High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique

Statue of Alberto Chipande to be erected in Pemba

Maputo, 6 Oct (AIM) – The Municipal Council in the city of Pemba, capital of the northern province of Cabo Delgado, plans to erect a statue to Alberto Chipande, on the avenue that already bears his name, in recognition of his role in the national liberation struggle.

Chipande was the man who led the guerrilla unit that, on 25 September 1964, fired the first shots in the war for independence against Portuguese colonial rule, in an attack against a Portuguese position at Chai, in the Cabo Delgado district of Macomia.

After independence in 1975, Chipande became defence minister, and a member of the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. Although he is now 81 years old, he remains a member of the Political Commission of the ruling Frelimo Party.

According to a report in the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the Pemba Municipal Assembly gave the statue the go-ahead last week. But only the 22 members of Frelimo voted in favour of the project. Assembly members from the main opposition party, Renamo, voted against, while those from the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) abstained.

Assembly chairperson Florete Mutarua said the Renamo opposition to the statue was unjustified. The proposal was not to rename the city’s streets, he said, but merely to put a monument on an avenue already named after Chipande.

He said Chipande was an essential figure in the history of the liberation struggle. Furthermore, when he was at the head of the Cabo Delgado provincial government in the 1980s, Chipande led the drive to twin Pemba with the Italian city of Reggio Emilia. Mutarua said this had brought many advantages to Pemba.

The spokesperson for the Renamo group in the Municipal Assembly, Cossuai Valy, claimed that Frelimo was adulterating Mozambican history, attributing some episodes in Pemba’s history to individuals who were not their protagonists, to the detriment of the “real heroes”. He did not name these 'real heroes'. “We voted against because the figure of Chipande is not consensual”, declared Valy.