Maputo — The Mozambique Civil Aviation Authority (IACM), the regulatory body for aviation, has denied that it prevented Ossufo Momade, the leader and presidential candidate of the main opposition party, Renamo, from landing at airports and aerodromes in the central province of Manica last week.
The Renamo candidate for Manica provincial governor, Alfredo Magumisse, had alleged that the Mozambican airports company (AdM) had closed airstrips in Machaze, Mossurize, Barue, Manica and Sussundenga districts, to prevent Momade from campaigning there.
In fact, it is the IACM and not AdM which handles landing rights, and the IACM says it never received a request concerning these airstrips.
An IACM press release stated that it received a request on 6 October from the company Mozjet, which is working with Renamo on its flights, requesting landings in Beira, Nampula, Pemba and Maputo for the plane carrying Momade in the period running from 6 to 22 October.
The IACM says it granted that request and received no other, either directly from Renamo or via Mozjet, requesting landing anywhere in Manica province.
"So are we are surprised by the accusation that we did not authorise any landing by Renamo candidate Ossufo Momade in these places", said the release.
But if it had received such a request, the IACM would have told Renamo that the Machaze and Sussundenga airstrips were closed, on safety grounds, more than five years ago, and it has no record that any airstrips exist in Mossurize or Barue.