Campaigning for Mozambique’s local elections begins on Tuesday amid tensions. Government officials say in some places, voting might be postponed for security reasons because the former rebel group Renamo is threatening to boycott or disrupt the vote.
Companies like Rio Tinto have asked non-essential expatriates to leave the country until things die down a bit. People who work in some of the coal mines have been warned by police to be careful using the roads because Renamo is attacking motorists.
A few days ago a long distance truck was stopped and the driver killed.
Growing tensions between the Frelimo-led government and Renamo seem to be slowly reaching boiling point. Civilians caught in the middle live in fear and perpetual uncertainty about what is going to happen next. Some families have moved from the villages to small towns where they feel safer.
The international community is up in arms about the situations in the Central African Republic (CAR), the DRC, Mali and other trouble spots on the continent.
Hundreds of thousands of people haven’t been displaced in Mozambique and the number of people dying may not be as high as elsewhere on the continent. But trying to prevent a potential conflict from starting is better rather than waiting for things to escalate.
We have seen countries issue travel warnings and say they are ‘concerned’ about the situation in Mozambique but that’s it. There isn’t much mentioned in the international media.
Maybe its not yet a ‘sexy’ story because we are not seeing many people dying yet. Maybe it’s hard to access the area? Or maybe countries like the DRC, CAR, Somalia grab headlines and viewers much easier than a former Portuguese colony called Mozambique?
Under the radar
I don’t have an answer as to why some stories are told, and many others aren’t why world leaders have summits that gloss over issues in some countries while focusing on others.
Maybe its done so as to not scare away investors? Mozambique is rich in coal and gas. Mabe it’s to keep tourists coming to the country and Southern Africa as a whole? Let’s face it many holiday makers won’t come to a trouble spot. Those who do are probably wired differently.
Luckily, the skirmishes are so far limited to a few areas.
It will be a pity if one day we wake up and the occasional clashes we are seeing now between Frelimo and Renamo have turned into a war.
How long will the situation in Mozambique stay under the radar before more effort is made internationally to avert a ticking time bomb from exploding?
Or is it that people living outside the country and the region don’t want to know or care?