Maputo, 28 Sep (AIM) – The President of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), the country’s second largest opposition party, Lutero Simango, has accused the Mozambican Police (PRM) of detaining illegally seven MDM members.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, in Beira, Simango said the police had arrested Marcelino Manhaze, the party’s Sofala Provincial Delegate, and Ricardo Sola, the MDM Beira city delegate.
Beira is a key battleground in the current campaign ahead of the municipal elections scheduled for 11 October. The city has been run by the opposition since 2003 – first by Renamo, and then by the MDM. The MDM’s founder, Daviz Simango, Lutero’s brother, was mayor of Beira from 2003 until his death in February 2021.
The other five MDM members were arrested in Chiúre Municipality, Cabo Delgado province. Simango named them as Feliciano Vasco, Inácio Almeida, Filomena Ussene, Adriando António and Alberto Raul. They were arrested for the trivial offence of flyposting propaganda material a few minutes before the official start of the election campaign.
“We condemn the way the police are acting. We are dealing with a police force that is not republican, but partisan, acting under the command of the Frelimo party. Sorry, but we’re not going to back down, they are not going to stop us”, said Simango.
This is the second time Ricardo Sola has been arrested in less than a month. The first arrest took place on 31 August, after he denounced the illicit collection of voter cards by members of the Frelimo party.
According to the Election Bulletin issued by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), Frelimo has been using state vehicles in its campaign, although the law clearly forbids the use of state-owned assets for party political activities. CIP identified state vehicles used by Frelimo in Manhica, Xai-Xai, Maxixe and Gondola municipalities. In some cases, posters were stuck over the number plates to avoid identifying the vehicle.
According to Thursday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Carta de Mozambique”, Frelimo also used privately and publicly owned bus fleets to ferry supporters to campaign events in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola, on Tuesday, the first day of the campaign. This deprived thousands of people of the bus services they normally use to go home after work.
The use of buses owned by the municipalities for campaign events is clearly illegal. As for the private buses, Castigo Nhamane, the chairperson of Fematro (Mozambican Federation of Road Transport Associations), said he did not know of any agreement between the cooperatives that own the buses and Frelimo.