Maputo — Magude (Mozambique), 10 Sep (AIM) - The Mozambican police had to intervene on Tuesday to prevent a brawl between supporters of the ruling Frelimo Party and of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) in Magude district, Maputo province, from spiralling out of control.
An MDM parade was going from Magude town into the interior of the Mapulanguene and Mahele administrative posts, but on two occasions its path was blocked by the Frelimo group, and only the police action prevented serous violence.
Julio Pelembe, the MDM candidate for Maputo provincial governor, accused Frelimo of not allowing other political forces, who think differently, from undertaking their activities normally.
"Today", he told reporters, "we faced political intolerance, whereby young people are manipulated to attack other Mozambicans who put forward different ideas. What concerns me is that, in these neighbourhoods where the intolerance occurs, the government isn't doing anything. These are neighbourhoods without water, without electricity and without health facilities".
The Frelimo district secretary for mobilisation and propaganda, Patricio Manhique, claimed that Frelimo had nothing to do with these clashes. He said that ordinary people in Mapulanguene clashed with the MDM because there were people in the MDM whom the local community regarded as "traitors".
Manhique claimed that the Frelimo motorcades were already carrying out their activities "when the others (i.e. the MDM) arived. When they realised there wasn't enough space for them, they began to create a bad atmosphere, but we gave up the space and they continued their activities. Frelimo didn't attack any parade".
"The information we have is that there was probably a settling of accounts with local people who felt betrayed by some members of that party", he added. Manhique did not explain why anybody in Mapulanguene should feel "betrayed" by the MDM.
The Magude district police commander, Gilberto Inguane, confirmed to AIM that clashes had taken place in Mapulanguene, in which two young MDM supporters were injured.
"It wasn't a case of two motorcades crossing paths", he said. "There was a group who threw stones at the MDM, slightly injuring two people. The police were there and we are investigating to ascertain the real causes of the incident".
Inguane blamed the clash on a group of local people who did not accept campaigning in Mapulanguene by other political parties. He said the police intend to find the ringleaders of the group that attacked the MDM, and hold them responsible for their acts.