3 October 2017

Mozambique: Prosecutor Who Attended Congress Under Investigation

Maputo — An attorney who illicitly attended the 11th Congress of Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party, held over the past week in the southern city of Matola, is now under investigation, reports Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".

Tete City Attorney Ivania Taido Mussagy obtained a doctor's certificate from the Tete Provincial Hospital allowing her time off work from 21 to 30 September, supposedly to rest and recover from an illness. However, during that period she was seen attending the Frelimo Congress, which was certainly not a restful environment.

When the congress spokesperson, Antonio Niquice, was asked about her presence, he defended it, saying that the Mozambican Constitution gives citizens the right to be members of political parties, and hence there was nothing wrong with an attorney attending a political party congress.

In fact, Mozambican law specifically prohibits political activity by judges or prosecutors. They are entitled to their opinions, and may join political parties, but they may not be political activists.

The relevant paragraph in the law states that the exercise of the duties of a public prosecutor "is incompatible with any other public or private function except for teaching, literary activity or scientific research when authorised by the Higher Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office".

A further paragraph bans prosecutors from holding any political party office or from making any public declarations of a political party nature".

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