Monday, November 15, 2004
Some depressing things which have happened in the last few weeks:
- the election campaign suggests that the ruling party has, if anything, only increased in its one-party-state arrogance since the last elections. State funds, organizations and media are continually used to blast the opposition as unreformed armed bandits, and there is almost no debate about policy. Outside the capital, local administrators and police often take it into their own hands to intimidate opposition campaigners, via such means as beatings, confiscation of materials, and even house-searches of villages through which the opposition have passed. Anyone who has accepted things (T-shirts, toothpase, baseball caps) from the opposition is beaten and the items burned.
- Meanwhile, billboards across Maputo declare the rulers as 'The Force for Change'. Considering they have ruled the country for almost 30 years, that's a bit rich. When I pointed it out to my girlfriend (who is hardly a political firebrand), she laughed with incredulity and said 'the force of inertia, more like'. Certainly, the president-in-waiting is unlikely to do anything radical, given that he comes right from the heart of the party's old-school centralist wing, and is actually older than the current president!
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