Mozambique Political Process Bulletin 68 – Gaza observation leader gunned down


Source: 2019 General Elections – Mozambique Political Process Bulletin

Election observation leader gunned down in Gaza

An election observation leader and civil society activist in Gaza, Anastacio Matavel. was assassinated this morning as he left an election observer training sessions in the Titiana Complex of neighbourhood 11, Xai-Xai. Matavel was shot 10 times, our correspondents report.

The hit squad escaped at high speed in a Toyota Mark X car with the ADE 127 MC number plate. The car was then involved in a crash with two other cars on EN1, and two of the gunmen died on the scene, and one sustained minor injuries. Two others fled. In the vehicle were found pistols and AK47-type assault rifles.

The shooting took place about 11 am and Matavel was immediately transported to Gaza Provincial Hospital where he died at 1 pm.

He had opened a training session for election observers organized by the Civil Society Learning Center (CESC) and the NGO League in Mozambique (JOINT) .

Murder of the most senior civil society observation leader by an organized death squad is a major escalation of attempts to prevent civil society monitoring of the election. Gaza is a particular focus of attempts to prevent observation because of claims that 300,000 ghost voters were added to the electoral roll. The observers want to see if the ghosts vote. In other provinces, thousands of observers have been refused credentials and could be unable to observe.

Anastacio Matavele was Executive Director of the Gaza Non-Governmental Organizations Forum (FONGA) and Coordinator of the Peace Room (Sala da Paz) Crisis Office. He was a well-known active voice of civil society, a defender of the human rights of disadvantaged populations
Investigative journalist Lazaro Mabunda on his Facebook page alleges that the hit squad was from the FIR (riot police) Special Operations Group. There is no corroboration for Mabunda’s report. But he adds that one of the dead is the son of a Xai-Xai police officer. It will be hard to keep secret the identify of the two dead members of the hit squad.

CIP condemns murder of Anastacio Matavele as attack on observation

“The murder of Anastacio Matavele is a direct attack not only on this citizen and his family, but also on all civil society organizations and individuals working on independent electoral observation. CIP condemns this macabre act and demands a public statement by Frelimo candidate and President Filipe Nyusi, repudiating the electoral violence that has been taking place throughout the country since the beginning of the election campaign,” declared the Public Integrity Centre (CIP), publishers of this bulletin, this afternoon.

Since the beginning of the election campaign, violence has been reported, many of Frelimo supporters attacking the opposition. CIP considers that the leadership of Frelimo, and also of the Government, has through its silence become an accomplice in legitimizing the violence.

“Frelimo leaders, who are the government, have been complicit in the face of violence in the election campaign and this can be seen as approving these practices. It’s time for Frelimo to vehemently condemn the violence,” adds CIP.

“The vehicle used for the attack was seized and some of the murderers arrested, so it is now much easier to identify the perpetrators of the macabre crime – including those who are morally responsible. Therefore, speedy justice is required,” says CIP.

Renamo accuses Frelimo of sabotaging Momade campaign by closing airstrips

Renamo presidential candidate Ossufo Momade was unable to conduct an election campaign in four districts of Manica because his plane was not allowed to land at local airfields. Renamo delegate and Manica head of list Alfredo Magumisse accuses the public company, Airports of Mozambique, of sabotaging the Ossufo Momade campaign on Frelimo’s orders, by closing airstrips to prevent the candidate from arriving in those districts.

“The regime has shut down Machaze, Mossurize, Barue, Manica and Sussundenga airfields, leaving only Chimoio and Mucombedzi open,” Magumisse told reporters today (October 7) in Chimoio.

The Renamo presidential candidate had been campaigning by car but suddenly changed and decided to use a plane. Safety reasons are said to be behind the change. Manica is one of the provinces targeted for attacks by the Renamo Military Junta, which disputes the leadership of Ossufo Momade and demands the postponement of elections and renegotiation of the Government-Renamo Peace Agreement.

Ossufo Momade had been scheduled to visit the province of Manica on 4 and 5 October but only managed to visit the city of Chimoio on 5 October, and Renamo supporters in other districts were left disappointed. Momade travelled to central Manica after campaigning in several districts of southern Inhambane and Gaza provinces (See Bulletin 64). In Manica, Ossufo managed to campaign only in the city of Chimoio. Renamo supporters awaiting the arrival of their candidate in some districts were disappointed. (See Bulletin 67).

Momade held a rally in Chimoio on October 5, and then headed for Sofala province, where he is working now.

Other election news

Two Renamo supporters were arrested on  4 and 7 October in Dondo, Sofala, allegedly for destroying Frelimo posters. Those targeted were spotted by police in the central neighborhood on National Highway 6 and arrested, our correspondents report.
A Renamo caravan was stoned Monday (7 October) in Mocone neighborhood, Nacala Porto, Nampula. At least 12 Renamo supporters were injured, one seriously.
MDM delegate Jorge Alberto Tovela was released 3 October. He had been detained on 21 September at the Ilha de Inhaca Police Station, Maputo,. Tovela is charged with being involved in an assault case against Frelimo supporters, but can await trial at home.
Dondo police are finally providing an escort for MDM parades and corteges, a week after MDM supporters assaulted the police commander. He was attacked during a show hosted by Florindo Nyusi, son of Frelimo presidential candidate Filipe Nyusi (See Bulletin 62). The MDM members initially approached the policeman to demand that he make police available to accompany MDM caravans (as they do for Frelimo) and the confrontation became violent.
Renamo accuses Frelimo of preparing fraud in Monapo, Nampula, by building shelters for polling stations at schools, notably Monapo Sede, Napala, Age-Nur and Mulutine primary schools. Apparently intended to provide shelter for polling station staff where there are not enough classrooms for all the polling stations, Pedro Florencio, Renamo’s Monapo mobilization chief, says “the shelters are already ready and they have locked the doors waiting for polling day to then control the polling stations and facilitate the theft of votes.”
To attend the Frelimo-hosted Filipe Nyusi football tournament, dozens of students have been taken out of school. The tournament takes place all over the country. In Muembe, Niassa, dozens of students from Chincono Secondary School say they were forced to travel to the Mavago district to participate in the second phase of the tournament, which they alleges is a sporting event that forms part of Frelimo’s campaign as a way to persuade younger voters.

Editor: Joseph Hanlon | Publisher: Edson Cortez | News Editor: Borges Nhamire

Reporters: Aldemiro Bande, Magda Mendonça, Sheila Nhancale, Graciano Claudio, João Machassel
Published by CIP, Centro de Integridade Pública (Public Integrity Centre),
Rua Fernão Melo e Castro, no 124, Maputo.

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