Manuel de Araújo, the mayor of Quelimane, the capital of the central Mozambican province of Zambézia, has made good on his warnings to sue Mozambique’s police Deputy-General Commander, Fernando Tsucana.
In the wake of police crackdown of peaceful demonstrations convened to pay tribute to the late rapper Edson da Luz, better known by his stage name Azagaia, Tsucana accused various figures, including Araújo, as agitators and rioters.
Tsucana, who was speaking at a press conference, said that police had noted with concern that the leaders of the protests were figures with links to political parties and civil society organisations.
As mayor of Quelimane, Araújo gave the green light to the demonstrations, and Quelimane was the only city in which the peaceful protests took place without any police crackdown.
In reaction to Tsucana’s accusations, Araújo spoke at a press conference, demanding that the Deputy-General Commander and the Minister of the Interior clarified the reason his name had been dragged into the controversy, failure of which he would file a lawsuit both in Mozambique and abroad since the demonstration in Quelimane had been peaceful and had had police protection.
“I hereby demand the police Deputy-General Commander and the Minister of the Interior to clarify, within the next 24 hours, the circumstances in which the name of Manuel de Araújo was mentioned. If this does not happen, we will start a legal process before national and international judicial institutions,” he warned.
As this never happened, Araújo flew to Maputo and lodged a complaint before the Attorney-general’s Office (PGR) against Tsucana and the Minister of the Interior.
Eventually, the PGR notified Araújo to appear for a hearing on Tuesday, which took over two hours. Araújo was heard by Deputy-Attorney General Amabélia Chuquela.
In addition, Araújo lodged complaints against former Mozambique News Agency (AIM), Gustavo Mavie, one of President Filipe Nyusi’s unofficial spokesperson, and against the weekly Dossier & Factos for defamation.
Manuel de Araújo is a savvy politician, and he surely must know that his complaint may never come to a satisfactory resolution.
However, Mozambique Insights understands that Araújo wishes to raise awareness to the fact that citizens have rights and should sue state institutions which abuse and violate said rights.
The PGR is notably slow to either charge or open hearings when citizens lodge complaints. Perhaps, what has led the PGR to take the step to start hearing proceedings is the fact that Araújo is a high-profile politician with contacts both domestically and abroad.
It remains to be seen whether the PGR will go the whole mile, or it is just paying lip service.
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