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Mozambique: Nyusi forgives two youths who insulted him – AIM report

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday forgave two young men who had insulted him on a video circulating on social media.

The youths, who were apparently drunk at the time, made a video protesting at the Maputo curfew, under which citizens must not be on the streets between 21.00 and 04.00. The video also included crude insults against the President.

The police acted with unaccustomed speed, and arrested the youths, since insulting the Head of State is a crime under the Mozambican Penal Code. But the arrests were of dubious legality, since the police did not actually catch the youths in the act of making the video, but only came to know about it afterwards. Furthermore, Nyusi did not lodge any complaint.

The Mozambican Bar Association (OAM) decided to represent the youths pro bono, and they were released on Monday.

Quite unexpectedly, they then received an invitation to an audience at Nyusi’s office. Nyusi announced that he has forgiven the two youths for their insults, and explained the government’s thinking behind imposing the curfew.

Also read: Mozambique: Man arrested for insulting the President – O País

The intention was to protect the people living in the areas covered by the curfew (Maputo and Matola cities, and the adjacent districts of Boane and Marracuene), since the Greater Maputo area presented a worrying picture of a rapid spread of Covid-19. According to the statistics from the Health Ministry, almost 55 per cent of all active cases of Covid-19 are concentrated in Maputo city.

After the audience, the two youths told reporters they were sorry for what they had done, and thanked Nyusi for his gesture.

One of them, cited by the independent television station STV, said “I must now do my part to show that the President’s pardon was not in vain, by adopting a defensive behaviour towards the Covid-19 pandemic. I call on youths, and everybody else, to join the efforts of the government in the fight against the pandemic”.

The second repentant youth urged young people to use social media for educational purposes, and to explain “good practices in the fight against Covid-19, making other people aware that this disease exists, and is causing pain and mourning among Mozambican families. They should wear masks, wash their hands, observe social distancing, and comply with the measures covered in the government decree”.

Renamo says curfew unconstitutional

Meanwhile, the country’s main opposition party, Renamo, has described the Maputo curfew as “unconstitutional”. The party’s Maputo city spokesperson. Ivan Mazanga, cited by the Portuguese news agency Lusa, said the government can only curtail fundamental rights through a State of Emergency or State of Siege, approved by the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, and not through a simple government declaration under the current State of Public Calamity.

“A curfew as from 21.00 is a serious limitation on a fundamental right, that of free circulation, and cannot be determined without the approval of the Assembly of the Republic”, declared Mazanga.

He added that Renamo is considering asking the Constitutional Council, the country’s highest body in matters of constitutional law, to declare the curfew unconstitutional.

Source: AIM

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