Mozambican parliament rejects civil society petition on hidden debts
O País / Venâncio Mondlane
A Mozambique opposition MP has launched a petition on social networks against the purchase of high-end vehicles for the 17 members of the parliamentary Standing Committee, he told Lusa yesterday.
“Anyone who does public work needs the means, but I think there should be a bit of moderation,” MDM Member of Parliament Venâncio Mondlane and author of the petition says. But he calls the Mercedes cars “an insulting luxury” given the crisis that the country is going through.
Mondlane says he has already received supportive phone calls from other MPs but challenges them to “go public and sign the petition” and redistribute it.
The acquisition of vehicles for the 17 deputies at EUR 74,500 each was denounced last week by the weekly Canal de Moçambique, with Speaker of the Assembly Verónica Macamo noting that the parliament only made the requisition and the secretary general Armando Correia saying it was a Ministry of Finance matter.
For the opposition, Renamo spokesman António Muchanga said he held the Frelimo government responsible. One of the beneficiaries, Lutero Simango (MDM), told Mediafax that “the people’s concern is legitimate”, reserving further comments until a standing committee meeting to discuss the issue was held.
“There was a similar episode in the last legislature,” Mondlane reminded Lusa. But “the permanent commission chose vehicles of a more modest brand, and the situation of the country was better at the time”.
Mondlane says that parliament should hand over the cars to the state to try to recover as much as possible of the expense and to exchange them for models more appropriate to the reality of Mozambique, where the majority of the population travels in vans and trucks, without any protection or safety measures.
Mozambique finished year 2016 with inflation of 25 percent, according to data from the Mozambican National Statistics Institute (INE), forcing the population to tighten their belts even more in a country that already ranks one of the poorest in the world.
The national currency, the metical, ended the year among the ten most devalued currencies in the world, losing about a third of its value – a trend that has been since been to an extent reversed.Source: Lusa