Talk:Samora Machel

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South African Special Forces involvement in the plot[edit]

Shouldn't this be mentioned on the article -- The Death of Samora Machel - South Africa? -- (talk) 17:24, 22 March 2011 (UTC)


Although I have no evidence for this, it is widely accepted in South Africa that Samora Machel's death was brought about by the apartheid regime. It was certainly no secret that the regime hated Machel and dearly wished to have him permanently removed from the political landscape. Also, many observers have wondered how Samora's pilot could have made the fundamental blunder of simply flying into a mountain - one might suspect, for example, that the plane was sabotaged.Swissjames 20:24, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

If you have any evidence to prove this assertion, be sure to bring it forward, for you will have achieved what a number of commissions of inquiry, the TRC and the efforts of the ANC government have completely failed to do - which is prove South African complicity in Machel's death. The Apartheid regime considered Machel a man with whom they could do business, they had little motive in killing him and possibly facing a more radical successor assuming power. Secondly, how could Machel's plane have been misled by a false beacon while other aircraft in the sky at the time had no problem with finding the correct beacon to Maputo (something which would have been impossible had there been a false beacon). In short, the only conclusion supported by the available evidence is one of pilot error. Despite the generally abhorrent nature of the apartheid regime, the only "evidence" of their complicity is a feeling of: "Well, it must have been them." Sorry, but that's not convincing enough. — Impi 20:42, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
Relax, Impi. I too am South African, and besides, I have already said that I don't have any evidence. I don't mean to besmirch the South African military, which, judging from your personal website, you have some affection for. Until such as time as clear evidence emerges in regard to Machel's death, everyone will believe what he or she chooses to believe. However, I would like to correct you on one point - the apartheid regime was no fan of Machel's and had no use for him. He was a socialist and therefore a deadly enemy! The regime would have gladly replaced him with a puppet leader recruited from the ranks of RENAMO had it been able to. Since I was about your age in 1987, there is a fair chance that I remember the spirit of the times (and the apartheid regime) a little better than you do. I do not mean to say this in a superior way - you are fortunate that you did not have to witness those times, did not have to serve in the SADF, etc. etc. Swissjames 17:33, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
Swissjames, you're misunderstanding my statement. I never said the apartheid regime was a fan of Machel, I said that they had no practical reason to murder him because it was felt that they could negotiate with him (as the Nkomati Accords proved). Those in the apartheid governments of the time were realists, they had no qualms about making deals with a committed socialist like Machel if it served their own interests. As for the SA military, I may indeed have a personal interest in it, but that extends mostly to the current SANDF, and I am NOT in the business of whitewashing history simply because I like (or dislike) something or somebody. The apartheid regime was abhorrent, and its security forces guilty of a number of heinous acts, but that does not automatically mean that they are guilty of all possible crimes. The evidence does not support a claim that South Africa killed Machel, therefore it is incorrect and irresponsible to claim that it did. I don't see how there's any other aspect to this. — Impi 22:52, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
I suggest that User:Impi has a look at Alternative theories into the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, section South-West Africa (Namibia), and the article's references - in particular, Lockerbie trial, a better defence of incrimination; History of Namibia; and, Craig Williamson.
There can be little doubt, from this evidence, and a wealth of other evidence, that the apartheid regime was responsible for the sabotage of Machel's presidential aircraft.Phase1 22:07, 30 November 2005 (UTC)
I suggest you refer to me directly, is there any particular reason you have to use the third person? As for the "sources" you have provided, none of them provide any evidence whatsoever that the apartheid regime killed Samora Machel, so how on earth can you claim that there is little doubt that it did? Really, you will have to do better than that. — Impi 23:19, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

