19 June 2014

Mozambique: Deputies Fight for Perks Recalled By the President

The two laws that establish "big bucks" perks for deputies and heads of the State while in office and after they cease performing their functions, were recently recalled to Parliament by Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza, and are priority issues scheduled for the plenary debate during the Republic Assembly (AR). This information was presented last Tuesday, June 17th, by Mateus Kathupa, spokesman of the Standing Committee of the legislative branch.

The two laws "need to be reassessed by the Republic Assembly, especially given their socio-economic impact that they could cause and the difficulties in implementing them in financial and budgetary terms," President Armando Guebuza argued in his letter addressed to assembly members.

Speaking to the press in Maputo, Kathupa said that the two laws are a priority because they were identified by the President. "As you may know, one of the priorities will be the review of the laws recalled by the President of the Republic. It is a normal act and is constitutionally permissible that the President of the Republic has the power to promulgate laws and veto laws and, in this case, the head of the State, not feeling comfortable with the laws, sent a reasoned message to Parliament for review of the documents."

By giving priority to this matter, the Assembly of the Republic clearly goes against the call of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) -- who consider the two laws "an abuse of power, lack of respect and consideration and misuse of people's resources" -- that Parliament need pay more attention to other relevant issues, such as the guarantee of peace and the discussion and approval of draft laws that have been sitting for years the "House of the People".

According to Kathupa, it was not the pressure of the CSOs that made Armando Guebuza recall the two laws, however, "before this public reaction, I believe that the President of the Republic, taking into account his constitutional oath to defend the interests of the people, ordered the review of the laws."

It should be noted that the CSOs claimed the inclusion in the debate of these legal provisions, in particular: the "Law of Revision of the Statute, Safety and Welfare of the Deputy Law", designated Statute of the Deputy and the "Law of Revision of the Law 21/92, of December 31st, which establishes the rights and duties of the President in Office and after the Termination of Service." For example, the norm that establishes the rights and duties of the President in Office and after the Termination of Service predicts that the deputies annually deposit statement of his or her assets and other income to the General Attorney of the Republic (PGR).

Deputies and heads of State are entitled to a basic salary; allowance for representation expenses; per diems and other monthly allowances; vehicles or other means of transport for exercising official job functions and others for personal use; an official residence and one for private use, among other items. In the event that the figured loses his or her life, while in office or after termination of their duties, the heirs shall be entitled to a survivor's pension equivalent to 100 percent of their salary or updated pension.

The implementation of the law in reference will imply an additional adjustment of the State general budget of 46,121,500 meticais. Of this amount, 22,060,000 meticais are intended for equipment and vehicles; 2,859,000 for goods and services; 19,402,500 for transfer to households and other expenses with the personnel should absorb 1,800,000 meticais.

In this case, the value above is intended to support the benefits of the current President, Armando Guebuza, and the former President Joaquim Chissano. It should be noted that in the event that the two controversial laws be approved by two thirds majority of Parliament, the President of the Republic shall endorse them. It should be noted that Frelimo is the majority party in the Republic Assembly.

The activities of this body, interrupted since early May, will resume next week. "The work commissions are aligning the themes that remained to be discussed in the latter part of the mandate and it is intended that there will be no maladjustment with Government programs, hence the postponement to next week," said Kathupa. The President of the Republic Assembly, Verónica Macamo, is currently making inquiries to determine the day of the week when the session will start.

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