Mozambique: Frelimo accused of abusing state property

Manuel de Araujo, candidate of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), for mayor of the central city of Quelimane, on Wednesday accused the ruling Frelimo Party of illegally using state property in its campaign for the municipal by-election.

Cited in Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, Araujo claimed that the Frelimo candidate, Lourenco Aboobakar, was using vehicles belonging to directorates of the Zambezia provincial government, as well as vehicles belonging to several district governments, and one belonging to the Alto Molocue municipal council.

When an “O Pais” reporter tried to verify this, he found that the vehicles in the Frelimo campaign are unmarked and bear no visible signs of any institutions they might belong to.

The Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Mobilisation and Propaganda, Edson Macuacua, who is assisting Aboobakar’s campaign, denied Araujo’s claim.

“It’s a clear expression that he (Araujo) can’t mobilise a winning campaign”, said Macuacua. “This accusation merely announces the weakness of our adversary. In a situation of despair, our opponents are reduced to making accusations without the slightest basis”.

Araujo’s claim, he added, showed that the MDM “is looking for a pretext to justify the heavy defeat they will suffer in these elections”.

The use of state property in election campaigns is specifically forbidden under Mozambican electoral law.

Araujo also complained that there is a heavy police presence at Aboobakar’s rallies, but not at his. This accusation is certainly true – but the police told “O Pais” that the MDM had not given them an itinerary for their Quelimane campaign.

The Zambezia provincial police spokesperson, Elcidia Filipe, said that political parties who want police protection must give a clear indication of where they intend to hold rallies, and what routes their parades will follow.

She said that the MDM had asked for protection throughout the election campaign in a letter sent to the police on Monday.

“We recommended that they tell us their meeting places and their routes and they haven’t done so,” she added. “We have a vehicle and men at the police command specifically for the MDM, but we can’t act because we don’t have the information we requested from them.

In the northern city of Pemba, which is also facing a muinicipal by-election, the MDM general secretary, Luis Boavida, has accused Frelimo of destroying MDM election posters. He said that one Frelimo member caught tearing down MDM posters was handed over to the police – but far from charging him with criminal damage, the commander of the police station ordered his release.

The Frelimo candidate for mayor of Pemba, Tagir Carimo, denied Boavida’s claim saying that Frelimo does not need to deface the campaign material of its rivals “because our victory is certain”.

He suggested that MDM members were destroyed the posters of their own party “in order to damage the good name of Frelimo”.

Post published in: Africa News

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