7 April 2017

Mozambique: Obiang Visits Assembly, Opposition Boycotts

Maputo — Mozambican opposition parties on Thursday boycotted the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, when he visited the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.

The heads of the parliamentary groups of both the former rebel movement Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) refused to take part in Obiang's visit to the parliamentary premises that afternoon. As a result Obiang was only received by the parliamentary chairperson, Veronica Macamo, and by Margarida Talapa, head of the parliamentary group of the ruling Frelimo Party.

After the meeting neither Macamo nor Obiang made any statements to the media.

In the morning, when the Assembly was meeting in plenary session, the MDM attempted unsuccessfully to move a motion condemning Obiang's visit. The MDM protested that the visit had been arranged without any consensus between the three parliamentary groups.

Obiang was not welcome, the MDM said, because he represented “a totalitarian, tyrannical and violent regime, averse to pluralism and to the free exercise of political opposition”.

The MDM cited, not only human rights abuses in Equatorial Guinea, but also UN figures on the poverty in the midst of the country's oil wealth.

“The list of the crimes of this regime is immense”, said the MDM, “and we don't see what kind of cooperation ties can be brought by this regime. Don't rely on us to whitewash the history of this international criminal”.

Earlier on Thursday Obiang received the key of Maputo from the hands of the city's mayor, David Simango. The mayor expressed his willingness to work with the Equatoguinean capital, Malabo, particularly for it to participate in the Union of Portuguese Speaking Capital Cities (UCCLA). To ease its entrance into the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), Equatorial Guinea adopted Portuguese as an official language in 2010. At the public events during his two day visit, Obiang made an effort to speak in Portuguese rather than Spanish.

Obiang told the ceremony “we are free to say that there has been a spirit of struggle, and we are convinced that we shall have a developed Africa. And Maputo City is one of the best weapons in the struggle of the Mozambican people for economic and social development”.

He declared that Africa should “cut the umbilical cord of economic dependence”, and claimed that what had brought him to Mozambique was a search for unity that would lead to the construction of an African continent that could create the well-being of African peoples.

“We want Africa to return to its roots to maintain a relationship between its states and nations so as to complement mutually their needs, and thus build in solidarity a united and strong Africa”, Obiang said.

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