Maputo, 13 Sep (AIM) – The Public Prosecutor’s Office, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, on Tuesday asked the provincial court to impose the maximum prison sentence on a police officer accused of inciting collective disobedience and attempting a coup d’état.
The defendant, a member of the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) (the Mozambican equivalent of the riot police), is accused of sending messages via social media (Whatsapp) mobilising other members of the force to rebel against wage arrears and threatening to “remove the Commander-in-Chief (President Filipe Nyusi) from Ponta Vermelha” (the official residence of the head of state), as well as “to paralyse the country.”
“So that others, who use social networks, don’t spread messages that promote coups d’état, we ask for a sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment”, said the prosecutor, Maurílio de Sousa, cited by the German agency DW-Africa. The report did not name the police officer.
In addition to the maximum sentence, the prosecution asked for compensation of 500,000 meticais (7,800 US dollars, at the current exchange rate) in favour of the state.
During the trial, the defendant said he was not the author of the message, arguing that he only forwarded it to the General Commander of the Police, Bernardino Rafael, with the intention of alerting him.
“I only received the message and, as a member of the police, who has sworn to defend national sovereignty, as soon as I saw it I forwarded it to the General Commander. I’m not the author of the message”, said the defendant.
The application of the new Single Wage Table (TSU) in the public administration has been causing discontentment among the police, since members of the Defence and Security Forces have been facing delays in wage payments of at least two months.
According to previous information from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the delays in paying the salaries of the Defence and Security Forces are due to registration problems in the new payment system, taking into account the migration to the single system that began in June, replacing the previous system under which wages were channeled through the Interior and Defence Ministries.
On 11 August, President Nyusi, demanded an urgent solution to the delays and discrepancies due to the application of the TSU, warning that the timely payment of wages “is sacred” and that he will not tolerate “excuses”.
The TSU was approved in 2022 in order to eliminate asymmetries and keep the state wage bill under control in the medium term, but the start-up caused wages in the public administration to skyrocket by around 36 per cent, from an expenditure of 11.6 billion meticais/month (181.6 million dollars/month) to 15.8 billion meticais/month
The verdict and sentence in the police officer’s trial will be announced on 27 September.