18 December 2017

Mozambique: Official House for Chairperson of Assembly "illegal"

Maputo — The opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has denounced as “illegal” plans to spend 55 million meticais (about 917,000 US dollars) to acquire a house for the chairperson of the Maputo Municipal Assembly.

The decision was taken when the Assembly voted on its budget for 2018. The members from the majority Frelimo Party voted to spend the money on buying or building a house for the chairperson, while the MDM members all voted against. The current chairperson, Edgar Muchanga, is a Frelimo member.

At a Maputo press conference on Friday, the MDM protested that there is nothing in the municipal legislation that envisages providing a residence for the Assembly chairperson. To spend almost a million dollars on such a house was thus illegal. To make matters worse, the Assembly voted for this expenditure at a time of economic crisis, when the central government is imposing austerity measures.

Cited by the independent television station STV, the head of the MDM group in the Assembly, Ismael Nhacucue, said “our group believes that all efforts to mobilise funds should prioritise activities that provide the best benefits to the municipal citizens, and not those which grant personal privileges to the managing elite of the Municipal Assembly”.

Nowhere in the relevant legislation, he added, was there any mention of an official residence as part of the perks of office granted to the chairperson of the Assembly.

There were a range of other irregularities in the budged, said Nhacucue, and the MDM intended to appeal against them to the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

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