There's none so blind, Impi!Phase1 00:14, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Allow me to finish: As those who refuse to see. Yet, what is there to see in the sources you posted, Phase1? I asked you to highlight some of the evidence you claim is contained therein, but you are evidently incapable of doing so. I'm afraid that doesn't reflect too well on your claim that there is "little doubt" that the apartheid regime killed Machel. Just saying that they were bad and that they could have is no more evidence than blaming your neighbour because your car hit a pothole. Sure, he might dislike you, and he may indeed have been capable of digging a hole in the road in the middle of the night, but that is not evidence that he did it. — Impi 10:22, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
Hi, Impi. Thanks for this response. The link I meant to highlight for you is on the Craig Williamson article, section External links and entitled sabotage of presidential aircraft. There are other sites which deal with South African links to Machel's death, but this one is probably the most objective in the handling of the evidence.Phase1 10:42, 1 December 2005 (UTC)
That source seems suspect, but even so it fails to provide conclusive evidence of any foul play by the South Africans. I also have no idea why it's in the Craig Williamson article, but that's another aspect. All that aside though, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which started virtually from the premise that Machel's death was caused by South Africa, in the end had to conclude that there was no conclusive evidence to support the claim that SA had killed Machel. Why do you continue to claim, contrary to the findings of even the TRC, that there is such conclusive evidence? — Impi 22:52, 3 December 2005 (UTC)
You've moved the goalposts, Impi. I would never claim circumstantial evidence equates to the conclusive evidence that you are seeking: just that the totality of circumstantial evidence stacks up in support of the proposition that apartheid SA did kill Machel. Contrary to what you say, the TRC's investigation into the aircrash did not find conclusive evidence to support either the Margo Commission finding of pilot error or the Soviet theory of the decoy beacon. The TRC did, however, say that the circumstantial evidence they had collected led them to question the conclusions reached by the Margo Commission. Moreover, in relation to the "false beacon" and "the absence of a warning from the South African authorities", the TRC report says "the matter requires further investigation by an appropriate structure". That's a recipe for plenty of heated debate, but is unlikely to produce the required conclusive evidence.Phase1 15:25, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
I have not moved the goalposts. My requirement in the beginning was for evidence which could prove South African complicity in Machel's death, and as that would require the existence of conclusive evidence, neither my position nor my requirement can be said to have shifted. As for the TRC, it went into the investigation virtually from the premise that Machel was murdered, and still failed to find conclusive evidence that he was, despite receiving access to all witnesses and records. Its statement therefore that the matter required further investigation was, to be honest, a cop-out, a measure to allow the ANC government to reinvestigate the matter ad nauseum, and a refusal to say outright that there was no proof that the SA government of the time killed Machel. Incidentally, does it not strike you as rather unusual that while certain government officials have made the claim that they believe that the Apartheid regime killed Machel, not a single additional investigation has been undertaken? To me, that looks like the actions of a government that wishes to uphold the myth of Machel's slaying, whilst avoiding the hurdle of actually proving it. Now, does this mean that the Apartheid government was made up of saints who never did bad things? Of course not, there is more than enough conclusive evidence of their wrongdoing in other matters. And so while it is accurate to speak of their blame in those matters, it is inaccurate to claim as you do that the Apartheid government murdered Samora Machel when you have nothing but flimsy circumstantial evidence to build your case on. — Impi 01:10, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Hi again, Impi. You originally asked Swissjames for any evidence to support his assertion. Now, it seems only the conclusive variety will do. I am not a lawyer, nor I guess are you, but I reckon most criminal cases are built upon circumstantial evidence. There is rarely a smoking gun in the courtroom, unless of course the prisoner actually shoots the judge! So we have to work with the evidence we've got. Now some, but not all, of the circumstantial evidence of apartheid South Africa's involvement in Machel's death is set out clearly in paragraph's 31 to 45 of the TRC report. If you would care to sift through just this TRC evidence, paragraph by paragraph, I should be grateful if you could point out to me which of it you would define as "flimsy".Phase1 12:04, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Hear, hear, Phase1. You are quite right to remind us that I was challenged to produce any evidence to support my claim. You have pointed us in the direction of circumstantial evidence as contained in the section of the TRC document you specify. Surely this qualifies as evidence, even if it is not conclusive evidence of the sort Impi demands. What do you say, Impi? Has Phase1 not met your challenge (originally aimed at me) to bring forward 'any' evidence? I suppose, however, that there is no point in getting too excited about this. Ultimately, we will probably have to conclude that we cannot exclude any version of events for lack of proof. For example, the failure of various commissions to prove apartheid regime complicity in Machel's death does not present conclusive evidence that it was not involved. Until incontrovertible evidence emerges, I will retain the right to harbour, and to air, my suspicions. To quote Shakespeare: “Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long.” These words from The Merchant of Venice, II, ii, 79 Swissjames 20:19, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Actually, I said: "If you have any evidence to prove this assertion..." Proof requires conclusive evidence, and so once again my position hasn't changed. Your comments about the requirement of any evidence are therefore a straw-man argument and irrelevant. As for the TRC's evidence, it is maddeningly vague, and much of it is second-hand reporting, such as Graca Machel claiming about a plot discussed in Malawi to kill Samora Machel, when she could not have attended said meeting, and Abdul Minty reporting on what SAAF members said, without there being direct testimony from whichever SAAF members it was. And neither Graca Machel nor Minty could be said to be objective relayers of information in this matter.
That said, I have never said outright that SA did not kill Machel, I have merely stated from the beginning that there is absolutely no conclusive evidence to prove that it did, and therefore to claim outright that he was murdered by the Apartheid regime is an inaccurate statement that is unsupported by what available evidence exists. So why not add a sentence to the article which states that it is widely suspected that SA killed Machel, but that there is no conclusive evidence? — Impi 23:09, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Such an addition would be superfluous since the article already states: "The TRC's investigation did not find conclusive evidence to support either of the two earlier reports." That is, neither pilot error nor SA killing Machel. But I'd still like to hear which circumstantial evidence in paragraphs 31 to 45 of the TRC report you regard as "flimsy."Phase1 00:37, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

