Pope Francis begins a seven-day tour to three African Countries.
Mozambique and part of the Indian zone plagued by poverty, conflict and natural disasters. The “Pope of the poor,” as he is known, will arrive in Maputo this afternoon.
The Mozambican capital has been preparing for days to receive Francisco, 31 years after his last visit.
Over Ten thousand People are waiting to receive the Pope at the huge Zimpeto Stadium in Maputo, the Mozambican capital.
In a video message recorded before the trip began, Pope Francis stressed the need for “fraternal reconciliation in Mozambique and in Africa, the only hope for a solid and lasting peace.”
In Mozambique, the pope is expected to address the country’s fragile peace process, the devastation caused by two cyclones this year and the next general elections. The three-day visit to the country comes one month after the Mozambican government signed a historic peace treaty with the former rebel group Renamo, converted into the main opposition party, although it was never completely disarmed after the war.
The Pope could also address the issue of extremism in northern Mozambique, where jihadist attacks claimed more than 300 lives in two years. This visit will be a good omen for a country in crisis like this.
Jamie tamio a citizen of Mozambique expressed his feeling about the visit. “I think with his arrival things will change, in the sense that we can live in peace again, since we have lived in a constant conflict,” he said.
“Your arrival can bring good things,” he said. Starting on Friday, Francisco will visit the great island of Madagascar, in the Indian Ocean, and his neighbor Mauricio, much smaller.
The choice of traveling to some of the poorest countries in the world is considered an act of solidarity for a religious who was very present in the misery villages of Argentina . During his stay in Mozambique the pontiff will only have time to visit Maputo, to the disappointment of the inhabitants of Beira (center), where the cyclone Idai killed at least 600 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless in March.
In his video message, the Pope anticipated disappointment. “Although I can only go to the capital, my heart joins you and embraces you all, especially those who live in difficulty,” he said.
On the occasion of the exceptional visit of the Pope to this country of Christian majority, the government dedicated, despite the situation, 300,000 euros for the preparations, including the repair of the Cathedral of Maputo and of streets of the capital.