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    21 May, 2010
President Guebuza hails achievements of independence
Naburi (Mozambique), 21 May (AIM) - President Armando Guebuza hailed on Thursday the achievements made by the country since independence, in 1975.

Addressing a rally in the Naburi administrative post, as part of his tour of the central province of Zambezia in his "open and inclusive presidency", he cited the example of achievements in the area of education, where secondary schools had been built in most districts and some of the administrative posts.

In terms of higher education, President Guebuza recalled that before independence Mozambique had only one university, in what was then Lourenco Marques (today's Maputo), with 2,000 students, of whom only 40 were Mozambicans.

"Today we have 78 higher education institutions, in both public and private sectors, where 70,000 students study, and which cover all provinces", he said.

"We know that this is not very much for a population of more than 20 million inhabitants", he said, adding that the government will continue striving to respond to these and other challenges.

President Guebuza noted that some people are still sceptical about the results of the fight against poverty, lack belief in their ability to face life's adversities.

He said that this attitude may undermine the ongoing efforts on all fronts to fight against poverty, which is the main challenge now facing Mozambicans.

President Guebuza argued that national unity is fundamental for defeating poverty. "Our strength lies in unity", he said. "It was only because we valued unity that we conquered colonialism and we established peace in Mozambique. Now let us use this unity to defeat poverty".

Freedom of expression was another gain of independence, said the President, pointing out that during colonial rule there was no such freedom, and anyone who tried to speak his mind would be repressed.

"At that time, nobody would be allowed to present his problems, because he would suffer reprisals", he said, encouraging the participants to the rally to present to their leaders their problems and proposals for solving them.

He had given similar advice in the Nauela administrative post on Wednesday after one participant had criticised the biased way in which the local court deals with cases, always finding in favour of people who are well off.

That speaker expressed his fear that he would suffer retaliation because he had spoken publicly to the president denouncing abuses committed by the district authorities.

Commenting on such fears, President Guebuza criticised any attempt at intimidation, and stressed that freedom of expression is one of the rights enshrined in the Mozambican Constitution.
Naburi residents asked the authorities to connect their administrative post to the national electricity grid and also to the mobile phone system. "Many people have mobile phones here in Naburi, but they cannot use them because they are waiting for the signal. We are asking for help in this matter", said a message read out during the rally.

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