Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

5 May 2014

Mozambique: Mozambican Parliament and the Penal Code - Saga Continues

analysis

Dealing with the Mozambican Parliament and its revision of the Penal Code of 1886 is like weeding your garden. You pull out a bunch of weeds today, only to find a dozen sprouting in a different place tomorrow.

On Saturday 26 April, rushing before a month's recess in May, Parliament sent a newly revised version of the Penal Code to women's rights activists. The collective blood pressure rose as the recipients read chapter 9 on domestic violence.

More on chapter 9 later, though. First the good news and a bit of background.

At the end of March, the women's movement scored a big victory when they persuaded lawmakers to pull out some really bad, backward articles. The worst was that the rapist of a girl under 12 years of age would go free if he married her and stayed married for five years.

But, of 27 contested articles, only five were changed.

On Wednesday 29 April, the speaker of Parliament, Veronica Macamo, called activists to a meeting, where once again they argued their objections.

On 30 April, Macamo announced more revisions:

Most importantly, it raised the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 16. For months, activists...

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