Maputo — Daviz Simango, the Mayor of Beira, and leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), on Friday accused the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) of interfering in the forthcoming municipal elections at the service of the ruling Frelimo Party.
At a Wednesday press conference in Maputo, the head of the SERNIC public relations department, Leonardo Simbine, alleged that members of the MDM, including senior figures, were involved in the assassination of the mayor of the northern city of Nampula, Mahamudo Amurane, a year ago, on 4 October 2017.
Simbine said investigations had led to the identification of ten suspects, whom he did not name. He said nobody had been arrested yet, but the case has now been remitted to the Nampula provincial attorney's office, which must decide whether or not to press charges.
Simbine's intervention was astonishing not only because SERNIC almost never gives press conferences, but because, apart from the number of suspects, it provided no information that was not available a year ago.
Simbine mentioned the well-known dispute between Amurane and the MDM leadership, and the threats against the mayor made in 2017 by MDM members of the Nampula Municipal Assembly. But he did not provide the slightest solid evidence that anybody in particular had committed the murder, and merely threw a cloak of suspicion over the entire MDM.
Simango said SERNIC "is making serous accusations. They are at the service of Frelimo. We are in an election period, and SERNIC has done this to discredit the MDM. But we shall not stop. We shall continue our work in Nampula and throughout the country".
SERNIC, he added, was becoming involved in politics. which was not its job. "SERNIC should not be doing political work", he declared.
Simango thought the main purpose of the SERNIC intervention was to damage the MDM in Nampula, where it is trying to win back control of the city.
Amurane was elected mayor in 2013 on the MDM ticket, with an MDM majority on the municipal assembly. After his assassination, a mayoral by-election was held, won by Paulo Vahanle, the candidate of the former rebel movement, Renamo.
This time, the MDM is running a strong candidate, Fernando Bismarque, who s the spokesperson for the MDM parliamentary group, and is optimistic that he will become the next mayor of Nampula.