Source: 2019 General Elections – Mozambique Political Process Bulletin
Police favour Frelimo in election campaign
Since the beginning of the election campaign our correspondents across the country have reported cases of lack of impartiality, overzealousness and inaction by police officers, always favouring Frelimo.
In Gurue, Zambezia, a Renamo supporter was brutally beaten by two police officers on his way back from campaign activities, allegedly for not carrying his ID card on the afternoon of September 14. Walking without an ID card is not a crime.
In Balama district, Cabo Delgado, police officers escorting the Frelimo caravan on Wednesday (18 September) in the village of Mualia witnessed a case of aggression by Frelimo sympathizers against a Renamo supporter at his business, which displayed Renamo posers. Police officers on the scene did not intervene to stop the victim from being beaten.
In Mutarara district, Tete, two Renamo supporters were injured and evacuated to Inhangoma Health Post for hospital care after being beaten by Frelimo supporters during the election campaign on Tuesday, 17 September. The police witnessed the assaults. The case was referred to the Mutarara District Prosecutor’s Office for follow-up and there are no detainees, although
Police head transferred for not backing Frelimo
The head of the police operations command in Macossa district, Manica, Francisco Patricio, was removed from office and transferred to the provincial capital, Chimoio, after protests from Freimo. “I have no information on the reasons for my removal,” said Patricio.
But our correspondents’ investigation shows the removal of the agent comes after a series of complaints from senior Frelimo members that he escorted a Renamo caravan campaigning in the district.
On 10 September, Frelimo and Renamo parades met on the Mucombedzi bridge in the district. At the time, Particio, the senior officer on the scene, gave Renamo’s caravan priority to cross. Frelimo supporters accused him of serving Renamo interests.
Two days later, Patrick was advised to resign by the provincial police commander, the Director of Public Order in Manica, due to alleged pressure from the provincial Frelimo committee.
“Renamo asked for protection and I just did my duty,” said Patricio. “I did everything I could to make things not go wrong. Am I to be sacrificed for it?” he added.
The head of the operations command also allegedly refused an order from Frelimo to remove opposition flags and posters from the Macossa village market. “I did nothing wrong, I acted in accordance with the law,” said Patricio.
At the beginning of the campaign, the police nationally promised escorts for all party parades. But our correspondents report widespread refusals to provide a escort. “Our caravan moves without police support even after we have handed our program to the police authorities,” Renamo’s delegate in Manica district told this Bulletin. In Gaza’s Bilene district, police refuse to escort MDM caravans when requested by the party, district party delegate Leonardo Macave told the Bulletin.
In Morrumbene, Inhambane district, MDM and Renamo have not been escorted by police during the campaign. Meanwhile, while traveling around the localities, Frelimo caravans are accompanied by 4 police officers.
Frelimo supporters try to intimidate our correspondents
Three correspondents of this newsletter, two duly accredited by provincial elections commissions as national observers of the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), were bullied for their work over the past week, in the districts of Chigubo, Gaza; Mulevala, Zambezia; and Tambara, Manica. Two had the mobile phones they use in their work taken.
In Chigubo, Gaza, our correspondent was beaten and his mobile phone taken and given to the police. After presenting the police with a credential, his mobile phone was given back to him, but with police orders not to cover the Frelimo campaign. Subsequent death threats to our accredited correspondent were sufficiently serious that he was forced to leave his house.
In Tambara, our accredited correspondent was summoned on Friday (20 September) for a hearing at the Tambara district police station, accused by Frelimo of being a Renamo informant. In his defence, the journalist presented his observer credential and explained the scope of his activities. On Tuesday (17 September) he had been banned from covering the Frelimo campaign by the party committee secretary Armindo Baulene who told him that “if I continue to cover Frelimo I will be arrested or my family will regret it.”
