Eugênio Ussene Mussa died of Covid-19 on Monday (8 Feb). He had only been named chief of operations in Cabo Delgado in December and Chief of General Staff on 14 January. Seen as close to President Filipe Nyusi, his appointment shifted control of the defence forces from the paramilitary riot police to the army. His monumental task had been to build the army and navy into effective counter-guerrilla fighting forces, and to end the antagonism between army and police. This will require systemic solutions beyond just the change of the Chief of Staff, from training, to logistics, to intelligence and communications, to command and control.
January saw more Covid-19 cases than all of 2020 and Mussa's death underlines the way the January explosion of the disease has been hitting officials and the elite. Most death notices do not cite cause of death, although the family of Francisco Pateguana noted that his death Friday (5 Feb) was due to Covid-19. Pateguana had been a deputy minister of Agriculture, governor of Gaza and Inhamane, and chair of parliamentary commissions.
The size and number of paid death notices in the Noticias "necrologia" section is often seen as an indication of the status of deceased members of the elite. Recently Noticias has had to increase the size of necrologia to a four page supplement. (J,Hallon)