They profited in times of war and now are in trouble – Mozambique

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Some people In Mozambique made a lot of money during the armed clashes between government forces and the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), the country’s largest opposition party.

The escorting of convoys by the military in order to maintain the safety of civilians and goods gave rise to lucrative opportunities. Some entrepreneurs built restaurants, lodgings and resorts at places the escorts left from and arrived at. Many young people who obtained short-term employment have built houses and bought livestock with their savings.

DW Africa correspondent in Inhambane, Luciano da Conceição made a trip from Inhambane to Tete at a time when the only safe way to travel was with military escort.
Trade in times of war

Da Conceição says that while some people were dying in clashes between government forces and Renamo guerrillas, mainly in central Mozambique, “some citizens made a lot of money out of travelers waiting for military escorts” .

Odete Kany, a businesswoman in Changara district, told DW Africa that during the time of the military escorts she was able to build a dormitory block and three furnished bedrooms. But today, with the silencing of the weapons, the clients of yesterday no longer exist.

“I was able to build this block of three-bedroom suites. I put aluminum doors and windows in, mosaics, marble in the bedrooms,” she said. “We had a good custom from travelers waiting for military columns,” and Odete made a lot of money in meals. “Today, there are no military columns, and at meal times we bill between 3 and 5 thousand meticais (EUR 42 to 70).”
However, Kany prefers to profit less and have peace. “We can’t say that the situation was better then,with our brothers dying on the roads,” she says.

“At the time of the columns we cashed in well”

Lucas Trindade Lopes is a trader on National Highway 7. During the armed conflict, he was able to buy livestock for breeding, he told DW Africa.

“I cannot lie to you,” Lopes begins. “I bought kids, pigs, and a lot of chickens. In the time of the columns, we cashed in well. There were people selling, for example, two boxes of water a day. Now it takes a week to sell one box.”

Américo João tells DW Africa that, during the clashes between the government troops and Renamo, he was busy selling mobile phone recharges to travelers in Luenha village, and made about 6,000 meticais per day (about EUR 84). With what he was able to save, João built two houses and currently does not work for anybody else.

But still, he’s happy with the end of the armed clashes. “I was making a lot of money from travelers waiting for the escorts, but fortunately now we have peace and do not need the military columns,” he says.

“You could always make more”

Xadreque Banda, a trader in Manica province, says that the economic situation was better at the time of the military escorts. Then, he managed to build the home of his dreams and today regrets having fewer clients.

“They used to sleep here and I would take advantage of this to do business. Of course there was a lot of movement then, which is no longer the case.” During the military columns period, he made more profit. “We traders had a better life,” he says. “You could always make more, by building a house, for example.”

Source: Deutsche Welle

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