In Mulevala, Zambezia, Frelimo members confiscated a Bulletin correspondent’s cell phone as he was taking pictures of pamphlets at the market in the district’s village town, and was later warned by the police. CIP sent a lawyer to try to retrieve the phone and to follow up the case. The Zambezia Provincial Election Commission (CPE) has not responded to the requests by CIP for the issuance of credentials. But even without credential, there are no legal restrictions against anyone taking pictures in a market.
In all cases, Frelimo supporters accuse CIP observers of being “Renamo spies” without providing evidence. CIP correspondents have been covering the campaign of all political parties, exposing the irregularities practiced by all.
Nampula still not issuing credentials for observers
Our 70 Nampula correspondents spread across 23 districts of Nampula province, are struggling to gain accreditation to cover the entire electoral process. More than two weeks into the Election Campaign, the Electoral Bodies Press Center (CPE and STAE) has not yet commented on the letter submitted to the Provincial Election Commission on 21 May this year. The head of the Nampula correspondents team was advised by Press Centre Chief Josina Taipo not to talk about CIP or credentials again, for reasons she declined to disclose.
At a press conference held last Tuesday (17), Albertino Luis, CPE’s spokesman said that only 102 journalists from a total of 145 media professionals have been accredited so far.
Car crash kills 3 in Nampula
Three people died and eight were injured as a result of a car accident on Saturday (21 September) in Nampula. The car involved in the accident was heading towards Ribaue and was carrying 8 musicians to a Frelimo show in the district. The incident took place a few meters from the Namiconha bridge. Behind the car was a motorcycle driven by police officers who were in the company of a woman, and both police officers were killed.
Our electoral campaign-related death records indicate 27 deaths so far, including 15 in Nampula. Of these, three are police officers escorting Frelimo caravans.
Fight over water source results in 23 injured and burned houses
At least 23 people were injured and two homes partially burned in a fight in the Matalane neighborhood, Nacala Porto, perhaps as a result of a water source dispute between Frelimo and Renamo supporters or perhaps because a Renamo parade was stoned Thursday afternoon (19 September). Three of the victims, Frelimo supporters, were hospitalized, one receiving intensive care at the local hospital.
Two women said to be Renamo supporters, were arrested on charges of setting fire to the neighbourhood secretary’s residence. Renamo political delegate in Nacala Gildo Ernesto Muquera said none of the detainees is a member of his party., but “Six members of our party were injured in the incident.”
One version of events is that Renamo supporters were banned from drinking water from a public pump by a Frelimo neighbourhood secretary Matalane.
Frelimo’s Faustino Loja says this was not true, but admitted “Renamo’s parade intersected with a group of young people who were playing ball and started throwing stones at the parade.
Police in Nacala-Porto declined to comment on what happened. At the time of the confusion, Renamo’s caravan was accompanied by six police officers, who watched the confusion unfold but did nothing.
Insurgents attack again and threaten Macomia elections
Insurgents again attacked Quiterajo, Macomia district, Cabo Delgado. The attack Wednesday (18 September) started around 7 pm and lasted until 4 am Thursday. In about 10 hours, 6 people were murdered and 10 abducted. In addition, huts built after the last attack on 10 September were reduced to ashes and families were again displaced. The attackers’ message is that they do not want people to reside there, which means there will be no elections in that region.
At the opening of the election campaign, Police General Commander Bernardino Rafael assured that the police would defend the attack zones to allow for election campaign and quiet elections. But since the campaign began 20 days ago, 6 attacks have been confirmed, an average of one attack every 3 days.
Quiterajo is one of the four administrative posts of Macomia. Chai and Macomia Sede are situated in the interior, along the main road N 308. Mucojo and Quiterajo are in the coastal zone and are the most populated regions of the district; they have been seriously affected by both the cyclone and attacks.
Quiterajo is besieged in the coastal zone, with people unable to reach the district capital, Macomia Sede, about 50 kilometers inland. The only alternative that the population has found to leave the region is to use small fishing boats, but in Wednesday’s attack the insurgents set fire to the vessels that the population uses to leave the area of attacks.
