9 May 2019

Mozambique: Frelimo Apologises for Rape Comment

Maputo — Mozambique's ruling Frelimo Party has distanced itself from the call made by a Frelimo parliamentary deputy, Alice Tomas, that prominent anti-corruption activist, Fatima Mimbire, should be raped.

Mimbire had agreed with the controversial proposal that Afonso Dhlakama, the late leader of the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, should be granted the status of "national hero". Instead of arguing with Mimbire, Tomas called for violence against her.

In a comment on a Facebook thread, she wrote that Mimbire "needs to be raped by ten strong men full of energy. Then they can let her go. Because that mouth only issues words that are poisonous to the Mozambican people".

The Frelimo spokesperson and Central Committee secretary for mobilisation and propaganda, Caifadine Manasse, has disowned this incitement to rape. Interviewed by the independent television station STV, he said "a member of Frelimo must set an example, he or she must ensure that society increasingly admires Frelimo".

So Tomas's attitude "causes us great concern", he added. "We distance ourselves completely from any attitude which attacks the freedom of expression of Mozambicans. We in Frelimo are in favour of respect and dignity among Mozambicans".

Manasse said he had personally telephoned Mimbire to apologise for Tomas's repugnant Facebook comment. AIM has not yet been able to confirm this apology from Mimbire herself.

Mimbire has announced that she is suing Tomas, via the Attorney-General's Office, for incitement to crime.

So far there is no indication that Frelimo intends to take any disciplinary action against Alice Tomas, although her Facebook comment clearly brings both the party, and the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, into disrepute.


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