Thursday, January 12, 2006

An interesting follow-up to the Cahora Bassa dam story. I just read a long article in the Mozambican monthly "Mais", by a guy who was "close to" the negotiations. He points out that the current president of Moz (Guebuza) should not get all the credit - his predecessor (Chissano) did a lot of the ground work. In fact, he says that a few years ago, the deal was effectively closed by Chissano and the then portuguese PM. As a matter of courtesy, and following portuguese political tradition, they then presented the deal "behind closed doors" to the leader of the opposition, and he indicated that his party would not oppose it.

...but - the very next morning he hit the headlines, denouncing the deal as a "sellout" of portuguese national heritage, etc. etc. The deal collapsed and lay where it fell, during the next few years of turmoil in portuguese politics. In fact, this leader of the opposition not long afterwards got into the PM's office himself, in part helped by the "political football" of the Cahora Bassa incident.

The interesting thing is, who was this man who played so fast and loose? None other than Manuel DurĂ£o Barroso, the man who "jumped ship" after less than a year in the PM's job, for greener pastures as President of the European Commission. Not such a trustworthy fellow, you might think. Certainly, if you look at his record, he is notvery popular for the following people:

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