The Government has not been assisting people to leave the attack zones as it argues that they should stay and defence and security forces would be in the villages. But the response from government forces has been too weak to stop the insurgents.
Macomia has registered 53,000 people for the October 15 elections; it elects 3 of the 82 seats in the Cabo Delgado Provincial Assembly.
New study: An excellent study on the insurgency in Cabo Delgado by Saide Habibe, Salvador Forquilha and Joao Pereira was published Tuesday (in Portuguese) by the Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Economicos (IESE). It notes the attempt to stop voting in the elections, and cites the importance of Quiterajo in the illegal timber trade. It is available on http://bit.ly/IESE-CaboDelgado
Renamo supporters kidnapped in Manica
A husband and wife, both Renamo supporters, were reported missing at dawn on Thursday in the village of Magotha in Tambara district of Manica. Neighbors of the couple told the Bulletin that on the morning of the previous day the missing people refused to receive the district administrator, Luis Lourenco, when he was campaigning door-to-door for Frelimo.
“At 2 am we heard a strange noise in the residence and thought it was fight between a married couple, but it wasn’t. When we went to the place today at 6am we found the door open, the house was disorganized and our neighbours were not there,” said a neighbour of the couple.
The neighbours reported the disappearance to community leaders who referred it to the police. During the military-political hostilities between the government and Renamo, some supporters of that party in Manica were kidnapped by strangers.
Renamo reports threats and attacks in Nampula
Strangers partially destroyed the home of a Renamo supporter while he was in the campaign activities in the village of Niosi, Malema district, Nampula, on Wednesday evening (18 September). The ceiling was removed and some walls collapsed.
Renamo members and supporters in the village of Nacuia, Rapale district, Nampula, are being threatened and intimidated by Frelimo, said Renamo district delegate Manuel dos Santo. “On Wednesday (September 18) a considerable number of Renamo members and supporters were prevented from putting up posters by Frelimo members headed by the community leader,” said dos Santos.
Nyusi in the air and Simango in the earth
Filipe Nyusi and Daviz Simango are two engineers and candidates for president who have visited more provinces since the campaign began. But as the Frelimo candidate flies from one province to another, from one district to another, the MDM candidate crosses the country by road, facing the precarious dirt roads.
Simango stopped in Milange, Zambezia, and commented on road number 11 which links the city to Mocuba: “Milange produces and needs to sell its produce, but you can’t even walk on that road.” So Simango promised to improve road conditions if elected.
Frelimo accused of collecting voter cards across the country
Frelimo members and supporters are collecting voters cards for unknown purposes across the country, our correspondents report.
In Vilanculos, Inhambane, citizens report collecting voter cards from pupils and carers by senior teachers at Airport primary school and going to the homes of pupils and collecting voters cards from the pupils and their parents. “Today I was surprised when I saw a group of teachers at my house, and they demanded voter cards. I said no because they couldn’t even explain why,” one student told the Bulletin.
In the district of Mopeia, Zambezia, the principal of the Mopeia General Secondary School forced electoral-age students to hand in voter cards, threatening to fail those who do not comply.
In Dondo district, Sofala, Frelimo members collect voter cards from the population in exchange for donations to cyclone Idai victims at the Mafambisse administrative post, according to the Renamo political delegate, Albano Fernando.
In Vanduzi district, Manica, and Mandimba District, Niassa, Frelimo supporters entice people to register their voter card number on a list in exchange for party shirts and capulanas. The same is true in the district of Muecate, Nampula, where district secretaries move from residence to residence to collect voter cards. Local people are unaware of the reason behind this collection, our correspondents report. Still in the same district, school principals demand teacher voter’s cards at Nkomati EPC and Muititi Elementary School.
In Cuamba district, school principal Josina Machel met with teachers and demanded that they hand over voter cards after telling them to votes for Frelimo.
