doctor, mobile phones, a secondary school, a television signal, and electricity from the national grid".
"This visit by the President does not only symbolise the formal connection to the national grid, but it is also the culmination of responses to a number of problems presented during his previous visits", said local administrator Afonso Ussene. But needs are ever growing. The people of Murrupula now have a general practitioner, but they are requesting a surgeon, so that they do not have to be transferred to Nampula city, about 80 kilometres away, whenever they need an operation.
But the main complaint now in Murrupula is crime and the apparent impunity of the criminals. One woman at the rally told Guebuza that the crime situation is becoming so bad that the few possessions of the people, resulting from their hard work, are simply stolen by the thieves.
"Worst of all, Mr President, is that whenever we arrest the thieves and hand them to the police, they are released even before the person who denounced them arrives home. When we get tired of this and decide to take justice into our own hands, then we are really arrested", she said.
Commenting on the complaints about the crime rate, which he had also encountered in other Nampula districts visited earlier in the week, Guebuza told Murrupula residents to strengthen vigilance in order to prevent, for instance, criminals from sabotaging the new electrical installations. All over the country, thieves attack power lines, stealing copper and aluminium cables, and components of metallic pylons.
Guebuza also called for improvement in communication between the residents and the institutions of justice. He urged officials of these institutions to explain their activities to people, so that they will no longer fell the need to take the law into their own hands. He stressed that the lynching of alleged criminals is never justified, and that only the courts have the power to punish those accused of crimes.
As for the prices of agricultural products, a major concern of Murrupula farmers, Guebuza stressed the importance of peasants organising themselves into associations, so that they could negotiate prices from a position of strength.