MAPUTO, Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party and its Angolan counterpart, the MPLA, have declared their intention to strengthen their co-operation following a meeting here between Frelimo General Secretary Eliseu Machava and MPLA Deputy President Joao Lourenco on Sunday.

Lourenco, who is also Angola’s Defence Minister, and is the MPLA’s presidential candidate in elections scheduled for August, was on a one-day visit to Mozambique, bearing a message from Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for his Mozambican counterpart, Filipe Nyusi.

He also expressed the MPLA’s solidarity with the victims of Cyclone Dineo, which struck the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane in mid-February.

But the most extraordinary aspect of Lourenco’s declarations was an outburst against what he called “scoundrels” (“malandros”, in Portuguese), by which he appeared to mean the opposition parties in the two countries.

“If we are not united, the scoundrels will beat us. The scoundrels are united, those inside the country, and those outside. They are united and they do not sleep. Day and night they are thinking about how to steal from Frelimo and the MPLA. We must not allow the gains we have made with great sacrifice to be lost. So we have to consolidate them.”

Lourenco added that Angola had followed Nyusi’s attempts to secure effective peace in Mozambique. “We are convinced that with the wisdom of Frelimo, the people will find the right path to attain this desired goal.”

“Mozambique and Angola have the common mission to maintain the sovereignty and stability of the two countries. We regret that Mozambique is experiencing some instability, but we think that, with wisdom, it will achieve the peace and stability necessary for the development and well-being of the people.”

Machava declared the Frelimo and the MPLA are brothers, working to ensure the welfare of their respective peoples. “Together we have to find the path to attain our objectives,” he said.

Machava assured Lourenco of Frelimo’s support in the forthcoming elections. “It is in the interests of both the Mozambican and the Angolan people that the MPLA should continue to direct the destiny of the Angolan people,” he said.