The statement could do with more prominent placement, making it clear that the position most often claimed is not supported by any conclusive evidence. As for the circumstantial evidence, I regard all such evidence as inherently flimsy in the absence of conclusive evidence, which is why you cannot convict a man for murder based on circumstantial evidence alone. — Impi 10:09, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
At which point, I give up!Phase1 20:56, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
To be honest, I am also growing tired of this debate, particularly of the strident tone it has taken since the outset. I will take Impi's advice and add a line to the article. This is the only concession he/she is prepared to make, it seems, and so there seems to be little point in further discussion. Swissjames 20:54, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

"There are layers of secrets to South African history that no one seems to want to dig up any more. Take for instance, the hi-tech murder of the president of Mozambique, who died in a deliberately created plane crash." This opinion, quoted from is of course just an opinion, and will naturally be dismissed by the high-minded among us as frivolous and totally lacking a comforting factual basis. I herewith apologise in advance to such high-minded colleagues and engage forthwith in self-flagellation. Ouch! Swissjames 16:20, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm with you, Swissjames, but can't bear the pain of flagellation: self or otherwise!Phase1 21:11, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
You know, if your intent is to provide more evidence that contradicts my statements, it would probably serve your cause better to not quote a mere columnist, especially not one so notorious for his wild theories and statements as Ian Fraser... — Impi 17:02, 4 January 2006 (UTC)
Dear Impi, no-one can fault you for your commitment to distinguising fact from fiction. However, to appreciate my last entry, an understanding of irony might also be valuable to you. Just to point you in the right direction, I did not really flagellate myself, neither did I pretend that Fraser was a definitive source of information. Furthermore, you are clearly wrong to expect anyone to provide immediate and verifiable proof to substantiate statements made here. Such a condition stifles discussion and renders it pointless, and this is not a court of law where, for example, the SA government is innocent until proven guilty. This is a discussion page started on my initiative, but your restrictive attitude is threatening to nip constructive debate on this matter in the bud. Why discuss anything if the facts are already clear? Swissjames 21:30, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
Oh, I picked up the irony, I just chose to ignore it and focus instead on your serious attempt to counter my position with the rantings of Mr Fraser. As for the charge that I am stifling debate, I hardly think requiring a set standard for evidence does that. Indeed, I have approached this discussion from the beginning in terms of what can or cannot be inserted into the article, for that is the intended purpose of an article's discussion page. Besides, I hardly think it's expected in any serious constructive debate for one side to introduce unsupported statements and expect to not be called on those by others. Incidentally, I'm curious as to what you would define as 'constructive criticism' in the context of this page. Would it be debate in which unsupported statements were accepted at face value only? — Impi 22:37, 12 January 2006 (UTC)
Clearly not, we should not accept any opinion at face value. I have never imagined that my opinions should be uncritically accepted. What bothers me is your apparent assumption of the moral higher ground. Seeing as you cannot prove that Samora Machel was not assassinated, I find it high-handed of you to dismiss statements to the contrary out of hand. And my goodness, seeing as my quoting Mr Fraser was combined with threats of self-flagellation, that was hardly a serious effort to provide evidence to counter your argument. Delete it if you wish! Swissjames 12:47, 13 January 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I see where you're coming from. I suppose I did jump on you a bit too quickly and I have perhaps been unnecessarily harsh and strident. So I apologise for that. It's a side effect from being involved in too many pointless edit wars against radical POV-pushers that one becomes far more suspicious of all users than is warranted, I guess. So yeah, I can't prove that Samora Machel wasn't killed by the Apartheid regime, and I never intended to make it seem that I could. My position is rather that as there is no evidence that the Apartheid regime did kill him, it would be wrong of us to insert wording into the article that suggests that it is in any way certain that he was murdered. So, peace? — Impi 15:31, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

