Mozambique rethinks Marxism, encourages private enterprise
Mozambique is reevaluating some of its early Marxist policies. The country's President, Samora Machel, has signaled that the ruling Frelimo Party is toning down its late-1970s push for a centralized socialist economy in favor of more grass-roots government and encouragement of some private enterprise.
This shift represents part of the ruling Frelimo party's efforts to create a style of socialism tailored to Mozambique.
The most dramatic feature of announced changes is the sweeping Cabinet shakeup announced recently by President Machel. It involves 15 ministers and vice-ministers.
But the most substantial feature is Frelimo's decision to give more support to private farms. The clear indication is that the massive East European-style state farms endorsed by the last party congress (in 1977) have not worked.
''We have erroneously developed a hostile attitude to private enterprise that must be changed,'' Machel told a rally recently. He announced that substantial state development bank aid will be allocated to private projects, especially to family farms.
The new minister of agriculture, Joao dos Santos Ferreira, is known as a strong advocate of local initiatives and aid to the peasants, and he made an impassioned defense of these positions at the April party congress at which the farming changes were announced.
Privately, leading members of Frelimo's Central Committee admit the expensive state farms have not produced their anticipated output and have created serious organizational problems.
The Central Committee acknowledged that by locating most of the country's agricultural resources in the state-farm sector, while il14l,0,13l,3p6promising peasants technical help that was not forthcoming, the state ''repressed local initiatives because the peasants were reluctant to clear their fields with hoes, waiting for the day when the tractors would come.''
The government focus on the countryside will include physically moving some officials from the capital, Maputo, to the provinces.
''Our country must undertake a profound reorganization, starting with the government itself,'' Machel said.
The party also wants to breathe new life into the 1,322 elected local assemblies. At present, the congress report says, the assemblies ''meet merely to fulfill legal requirements'' and ''have assumed no real leadership role.'' The party plans to give them a larger role.
The report was critical of a lack of state support for peasants, who constitute the overwhelming majority of the population. In a period of self-criticism that led up to the congress, an official noted that the state plan called for the production of crops that could not be cultivated in his region and how the seeds did not arrive until after the planting season.
Allowing such criticism is seen as a liberalizing action here. The changes also are reflected in the composition of the latest Central Committee, which includes 195 peasants, 173 are workers, 85 are soldiers. There are also 105 women among the 667 elected delegates.
Among those elected to the committee is the manager of a state sugar plantation, a former nationalist fighter, who accused the government of being ''infiltrated by the enemy,'' a comment interpreted as an accusation that the party and state leaders had been compromised by corruption and had lost the will and the capacity to fight allegedly South African-backed rebels now battling against the Frelimo government.
Machel told the congress the issue was not enemy infiltration but that senior officials had succumbed to the corruption of comfort.