18 February 2013

Mozambique: District Administrator Defends Ban On Activist

Maputo — The administrator of Barue district, in the central Mozambican province of Manica, Joaquim Zefanias, has defended his illegal decision to ban a civil society activist, Rangel Mairoce, from all work in the district connected to the Civil Society Platform, of which Mairoce is the Barue coordinator.

Interviewed in Monday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, Zefanias claimed that Mairoce had insulted him and did not respect local government bodies.

“While I have the power to give orders here, that’s what I shall do”, Zefanias said.

“At no point am I going to allow a citizen like Rangel to disturb my work. I am not going to allow him to call me and the people who work with me fdp”. (“Fdp” stands for “filho de puta”, literally “son of a whore”, and it is a singularly unpleasant Portuguese insult).

“He goes around insulting the District Attorney and I, as District Administrator, am not going to allow that”, he added.

Furthermore, the Administrator alleged that, far from undertaking civic activities, Mairoce “spends his time doing politics”.

He confirmed that he had told Mairoce that he could not undertake any more activities or the Civil Society Platform in Barue, precisely because “he disrespects the local authorities, including people he says he works with”.

Asked whether he has the power to ban Mairoce from working, Zefanias replied “Do you think I’m going to carry on listening to insults from somebody like Rangel?

He’s a scoundrel. He’s just wasting the money from MASC (Civil Society Support Mechanism). I’m not going to tolerate this because, instead of educating the public, he is defaming people and talking politics”.

But was this not interference in the operations of civil society, the paper asked.

“I’m the Administrator, and as long as I am here, he’s not going to work”, was the blunt answer.

“In all the meetings he just speaks ill of people”, added Zefanias. “He says nobody can do anything to him because he has big chiefs in Maputo. Now I want to see who is this chief of his who tells him to disrespect the local bodies”.

Contacted by “Mediafax”, Mairoce said he is still waiting for a reply to the letter he sent in late January to Manica Provincial Governor, Ana Comoane, complaining of what he regarded as the arrogant, unjust and illegal behaviour of Zefanias.

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