Good on you, Impi, for this enlightened entry. Let us indeed have a (well-earned) peace! With hindsight, our debate has been far from pointless, since we have come to a better understanding of our respective positions. You are quite right to resist insertions into the article for ideological reasons, and one hopes all serious Wikipedians would do the same. Let's hope that one day the truth of the matter will come to light, and that Machel may finally be laid to rest in a political and perhaps spiritual sense. Swissjames 21:03, 17 January 2006 (UTC)

samora machel[edit]

Hi people

i am a mozambican and per chance i came to this dialogue about our beloved lider. But it was not always like this, for me. I have the privileg to be one among many that had the chance to know him personnally. Being a youngster, innocent and blind over political matters, i ( we, most of upper the class in the mocambican society ) ,didnt like him. Effects of colonial influence, he was just an nurse, some even say he was just an simple nurses helper, never mind! Time passed by, ione grows and lives in "exile" - lovely Europe...and then one learns that the only thing that matters in this World,is money. No is just money!....and therefore i learned to love Samora Moisés Machel, because he loved his people,he really loved us! To discuss who killed him or not is a never ending story, we would know it if the ones who did it repent, otherwise... I went through all suppossitions ( allow me to call it so and apologise my english, it is my best!- hope just to make myself understandable )and i agree with all of you to a certain point. for example,one one says that there is no logic in believing the SA forces did kill him because they had him as a partner to talk and some insiders were at the time aware of the sensible situation....i fully agree with that. Samora was a loyal person,with is vision and principles that made him the best "enemy"- at the end danger comes only from those you believe to be your friends! When one says that that they did it, i also agree; because there might had been inside the "SA team" enough people that would never want to accept a change....equal rights. I dont want to enter exaustive analises. At my point of view, Samora was killed by a group of people that still around scoring their was possible because on mocambican side there was support! Xidaqua 13:15, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Zambez1a (talk) 21:19, 16 July 2008 (UTC)Zambez1a July 16 2008 I added references to other prominent politicians in Mozambique (Mondlane, dos Santos, Simango). The former was executed by Samora's regime, along with Gwambe and Gumane. This additional factual information is not intended to denigrate Samora Machel's legacy, but to give a more realistic picture of his rise to power.

I live in Canada. I was hiking in the mountains where Samora Machel's plane crashed - our group of hikers saw it go down over a little hill. Let's see how quickly this page gets shut down - unless times really have changed ... Immediately after the crash the south african military "appeared" from the bushes and were at the crash site within MINUTES. We watched from a little outcrop of bushes and an overhang about 100 meters away. I also recognized one of the paramedics from the South African military - originally from Johannesburg- yes RA I am talking about you if you ever decide to visit this site when your memories keep you up at night. When I confronted him years later he said to forget everything - that I must be mistaken about what I saw, which was a strange comment considering he knows I saw him there. So here's my OPINION - this was not an accident and if it was, what was the SADF doing in the bushes at the same time as the crash? Were they there by coincidence or ensuring that Samora was in fact deceased? I do remember seeing about 12 men. Unfortunately I was quite young at the time so did not know anything about making notes, collecting evidence etc. but it has troubled me for many many years and I have never been able to put this to rest and hopefully one day the truth will be revealed by someone, sometime who knows more than I do.GFRichardson (talk) 04:06, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

WP is not censored. However kindly note that this is not a discussion forum - the purpose of this page is exclusively to discuss improvements to the article. I also take this opportunity to refer you to WP's policy on verifiability. Thank you. Socrates2008 (Talk) 08:36, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

"The Most LIkely Explanation"  ???[edit]

Toward the end of the section on Machel's change of attitude toward the Portuguese comes a sentence that begins with the clause, "The most likely explanation is ...."

And there are no shrill cries, anguished screams, etc. about POV, original research, or all those other terrible things that go bump in the night?? Why not??

Terry J. Carter (talk) 19:50, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

Camp deaths[edit]

I have some doubts about the number of 30,000 deaths in the re-education camps. As a source for this number, the article refers to an article by Geoff Hill in the South-African newspaper The Star, which I don't have access to. I've looked at a number of sources in Portuguese, including some rather strong anti-Frelimo ones, and I couldn't find a number of deaths there. I have the feeling that if the death toll were this high, it would be documented by a number of independent sources. I'd like to see a better source for this number. LeRoc (talk) 18:56, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

(For further information: the diff where this statement was added is here.) LeRoc (talk) 19:20, 24 August 2015 (UTC)