Frelimo offers land in Matituine to win voters
Frelimo announced last Tuesday that it will distribute 60 plots to people of Matutuine, Maputo province. The pledge was made at a meeting last Tuesday at Frelimo local headquarters. The land in question will be distributed by the district secretaries throughout this week.
The pledge comes at a time when local people are angry at false promises Frelimo made in past elections. And the promise left the population unhappy because there are more than 60 young people without land on which to build their house.
Campaign money creates confusion among Frelimo members
Frelimo supporters in Nicoadala got into an uproar Wednesday morning at the party’s district headquarters, when District Secretary Agostinho Armando said he wanted to use money disbursed by the provincial party secretary. Frelimo Provincial Secretary Paulino Lenco disbursed 50,000 Meticais ($810) for the campaign logistics in the district. Armando said he would use 40,000 MZN ($650) to buy chairs for the meeting room of the district headquarters, and give 5,000 MZM ($80) for the OMM, the Frelimo woman’s group, and the same amount for the OJM, the youth group – who objected to the small amount. Finally it was agreed to distributed 1000 MZM ($16) to Frelimo in each of four localities, Monhunha, Namacata, Nhafuba and Nicoadala.
Arrested for vandalizing Frelimo campaign material
Two campaigners were arrested last week for vandalizing Frelimo party posters. Deputy MDM delegate in Luabo district, Zambezia, Jose Giua, was arrested Monday (16 September) because a supporter of his party reportedly posted an MDM poster over another Frelimo poster. At the time of his arrest Giua was meeting at his party’s headquarters. The delegate was held in the cell at the district police command until was the case was heard Friday at 8 am (20 September) at the district command, and then transferred to the neighbouring district of Chinde. Last week Frelimo supporters in Luabo stuck a poster of their party over another MDM poster but no one was arrested.
In Govuro, Inhambane, a young man was taken to the cells of Govuro district prison on Wednesday (September 18), accused of tearing up Frelimo party leaflets that were glued to trees and power poles. According to Pelagio de Almeida, Head of Police Operations in Govuro, the arrest followed a complaint by someone who passed by and reported the case to the police. Almeida said that an indictment has already been issued.
Since the beginning of the campaign there has been no record of arrests for vandalizing pamphlets of opposition parties.
Fake news & audio
False Renamo dissident threat of new attacks
“In a nutshell, the audio says that Renamo’s military wing, in the person of Mr. [Mariano] Nhongo, contacted Beira City-based Radio Pax warning that his men will start attacking tomorrow, the sections are: INCHOPE – SAVE, INCHOPE – CHIMOIO, INCHOPE – BORDER, INCHOPE – NHAMAPADZA ”.
This quotation circulated last week on social networks, accompanied by an Ndau-language audio, attributed to the self-proclaimed leader of the Renamo Military Junta, Mariano Nhongo, with the claim that is was broadcast by Pax Community Radio, based in Beira.
The message and audio are false, the Catholic church Radio Pax director Father Jose Suade said. He acknowledged an interview with Mariano Nhongo on Wednesday (September 18) but said that at no time did the self-proclaimed leader mention attacks in the areas referred to in the text. The director of the station also said that Nhongo spoke in Portuguese and not in Ndau, as the audio suggests. “Our broadcast is in Portuguese. We do not broadcast in the local language.”
“In the audio of the interview we had with Mr. Nhongo, the information of the text does not appear, much less the audio that circulates on social networks,” said Father Suade.
With support from the National Community Radio Forum (FORCOM), Radio Pax issued a statement on Friday denying that Mariano Nhongo announced attacks in an interview with this broadcaster.
Since the start of the election campaign, several attacks have taken place in the central region of the country. The most recent were in the neighboring district of Gorongosa and Nhamatanda districts, Sofala, and another in the village of Zimpinga in Gondola district, Manica. The latest of the attacks took place on Tuesday, a day before Nhongo spoke to the press.
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),
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