Mozambique: Campaign peaceful but with incidents of "political intolerance" - AIM report
This is the official residence of Governor Victor Borges in the city of Nampula, allegedly invaded by rats. The governor has apologised to the population and promised that he will pay the hotel bills himself. Photo: Ikweli / Hermínio Raja
Nampula province governor Victor Borges has assured the press that he has been back in his official residence since last Saturday after leaving the Grand Plaza Hotel, a tourist resort where he had taken refuge reportedly for fear of the rats that had invaded his official residence.
On Tuesday morning, the governor called a press conference, where he pledged to pay the hotel bills incurred during his stay himself.
“As of last Saturday, I returned to the official residence. It is true that there are things that need to be done at the residence but they can be done while I’m there. I want to thank those who approached me. When they interviewed me, I told them what was going on. Also, I want to thank them for the attention which resulted from publication of this news. Many people expressed their displeasure at what had happened,” said Borges, acknowledging that moving to a hotel was perhaps out of proportion.
“I have to apologise for leaving the residence for the hotel. And [this] also to say that, in the face of the people’s indignation, and believing that this could lead to high financial costs which it would be unfair to impose on the public treasury, I have already informed the governor’s office that I will personally pay the expense,” Governor Borges said.
Dar parabéns também ao Governador Victor Borges pela postura – transparência, prestação de contas, e modestia. Ano de eleições ou não, anima !
— Eric Morier-Genoud (@emorier) May 14, 2019
As for the length of his stay at the hotel, the Nampula governor said that it was about 30 days and not the more than three months published by the press.
The province of Nampula is the most populous in the country and its people face serious daily problems accessing basic health services and education, and endure roads, most of which are in an advanced state of degradation.
“Given that we stayed there for over 30 days, we will see if the hotel will charge in full or use the principle that when someone stays a long period there is some discount,” Borges said, admitting that he would have to take out a bank loan to pay the bill.
According to the governor of one of the poorest provinces of the country, his stay at the hotel would have cost about 1,350,000.00 meticais, but “depending on the final value fixed, it might be possible to ask for a bank loan. Let’s see”.
Borges acknowledges the role of the media
“Those [journalists] who addressed the issue did well. I also received calls and on the same day I took note of the news, when it appeared on social networks, and I went back to the palace. This means that I respected the comments and the attention, instead of trying to defend myself. And the person who wrote the news did not do any harm. That is the press; for good things and or bad things too,” Borges declared, in a clear acknowledgement of the role of the media in his return to his official residence.
Among those media outlets was Ikweli, which, having respected the journalistic principle of crossing-checking its sources, published the news on its platforms (www.ikweli.co.mz, facebook /jornalikweli and its electronic version in pdf). It was from there that the matter gained traction and visibility.
“Palace administrator is not to blame”
The governor’s official residence has an administrator who, under normal circumstances, is responsible for sanitation and hygiene, but Borges said he would not hold him responsible for his move to the hotel.
“No! He’s not to blame. We are faced with a situation where the residence has an ample space around it, and it is not always possible to control a vacant space. I was born and raised in the countryside – my family is practically rural, and there were rats where I lived. In fact, I did not run away from rats, I only allowed the outbreaks where there were rats to be controlled so that the invasion could be minimised and we could have some peace of mind,” the governor concluded.
By Sitoi Lutxeque and Aunício da SilvaSource: Jornal Ikweli