Former SADC Executive Secretary: Xenophobia should be discussed openly
Four of the five gunmen who on Tuesday murdered Anastacio Matavele, an electoral observation leader in Gaza, are agents of the Special Operations Group of the riot police, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Orlando Mudumane, admitted at a Maputo press conference yesterday morning. [Image: TVM]
Police admit their death squad killed Gaza observation leader Anastacio Matavele
Four of the five gunmen who on Tuesday murdered Anastacio Matavele, an electoral observation leader in Gaza, are agents of the Special Operations Group of the riot police, the spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Orlando Mudumane, admitted at a Maputo press conference yesterday morning.
Unlike some previous high profile murders, the assassins failed to make a clean getaway. As they were racing away from the scene, O Pais reports today, they began to be chased by local police, apparently unaware of their identify, and as the gunmen raced away they entered the N1 main road at high speed and crashed into other cars. Two of the killers died in the crash, and two others, one of them seriously injured, were taken into police custody. The fifth made his escape and is on the run. Thus, for the first time, the involvement of the police could not be denied.
Opposition parties and civil society groups have alleged that death squads exist in Mozambique, and Mudumane effectively admitted they were right.
Questions will now be raised about similar unsolved murders. The Franco-Mozambican constitutional lawyer, Gilles Cistac, was gunned down in central Maputo in March 2015 in a very similar drive-by shooting. He had no obvious enemies but was challenging the government’s claim that Afonso Dhlakama’s decentralisation proposals were unconstitutional. Eventually the decentralization laws agreed by government and adopted by parliament were very close to Dhlakama’s proposals. AIM also points to the totally mysterious murder on the Costa do Sol beach in October 2016 of Jeremias Pondeca, a senior figure in Renamo and a member of the Council of State, a body that advises the President.
Anastacio Matavele, a prominent civil society voice in Gaza, was leading civil society election observation in Gaza and was killed when he left a training session of election observers in Xai-Xai. Gaza province is hostile to the opposition and civil society, and in past elections observation by civil society and opposition parties has been partially blocked. This year Gaza is a special target for observation because of the claim to have registered 300,000 more voters than there are voting age adults. Opposition candidates have been attacked by Frelimo supporters in recent weeks.
Four of the fives gunmen were members of the Gaza branch of the Special Operations Group of the riot police (Grupo de Operacoes Especiais – GOE – da Unidade de Intervencao Rapida – UIR). The provincial police commanders of GOE and UIR were both suspended, and an internal inquiry commission has been set up, Mudumane said.
Renamo man murdered
A Renamo sympathiser was stabbed to death Monday night (7 October) in the village of Pambara, Vilankulo , Inhambane. The 33-year-old Moses Pedro Muabsa was taken by surprise by his attackers in the Tamega market. “Muabsa had been threatened by members of the ruling party, and sometimes they went to his home to force him to join Frelimo,” said Renamo campaign director Ricardo Tembe. He added that several Renamo supporters living in Pambara have been bullied and threatened with death by Frelimo if they continue to support Ossufo Momade.
Arson, attacks and brawls in Maravia, Tete
7 people were injured after Frelimo stormed a Renamo rally In Maravia, Tete, on Monday afternoon; one of the Frelimo injured is in serious condition, our correspondents report.
Maravia and especially Malowere administrative post are seen as Renamo bastions and there is high tension there.
Renamo candidate for governor Ricardo Tomas led a rally on the Malowera football field. A parade by Frelimo supporters arrived at the end of the rally and stormed the field with banners and loud sound systems. In Malowere Renamo defends its turf and a brawl resulted. Police were called in and fired shots into the air to disperse the crowd and restore order.
On the same day, a Frelimo supporter who was being transported on a motorcycle arrived at a Renamo gathering wearing a Frelimo t-shirt, and was attacked by Renamo counterparts. The victim was advised to remove his party’s jersey if he wanted to stay on the scene and he declined. Annoyed, Renamo supporters stoned him.
Also in Malowere, two houses of Frelimo supporter Standiero Dhaka, were burned down on Sunday night (6 October). Dhaka’s wife says she received threats from Renamo supporters allegedly because her son was campaigning for Frelimo. Two days earlier, strangers had come to the victim’s residence and placed a foreign substance in a can of water, she claimed.
Two Frelimo supporters were whipped by Renamo counterparts in Mavume, Funhalouro, Inhambane yesterday afternoon (7 October) when two party parades met. Renamo’s candidate for govenor, Daniel Majongue, was part of his party’s entourage.
By Joseph HanlonSource: 2019 General Elections - Mozambique Political Process Bulletin