Mozambique: Municipal Council Promises Dialogue With Islanders

Maputo — Maputo Municipal Council declared on Wednesday that it is open to a dialogue with the citizens of the island of Inhaca who on Saturday expelled the municipal councillor for Inhaca, Araujo Teodato, from the island, accusing him of "bad governance".

"We are intrigued by this situation, but we value dialogue", the spokesperson for the Municipal Council, Albertina Tivane told reporters.

She said the Mayor of Maputo, Eneas Comiche, had set up a multi-sector team that will go to Inhaca to investigate the complaints of the islanders. "We shall listen to all sensitivities", said Tivane.

Comiche will not try to re-impose Araujo Teodato immediately. Instead he will bring a replacement councillor, Abilio Quive.

"The authority exists, and the municipality is the authority on the island", said Tivane. "But since the incumbent councillor s currently in the city, we shall present a replacement councillor to ensure that there is no power vacuum".

That may seem as if the expulsion of Teodato has been accepted as a fait accompli. But Tivane insisted that was not the case.

"We cannot consider that he has been expelled, because only the mayor has the power of expulsion", she said. It was only the mayor who could appoint and dismiss councillors. Teodato had left the island merely because his life had been threatened

Tivane said that among the problems leading the islanders to throw Teodato off Inhaca and threaten him was the reorganisation of markets. As in all other Maputo municipal districts, the markets on Inhaca are being reshaped to protect their users from the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.

But some of the islanders defied orders from the authorities to remove stalls erected in inappropriate places.

Despite the disturbances, the Municipal Council had no intention of retreating. "I would like to make it clear that we shall continue the work we have been doing to reorganise the city's markets", said Tivane.

That reorganisation includes ensuring social distancing. There should be a gap of at least 1.5 metres between stalls and between the stallholders and their clients. Usually, this will mean reducing the number of stallholders in any given market.

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