Panem et Circenses


It takes to know a socialist country to fully understand how propaganda is crucial to politicians. They seem to feed and survive on it, even when the gluttony is not that noticeable.


During the last weeks, in Mozambique, I’ve been watching a well-orchestrated campaign remembering old times. The objective is promoting the present government and the opportunity is the Cahora Bassa dam.


Mozambique is now controlling Hidroeléctrica Cahora Bassa, an enterprise operating the second largest African dam. The campaign sounded a bit too much for me, especially with sentences like “Cahora Bassa is ours!” and “Second independence!” repeated to the exhaustion.


I’m not saying here that Mozambicans have no reasons to celebrate, because they do. But why celebrate so noisily, to the point of having various heads of state present, like neighbour Robert Mugabe? After all it is just the acquisition of an enterprise, no doubt important but anyway just an enterprise.


Do Mozambicans have reasons to celebrate? It depends. The large majority shouldn’t be celebrating. This acquisition was made possible through a loan involving a Portuguese and a French bank. The amount of USD750 millions is supposed to be paid during the next 15 years. There are details of this deal still in secrecy…


The enterprise using and paying for CB energy is the South African Eskom, but South Africa doesn’t seem very impressed with this deal if we take in consideration the way it was present at the event.


If South Africa is not going to make things easy, the ones paying for this deal are the ones who were singing “Cahora Bassa is ours!”: Mozambicans and others living in Mozambique.


I would celebrate with everybody if I was told: 1) Mozambique is going to have more and better energy. 2) Mozambicans are going to spend less in electricity. For someone paying a monthly bill of US50 to US300, depending on air conditioner use or not, I would like very much to hear something like that.


Having said that, I have to admit that there are Mozambicans who have strong reasons to celebrate. I’m talking about the ones now sitting on the administration board. With salaries in the order of so many zeros, I guess they shouted slogans until their throats went soar.


Putting it in panem et circenses terms, it looks like Cahora Bassa it’s all about circus.