21 March 2014

Mozambique: Police 'Violent' in Areas Where Opposition Competitive - EU Official

During election campaigns Republic of Mozambique Police (PRM) personnel tend to be more violent in areas where opposition parties have a greater probability of winning. That was what happened in the run up to the 20 November 2013 local government elections, with some officers of law and order killing and wounding a number of citizens, notably in the districts of Quelimane and Mocuba.

That is the perception of Joao Duarte de Carvalho, counsellor to EU in Mozambique. He made those remarks during a meeting to make a balance of the fourth local government elections in Maputo on 20 March. The meeting was attended by National Elections Commission (CNE) Chairman Abdul Carimo.

From Duarte de Carvalho's point of view, the role of police must be to assure order and security during elections and not to interfere in the process. He cautio! ned, however, that "unfortunately we were confronted with situations involving arbitrary detentions of opposition party delegates who were not set free before the vote was counted even though they were supposed to enjoy immunity, a principle that is central to the transparency and credibility of electoral proceedings."

He said that the EU observer mission to the 20 November 2013 local government elections found that PRM personnel behaved discreetly in most cases, apart from areas where competition and tension were keener. In spite of that, he found that "the presence of the Rapid Intervention Force (FIR) on election day can be considered to be excessive. Its performance led to the excessive use of force in some areas, causing a number of citizens to be killed or wounded."

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