Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, on Monday strongly condemned the recent allegations that guards at the Maputo Special Penitentiary for Women (EPEMM), better known as the Ndlavela Women's Prison, had forced women inmates into prostitution.
Addressing a press conference in Maputo, the Renamo spokesperson, Jose Manteigas, said his party and its leader, Ossufo Momade, are urging the justice system to punish, in an exemplary fashion, the criminal behaviour of all those embroiled in the scandal, so as to discourage similar attitudes in future.
"Renamo and its leader see the commission of inquiry created and spearheaded by the Ministry of Justice as another simulation intended to entertain Mozambicans, but without bringing about any outcome, as happened in other situations in the past,", he said.
The shameful scandal first surfaced on Tuesday last week in the wake of a damning investigation by the anti-corruption NGO, the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), which found that prison guards were running a racket in which women prisoners were forced into prostitution.
CIP investigated this scandal for five months, and CIP investigators, pretending to be clients interested in buying prisoners for sex, infiltrated the clandestine network operated by prison guards. The material gathered by CIP includes videos of aspects of the prostitution racket, interviews with several of the victims, and mobile phone messages between prison guards and supposed clients.
The next day, Justice Minister Helena Kida paid a visit to the prison where she interacted with the prison management as well as some inmates to get a broader view of the situation unveiled by the CIP investigation. On Thursday, she suspended the entire EPEMM management.
Renamo, Manteigas added, regards as "baseless" the recent letter signed by seven of the 16 cement companies operating in Mozambique calling on the government to keep the price of cement high. The companies objected to the competition they are now facing from the Chinese-owned Dugongo Cimentos, a new entrant to the Mozambican cement market. They protested at the low prices Dugongo charged for its cement, accusing it of "dumping" and of "unfair competition".
The protest from the seven companies "is not in line with the ultimate social goal of companies which should not only merely for profit, especially in a society with a very low purchasing power," declared Manteigas.