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Mozambique’s Minister of State Administration, Carmelita Namashalua, said on Friday that that the solution to the current chaos in the northern city of Nampula will be the appointment of a management commission to run the municipality until the mayoral by-election scheduled for 24 January.
Speaking to reporters after laying a wreath at Maputo’s Monument to the Mozambican Heroes, on the occasion of the anniversary of Maputo obtaining city status, Namashalua lamented the situation in Nampula, and said that the interim mayor, Manuel Tocova, has displayed “unworthy behaviour”.
Currently Tocova is in no position to fulfil mayoral duties since he is under arrest. The police are charging him with illegal possession of a firearm. He admitted that he had been renting the gun, a pistol, from Pedro Mahia, a former parliamentary deputy from the rebel movement Renamo, since 2014.
He had agreed to pay Mahia 3,000 meticais (about 50 US dollars) a month for the gun. It seems that Mahia turned Tocova in to the police after he stopped paying the rent. The police, however, arrested both of them.
This problem came on top of Tocova’s attempt to sack those city councillors who had served Mayor Mahamudo Amurane, assassinated on 4 October. The municipal legislation states that, in the interval between the death or resignation of a mayor and the succeeding by-election, the interim mayor may only undertake routine tasks of day-to-day management.
Yet Tocova had restructured the entire Municipal Council, sacking ten councillors and six heads of administrative posts who had worked with Amurane, and replacing them with people he trusted. The Nampula Administrative Tribunal ruled that these sackings and appointments were null and void – but when, on Thursday, members of Amurane’s team attempted to resume work, Tocova’s appointees refused to leave the offices or hand over keys.
It is not only Namashalua who has lost patience with Tocova – so have senior members of his own party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). Asked by reporters on Thursday about Tocova’s detention, the MDM leader and Mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango, said that no citizen should possess firearms, and anyone who felt threatened should resort to the authorities for appropriate protection.
Another MDM municipal leader, Manuel de Araujo, the Mayor of Quelimane, condemned Tocova and said that his behaviour weakens both the MDM and the state.
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