MAPUTO, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has declared that the fight against corruption is the most vital and urgent challenge facing the country.

Addressing the opening session of the 11th Congress of the ruling party, Frelimo, in the capital’s twin city of Matola on Tuesday, Nyusi declared that under the rule of law, leaders must first serve the people and the country”.

“If we were able to overcome colonial rule, we have to be able to win the battle against corruption. And if we were able to silence the guns (a reference to the 1992 peace agreement that ended the war of destabilization), we also have to be able to fight against organized crime, and to build a country made by and for all Mozambicans, he said in his capacity as Frelimo president.

Zero tolerance towards corruption must begin in our own ranks. It should be the norm from the top to the grassroots. Nobody should abuse their position. This Congress should be proof that such abuses — bribery, extortion, and all other violations — must not go unpunished, he added.

Nyusi also spoke up for social justice. We don’t want to be part of a society where the rich suffocate the poor,” he said.

The wealth of the country’s natural resources should unite all Mozambicans, he said. The riches in the country’s soil and sub-soil should be a blessing, not a curse, he said, insisting that debates at the Congress should feed a long-term vision about this matter.

Stating that he did not want the country to stagger from one ad-hoc solution to the next, he said: We do not intend to govern just through campaigns and projects. We need strategic solutions and a culture of looking ahead. Governance should not be limited to solving problems, he added. Governance should mean that problems don’t happen.”

Nyusi also warned against intolerance. Diversity of opinion is not a sign of weakness, but of tolerance. The debate of ideas, however different they may be, must continue to be promoted, in the awareness that we are living in a more open society,” he stressed.