Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Thursday banned journalists, from both the public and the private media, from its election campaign in the Honde administrative post, in Barue district, in the central province of Manica.
To the reporters' surprise, it was the Renamo candidate for Manica provincial governor, Alfredo Magumisse, who demanded that they leave. He justified his decision with the claim that the television channels only show large numbers of people at rallies held by other parties.
"You came here because you see that we don't have many people. Where we have had large crowds, you don't show up", he said. "But when it comes to other parties, you show the public. I have chaired many rallies with lots of people, but you didn't come. You can go back. We don't want you here".
Journalists argued with Magumisse, but it proved impossible to change his mind, and so they eventually left.
Magumisse seemed quite unaware that most journalists in Mozambique do not work for television channels, but are print or radio journalists. He clearly does not watch much television news either - both the independent station STV and the public station TVM have shown large crowds at the rallies of all three main parties - the ruling Frelimo Party, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
The MDM had no such problem with journalists, who accompanied the head of the MDM Youth League, Give Bernardo, as he told the residents of the Mugabe neighbourhood in the Barue district capital, Catandica, that if they wanted to see progress, they should vote for the MDM and its presidential candidate, Daviz Simango.
"A vote for us is a vote for more sources of water, the expansion of the electricity grids, and improvements in the Catandica markets", he declared. "With the MDM and Simango, Mozambique will develop".