Mozambique’s Minister of Interior, Jaime Basilio Monteiro, explains in his interview with PM Communications how his country managed to achieve the peace and stability it can be proud of as it celebrates its 40th independence anniversary, and how it serves as a guarantee of security for both investors and tourists.
This year, Mozambique celebrates 40 years of independence, national sovereignty, peace and social stability. Sir, you’ve dedicated your life to solving the problems of your country and working for the safety of the people. What would you say were the main achievements of Mozambique over all these years of sovereignty?
Over the past 40 years, one of the biggest gains was the fact that we managed to maintain our independence, our sovereignty, our national unity, and simultaneously hold the country together as a nation.
The other important element was the achievement of an understanding point after the armed conflict, which brought peace and stability in the place of the 16 years of destabilization.
Last but not least important was that we managed to focus on our reconstruction programs.
In addition to that, the road network was rebuilt; the connection between the north and the south is now made safe and peaceful.
The goals of the country were oriented towards building health facilities, maternity hospitals, and hospitals in general.
The school network and the number of students rose from 10% to 90% as the adult education programs continue.
I see in your answer that you put a lot of emphasis on education. Could you elaborate a little on the training of Mozambique’s security forces, its evolution and with what means you are counting on now to achieve your goals? What do you have in store to improve (if applicable) security and the police force’s capacity in Mozambique?
Let me tell you that before and even after independence we counted on the help from friendly countries with regards to training our defence and security forces.
In addition we perform some domestic training, but we keep counting on the support of other countries when it comes to training.
Today, as a member of Interpol, we have good relationships with police departments all over the world.
Apart from basic training facilities, we have a Police Sciences Academy and at the international level we cooperate with some countries in terms of providing our officers with scholarships in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Fortunately and proudly we can say that we have a police with very solid training in all dimensions, that is: in prevention, in investigation and in terms of public control.
The government’s five-year plan is ambitious, as it has set as a priority the strengthening of peace and national unity, which can unfortunately be put in danger if armed forces belonging to the main opposition party – Renamo – gain ground. What is the Ministry of Interior doing to keep a new conflict from happening?
We consider as a challenge anything that is susceptible to cause us problems. We are committed to doing all in our reach so that peace and stability are not disturbed; to date, we are continuing to work within the structure of dialogue.
The Ministry of Interior’s experts are keeping the dialogue going with Renamo officials as we believe we can still achieve stability through talks.
Our President is committed to transmitting signals of peace to Renamo’s leadership and to the world.
As for the maintenance of peace, the President is open to talking with whomever, whether on a national or international level.
We understand that security is a very important issue for investors and tourists interested in coming to Mozambique. How are the policies of national security applied by the Ministry of Interior providing greater visibility of the country to the world?
We want to increase the sense of security for every citizen wherever they are; we want to increase the visibility of our police patrol, and we are working on mapping probable areas of threats and potential risks.
Simultaneously, we intend to increase the number of officers by increasing the training programs from basic up to higher levels.
Very recently, that is in January 2015, we sent a police contingent to the tourist points upcountry, to help keep watch over the natural reserves and zoo parks.
We have started seeing satisfactory results out of that measure. We are multiplying the patrol systems on highways to ensure road safety as well as reduce the number of accidents.
You have been working for this country for many years. You started in the area of public security and sovereignity defence, and came to be the country’s first commissioner . Now, you are the highest authority when it comes to domestic security. What did it mean to you to receive the invitation from the government of Philip Nyusi to take part in his government?
I took it as a challenge. Throughout my career I have been a police officer and as I received the invitation to join the government of Mr. Nyusi, I realized that I would be coordinating the work of areas like public security, migration and the fire department, etc.
My mission is to coordinate the work being done by all areas that comprise the Ministry of Interior and for that I have a well-oriented teamwork.
As a coordinator I am convinced that my colleagues have the ability and the experience needed to give their best and achieve the country’s goals in terms of security.
Minister, thank you very much for your comments.