8 October 2017

Mozambique: Government Promises to Continue Murdered Mayor's Work

Maputo — Mozambique's Minister of State Administration, Carmelita Namashalua, pledged on Saturday that the plans for the development of the northern city of Nampula drawn up by the city's murdered mayor, Mahamudo Amurane, will continue, despite his assassination last Wednesday.

She was speaking at the funeral ceremonies held for Amurane in Nampula Municipal Council where members of the Amurane family, and representatives of the Council and of the central government all paid tribute to the work done by the mayor.

"The government reaffirms its commitment to the development of this municipality", declared Namashalua. "Despite the physical disappearance of Mayor Amurane, we believe that the causes he always defended are not lost".

A message from the Amurane family declared "we shall continue to be obedient to everything you taught us, and we shall say no to corruption".

In the voice of Councillor Maria Moreno, the message from the Municipal Council described Amurane as "a visionary" and his death a tragedy.

"There will never be enough tears to hide the shame with which all of us, as a society, have been stained", she said. "What legacy are we leaving for future generations?"

An enormous crowd accompanied the coffin from the Nampula Catholic Cathedral, where a religious service was held, to the Municipal Council, and then to the cemetery. Many thousands of people walked the six kilometres to Amurane's last resting place, leaving no doubt as to the high regard in which the citizens of Nampula held their mayor.

Amurane was elected mayor in the 2013 municipal elections, on the ticket of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). But this year sharp political disagreements arose between Amurane and the rest of the MDM leadership. The Mayor publicly accused MDM leader Daviz Simango of undermining him, and demanded an apology from Simango.

Amurane never formally resigned from the MDM, and was still a member of its National Political Committee, although he had stopped attending meetings. He did, however, repeatedly promise that he would stand for a second term as mayor in 2018, but not as a candidate for the MDM.

The clashes between Amurane and his own party immediately led to claims that the MDM was involved in the assassination, claims which Simango described as "disinformation".

Simango attended the funeral, and Mozambican social media is full of allegations that he was threatened, booed and insulted during his stay in Nampula. But MDM parliamentary deputy Venancio Mondlane, who accompanied Simango, told AIM that these stories are untrue.

He said Simango attended the service in the cathedral, and then walked, through a dense crowd, to the Municipal Council. Although there were some placards attacking the MDM, there were no attempts to molest Simango, no outcry at his presence, no catcalls or heckling.

But, at the entrance to the main hall in the Council building, a policeman advised Simango not to enter, for his own safety. Mondlane said that Simango reluctantly took this advice, and sat in his car for the rest of the ceremony. Mondlane did not believe that the MDM leader had ever been in any real danger. He also claimed that those carrying the anti-MDM placards had been bussed in from outside Nampula.

Certainly other MDM leaders were present throughout the funeral and were not under any threat - including Mondlane himself, and the mayor of Quelimane, Manuel de Araujo. Amurane continued to work with MDM members up to the time of his death - Maria Moreno, for example, remains a member of the MDM Political Committee.


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