Maputo — Members and supporters of Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Sunday banned a crew from the public television station, TVM, from covering its election campaign in Icidua, an outlying suburb of Quelimane, capital of the central province of Zambezia.
They justified this form of censorship, with the claim that TVM has been "hiding" Renamo's activities during the election campaign, which began on 31 August.
The ban was imposed when a Renamo parade was crossing the bridge that links Icidua to the centre of Quelimane. When some members of the crowd spotted the TVM vehicle they began to insult the journalists and forbade the cameraman from filming.
"They never show picture of our activities, and so they can't join our parade", said some of the crowd.
This merely shows that Renamo members in Quelimane do not watch much television. TVM has been covering the campaign, including that of Renamo, with a thoroughness that borders on tedium. Of course, the sure way of guaranteeing that the campaign will not be covered, is to ban the TV crew from the parade.
TVM could have insisted on its right to go to Icidua - the road is a public highway, and Renamo cannot choose who uses it and who does not. But TVM backed down from a possible confrontation and left the parade.
Icidua is regarded as a stronghold of the mayor of Quelimane, and Renamo candidate for governor of Zambezia, Manuel de Araujo.
Once the TVM crew had left, The Renamo campaigners continued to urge the local residents to vote for their party and for its presidential candidate, Ossufo Momade, in the general and provincial elections scheduled for 15 October.