Mozambique: Misa Protests Alleged Renamo Threats

Maputo — Radio Mozambique has claimed that two of its reporters, Nelo Armando and Moises Seaela, received death threats while they were covering the repeat election at eight polling stations in the central municipality of Marromeu on 22 November.

The Mozambican chapter of the regional press freedom body MISA (Media Institute of Southern Africa) received a letter from the radio management, saying that the men who threatened Armando and Naela claimed they were members of the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo.

The pretext for the threats was that, during the municipal elections of 10 October, Armando, who was covering the voting and count in Marromeu, had shown alleged bias in support of the ruling Frelimo Party.

The supposed Renamo members were carrying photographs of Armando. The Radio notified the Marromeu district police command of the threats - but instead of protecting the two reporters, the police merely advised Armando and Naela not to go to the eight polling stations during the count.

In a Monday release, MISA-Mozambique warned political parties to refrain from making journalists the scapegoats for election results. It hoped that the police will identify the men who threatened the radio reporters and hold them responsible for their actions.

This is the second incident during the Marromeu rerun election that MISA has protested against. The first was a physical assault by a policeman against Francisco Raiva, a journalist who works for the company Soico, which owns the independent television station STV, and the daily paper "O Pais".

Raiva was covering the election and was attacked when he attempted to interview a woman who was accused of voting twice. As he tried to hear her side of the story a policeman blocked his path, and put his hand over the camera lens. When Raiva tried to remove the policeman's hand, he was physically assaulted.

MISA has urged the Sofala Provincial Police Commander to take disciplinary action against the policeman involved.

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