Maputo — Licinio Matavel, son of the murdered activist Anastacio Matavel, on Tuesday told the Gaza provincial court that, while he did not know exactly why his father was killed, he believed the assassination, carried out by five members of the Mozambican police, was politically motivated.
According to the report on the trial in the independent newssheet "Mediafax", Licinio said Matavel was from civil society and knew the problems of the province. "He raised the concerns of society", he declared. Licinio was wearing a black Tshirt, bearing the words "Matavel dies, his cause lives on".
Asked if he knew the murderers of his father, Licinio turned round and pointed to the members of the death squad in the dock. "They're policemen, they must know the motives", he said.
He added "it's likely that there are people who didn't like the way he raised the problems of society".
Licinio told the court that all the family's projects, including building a new house, have ground to a halt, because his father was the pillar of the family.
He said that Anastacio Matavel had been paying for his studies, and also supported his brother, who lives in Maputo. His mother has not recovered from the loss of her husband, he added, and one of his nephews, a six year old child, "is afraid of the police".
Licinio also attacked the apparent incapacity of the Mozambican state to locate Agapito Matavele, the police officer who led the death squad. "What State is this that is unable to locate a fugitive?", he asked, to the displeasure of the judge, Ana Liquidao.
Another witness, Matavel's secetary, Sonia Tembe, said there had been disagreements within the Forum of Gaza Non-Governmental Organisations (FONGA), of which Matavel had been the Executive Director. She said there were members of the Board of Directors and of the Supervisory Board who wanted to replace Matavel, and before the murder plans were under way to hold a general meeting of FONGA.
Tembe also said that Matavel had a lover named Arminda, who received Matavel's bullet-ridden car, an Izuzu, after the murder.
A FONGA worker, Eldina Nhantave, said the car was not left at FONGA, as Licinio Matavel had wanted, "because we didn't have a safe space". So she had phoned Arminda to look after the car. Fonga has received a quote from Arminda of 32,000 meticais (about 464 US dollars) to repair the car - although it is obvious that FONGA has a watertight case for demanding that the police pay for the repairs.
Some of this testimony was clearly irrelevant - nobody had previously suggested that Matavel's personal life, or disputes within FONGA, had anything to do with the assassination.