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The police released the owner of a cake shop and snack bar in Moatize, in the western Mozambican province of Tete, accused of destroying election propaganda of the ruling Frelimo Party, after they concluded he had committed no crime.
Frelimo in Moatize seemed unaware that political posters can only be posted on private property with the owner’s consent.
In this case the owner of the snack bar, when he went to open his establishment on Saturday, found that it had been covered with posters, not only from Frelimo, but also from the opposition parties, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).
He ordered his employees to remove the posters, which irritated local Frelimo members, who dragged him off to the Moatize police command.
Accused of violating the clause in the electoral law on the destruction of election material, the owner of the snack bar (whose name the police did not release) said he did not know there was any ban on cleaning up his own establishment.
“I ordered my workers at least to clean up the windows, so that people can see I am still open, but the posters are still on the walls”, he said.
The detention caused some anger in Moatize, where citizens opposed the behaviour of Frelimo in calling in the police to drag the man from his shop to the district command.
The head of public relations at the Tete Provincial Police Command, Deolonda Matsinhe, said “when the matter was analysed, it was seen that the owner was right, and so he was released”.
Members and supporters of political parties, she added, should be aware that they cannot stick their posters on private property. “They made matters worse because they blocked the visibility of his establishment”, she said.