Mozambique: Police Arrest Campaigners for Vandalising Posters

Maputo — A court in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane has found a supporter of the ruling Frelimo Party guilty of destroying election posters of opposition parties, according to the spokesperson for the Inhambane Provincial Police Command, Juma Ali Dauto, cited in Tuesday's issue of the "Mozambique Political Process Bulletin", published by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP).

The man, who was not named, was sent to jail for 15 days and ordered to pay a fine of five times the statutory minimum wage (22,335 meticais, equivalent to about 363 US dollars, at current exchange rates).

Three others, from the three main parties (Frelimo, and the two opposition parties, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement, MDM), have been arrested in Inhambane for the same offence, and will be tried later this week.

But in Maravia, in the western province of Tete, Renamo claimed it had been prevented from flyposting its election propaganda in the main street of the district capital, while in Milange, in Zambezia province, the Renamo political delegate, Antonio Dinal, claimed that it was only Renamo posters that are being ripped down.

The Bulletin also reports that in the Mulomwe area, in Mogincual district, in the northern province of Nampula, Renamo supporters, armed with machetes, blocked a road to deny entry to a Frelimo parade. A fight began, but was broken up by the police: no injuries were reported.

The chairperson of the Tete Provincial Elections Commission (CPE), Ussumane Cassamo, told the Bulletin the Commission has received complaints from all three main parties, alleging aggression and violence.

Renamo accuses Frelimo members of beating two of its supporters to intimidate them into abandoning the campaign, one in Tete city and the other in Zumbo. Frelimo presented to the CPE two cases of Renamo allegedly beating its supporters in Moatize. The MDM accuses Frelimo of burning down its representative's home in Changara district.

A newly formed party, Nova Democracia (New Democracy, ND) claimed that one of its members was assaulted by Frelimo supporters in Chokwe district, in the southern province of Gaza.

The ND candidate for Gaza provincial governor, the musician Felix Silva (better known by his stage name Refila Boy) said "There is a lot of injustice committed by Frelimo and it has police backing". He alleged that whenever he tells the police where his party is going to campaign, the information is passed on to Frelimo.

One incident that should worry Frelimo is that some of its supporters are refusing to campaign for the party unless they are given food. In Vanduzi district, in Manica province, Frelimo supporters said that without food, they would not be going on the campaign trail.

The local secretary of the Frelimo youth organisation, the OJM, Adelino Barroso, confirmed this to the Bulletin. "People refused to campaign in the early hours because there is no food," he said.

Barroso said he raised the issue with the Vanduzi district Frelimo committee, which told him "go and ask for support from business people".

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