A road trip from Harare, Zimbabwe to Vilanculos in Mozambique is all fun and games until you discover the civil war that ended in the early 90s is not really over.
The cheer and merriment came to an abrupt end when an armed soldier told us we’d have to spend the night in Mxungu because the village was surrounded by ex- rebels. Speaking in Portuguese all we could gather from his speech and hand signals was “in Mxungu… person shot…sleep here.”
Seven hours into our trip we were unloading the 15 passenger combi to spend the night at a truck stop. We slept with one eye open anxiously waiting for break of dawn when the soldiers would escort us out of the area in a convoy with commercial trucks and private vehicles.
Mounds of research later, we now know that Mozambican politics are a betrayal to the countries breathtaking sea view’s and sunset’s. Opposition party Renamo are fighting against the ruling liberation party, Frelimo, for electoral changes that will aid political and economic fairness.
On 21 June of this year tensions heightened when Renamo forces attacked and killed three truck drivers (number not confirmed) making it unsafe for drivers to use the only highway linking Mozambique’s northern and southern regions. We drove past the harrowing scene- a giant burnt truck that had been carrying canned beverages.
A curfew has been imposed on the area and there is heavy military presence since.
In addition, coal and gas investor’s have temporarily come to the rescue by paying Renamo forces $18 million for “peace”- small change in relation to the projected $5 billion per year mining sector.
And the ruling party’s position? Frelimo staged nationwide protests against the attacks on June 22nd. But political fragmentation continues in a time of major economic growth.