Mozambique opposition calls on leader to quit over debt storm
António Frangoulis. [File photo: DW]
Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, has abandoned its attempts to place the former director of the Maputo branch of the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC) on the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional and electoral law.
The Council has seven judges – a chairperson appointed by the President of the Republic, a member appointed by the Higher Council of the Judicial Magistracy (CSMJ), the regulatory body for judges, and five others elected by the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. Candidates are proposed by the political parties represented in the Assembly, in proportion to the number of seats they hold.
This means that the ruling Frelimo Party proposes three Constitutional Council members and the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, proposes two. The third party in the Assembly, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), only has 17 members in its parliamentary group, which is not enough to give it the right to propose a Council member.
But just because a party proposes a candidate for the Constitutional Council, this does not mean that the Assembly plenary is obliged to accept him or her. One of Renamo proposals was the uncontroversial figure of Albino Nhacassa, a member of the Higher Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, who was unanimously accepted.
But neither the Frelimo nor the MDM deputies would accept Frangoulis – partly because he did not present a medical certificate of physical fitness until well past the deadline, and partly because he is simply not trusted due to his record of jumping from one political party to another.
He won a seat in the Assembly on the Frelimo ticket in the general elections of 2004, but then switched his allegiance to the MDM in 2014. He was an MDM parliamentary candidate that year but failed in his bid for election. In mid-2018, he left the MDM and accused the Party of operating in an “undemocratic” manner. He has now thrown his lot in with Renamo.
This was no doubt what the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Commission of the Assembly had in mind when it recommended that the plenary reject Frangoulis because of his “public posture”.
When the matter came to a vote, on 22 August, Frangoulis was rejected by 146 votes from Frelimo and MDM deputies against 43 from Renamo.
Renamo has decided that it will no longer press the issue, but has reverted to its earlier proposal – which was simply to re-elect a current Constitutional Council judge, Manuel Franque, for a further five year term of office.
A brief letter from the head of the Renamo parliamentary group, Ivone Soares, to the Assembly’s chairperson, Veronica Macamo, dated 30 August, confirmed that Renamo now wants Franque to remain on the Council. That followed a letter of 29 August from Renamo General Secretary Andre Magibire to the Renamo parliamentary group, stating that the party is now in favour of Franque retaining his seat.
Renamo originally nominated Franque for a Council seat in 2004, and he has been a Constitutional Council judge ever since.
Within Renamo there is some resentment against Franque, because he has frequently voted with the other judges on the Council against election appeals lodged by Renamo. He has voted as a judge and not as a political appointee.Source: AIM
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