Thursday, April 27, 2006

Some of the contradictions of Mozambican society:

I pay my electricity bills by mobile phone now, and cuts are extremely rare in the part of the city where I live.Many areas of Mozambique are still not connected to the grid, and others have been let out to rip-off concessionaires, linked to government bigwigs. Inhassoro, the small coastal town where we stopped for a night on our way back down the coast last November, is a case in point. Residents and small businesses there pay charges way above the national norm, and often have to wait many months for a connection. According to the papers, civil disobedience is in the offing.
Mozambique passed a law three years ago, forbidding compulsory HIV/AIDS testing by employers. Many industrialized countries still do not protect their citizens civil rights in this way.Last month, the Maputo PRM (Police Force) selected 170 of 300 candidates, to be recruited as new Police Officers. They were immediately sent for compulsory HIV tests. When questioned by journalists about the legality of this measure, the Police Chief said words to the effect of "we don't to hire sick people and have them die off on us".
Customs officials are tall, strong and their bellies and faces have a well-rounded appearance. They stride about talking loudlyBeat policemen are short, rather skinny and often look almost like dejected schoolboys as they mope around the rainy streets. No prizes for guessing which job gives more opportunities for 'eating

...and some consistent elements...

There is a rubbish tip outside my house. It is always overflowing, and the rubbish stinks its way on to the pavement, onto the street. Despite the Mayor's solemn promise, when "elected" 3 years ago, to make it a top priority.In Nina's "bairro", there are not even any rubbish tips. People dig holes in their yards and burn it there, or just dump it on the street at the dead of night. But every household there still gets USD 1 a month charged out of their electricity payments for the so-called "rubbish tax".
Corruption - its everywhere, and a whole new generation of university graduates are slowly being sucked into it. I see it before my eyes.U.K. Development Minister Hilary Benn made a big speech about it recently, but at least in Moz, the UK govt, along with the other "donors", does not lift a finger about the many many well-known cases of corruption. Why? Because Moz is a "good boy" and takes his IMF medicine in whichever hole he is told to stick it.

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