The head of list for the opposition Renamo party vying for the Maputo municipality, Venâncio Mondlane, says that the party has submitted a Request for Clarification of a Constitutional Council ruling awarding a win to the ruling Frelimo party in Maputo city, which Renamo claims to have won, allegedly because the decision contains “omissions and imperfections and illegalities”.
Mondlane believes that the request has a suspensive effect on the ruling, arguing that the non-appealability of the council’s ruling goes against fundamental rights such as the constitutional principles of justice and legality, which Renamo considers to be of a greater primacy than the non-appealability of the council’s rulings.
Mondlane also sued Police General-Commander Bernardino Rafael owing to violation of human rights during the violent crackdown on citizens before, during and after the municipal election by police.
The human rights-based organisation, Amnesty International, issued a communique on 23 November accusing the Mozambican police of use of “excessive and lethal force against peaceful protesters and bystanders, including firing live ammunition and teargas, following disputed local elections in October.”
Renamo also sued the chairperson of the publicly-owned Televisão de Moçambique (TVM), Élio Jonasse, for the channel’s broadcasting of what Renamo alleges were fake news on the elections.
For his part, the leader of Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Lutero Simango, has threatened to respond in equal measure should future elections be rigged, adding that his party’s chances were severely undermined in the provinces of Cabo Delgado, Niassa and Tete.
Regardless of the outcome of Renamo’s legal actions, nothing will never be the same in Mozambique. In democratic terms, the country has crossed its Rubicon: people’s attitudes towards repressive institutions seem to have changed dramatically.
This is somewhat explained by the significant popular support to the movement protesting the election outcome in places where parallel count showed that Renamo won; the strong opposition to internal authoritarianism and dynamics within Frelimo; and the open and fearless debate about the electoral process, specifically the fraud, indicative that people and society have started losing any fear of reprisals.
Much as it might claim to have won, Frelimo has been restrained in its celebrations.
The impatience and political arrogance that characterises the party in times as these have been replaced by a forced modesty. The Constitutional Council’s “Shut up and listen!” ruling served as a counterweight that manipulated the political configuration that emerged from the ballot box by handing Frelimo a fraudulent victory.
As regards the police and its chief, there is enough evidence to prosecute them. If not in Mozambique, in any continental or global human rights court. Rafael seems to have this personal perspective on the duty and remit of police in Mozambique, which runs counter to any human rights’ legal framework.
In March 2023, Amnesty International called Mozambican police crackdown actions on peaceful protesters honouring the late rapper Edson da Luz, known by his stage name Azagaia, as outrageous.
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