Maputo, 19 Mar (AIM) – Samora Machel Junior (“Samito”), son of Mozambique’s first President, Samora Machel, has condemned the police attacks on Saturday against peaceful demonstrators attempting to honour the memory of the country’s most prominent rap artist, Edson da Luz (better known by his stage name, Azagaia), who died on 9 March.
In a text widely distributed on Mozambican social media, Samito wrote “We have witnessed on the streets of several cities acts of unjustifiable violence against defenceless citizens, perpetrated by members of the defence and security forces, who violated the constitutional definition of Mozambique as a democratic state ruled by law, based on pluralism of opinion and of expression”.
They had violated their constitutional duty “to guarantee respect for the rule of law and guarantee strict observance of the fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens”.
This, he added, was “a betrayal of the fundamental values and principles” of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party, “a betrayal of the glorious traditions of the Mozambique Liberation Front in defence of the interests of the Mozambican people, and a betrayal of Frelimo as the Party of Peace and Dialogue”.
He recalled that the Frelimo Statutes declare “we want a stable and prosperous society, in which peace, democracy, equality, social justice and respect for universal human rights reign”.
Saturday’s violence was “above all, a betrayal of our mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers, sisters and brothers, who gave their lives for national independence, so that the sons and daughters of this country can always live in freedom, and so that, to quote our national anthem, no tyrant may enslave us again”.
“The Mozambique we are seeing on the streets of our cities today is not the Mozambique we proclaimed at zero hours on 25 June 1975” (the date of independence), warned Samito.
“For the memory of those who dared to fight, for the memory of Josina and Samora (his parents), it is our duty as members of Frelimo to defend our democratic constitution and rescue the traditional values and principles of Frelimo to give the generations of today and tomorrow a better country”.
The human rights organization Amnesty International has also denounced the repression of Saturday’s marches. Amnesty’s Deputy Director for East and Southern Africa, Emerlynn Gill, said “The Mozambican police’s heavy-handed response to these peaceful demonstrations, including beating up protesters with baton sticks, causing them injuries, is an outrageous act of unfortunate policing against these defenseless protesters”.
“There’s no doubt that police were aiming to suppress the demonstrations, with the intention of belittling Azagaia’s legacy in Mozambique”, Gill added. “The police’s actions, seen beating up protesters in videos supplied to Amnesty International and shared on social media, are a disturbing pattern of reckless and unlawful tactics against people during the protests”.
“Police must refrain from further targeting protesters, including arbitrarily arresting them and engaging in retaliatory violence against the peaceful protesters”, Gill urged. “Authorities must swiftly investigate police who arrested people in Maputo and subjected them to beating and ensure that they are brought to account for violating the human rights of protesters including international law.”