News and Information

Chissano coming
December 3, 2004

GABORONE - Out-going Mozambican President Joachim Chissano is expected to arrive in Gaborone today to bid fare well to President Festus Mogae before he leaves office after the December 1 to 2 general election.

Chissano will arrive from Zimbabwe where he will have met President Robert Mogabe. While in Botswana, Chissano will meet Mozambicans residing in the country before visiting Orapa diamond mine. The Mozambican leader will also attend a church service at the Catholic Church on Sunday morning.

From Botswana, Chissano will proceed to Namibia on Monday.

President Chissano is leaving after 18 years in power and there are five candidates vying for his post. Chissano has nominated Armando Guebuza to succeed him.

Guebuza's main challenger is Renamo leader Alfonso Dhlakama.

According to BBC News, two leading candidates in the Mozambican elections are from parties which fought a destructive civil war, which ended in 1992.

President Chissano presided over a period of remarkable economic growth since the end of the war.

BBC reports that Mozambique has been battered by colonial rule, civil war and famine. But since a peace deal ended 16 years of civil conflict, the country has made big strides, becoming a magnet for foreign investment.

President Chissano, 65, played a critical role in the liberation movement Frelimo in the early 1960s. He took over as president in 1986 after the death in a plane crash of President Samora Machel who was returning home after a meeting in northern Zambia.

"He oversaw the government's move away from Marxism, the introduction of a multiparty constitution and the peace agreement with the rebel group Renamo," the BBC reports.

Chissano was re-elected twice in 1994 and 1999. BOPA


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