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Plaintiffs won’t withdraw complaint until Quelimane mayor is held accountable for slander

Manuel de Araújo’s trial has been postponed to April – because he was traveling. “He has to wash his image,” one of those who considers himself offended says, promising to fight on until the mayor is held responsible for the slander he stands accused of.

Two hours before the scheduled start of the trial in the capital of the Mozambican province of Zambezia, the lawyers and the injured parties were already in the courtroom of the third section of the judicial court in the city of Quelimane.

Then came information that Manuel de Araújo would not attend. The Municipal Council of Quelimane sent a request to the judge to postpone the trial scheduled for this Monday (15/02), saying that Manuel de Araújo was away on a working trip.

The mayor of Quelimane faces accusations of slander and defamation against Domingos de Albuquerque and José Lobo, members of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM), and against Carlos Baptista Carneiro, member of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo).

The matter goes back to the mayor’s investiture in February, 2019, after Araújo was elected in the list of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo).

The trial was postponed until April, but the plaintiffs say they will not be handing Araújo anything on a tray – not until the accused is held accountable

“He has to wash his image”

 Former MDM deputy José Lobo is one of the plaintiffs.

“He made political and management mistakes,” former MDM deputy José Lobo, one of the plaintiffs, says. “He has to wash his image. In politics you have to be very careful; every moment is a moment.”

Political analyst Ricardo Raboco predicts difficult times for Manuel de Araújo, should he be tried. “Any politician, any citizen who is tried and convicted of a crime, tarnishes their reputation. This can have subsequent implications in elections. Any candidate must have a clean record; the criminal record must be clean,” Raboco says.

The Mozambican analyst however puts the words of the Quelimane mayor into perspective, and questions the rationale of the trial itself. “How many speeches during campaigns or after campaigns, were delivered and were not considered defamation or slander?”

Raboco cites speeches in parliament. “Often, there are offensive speeches [in parliament], but that is a consequence of the heat of the moment and the nature [of such speeches] – and they do not transit to a judicial forum,” he notes.

Source: Deutsche Welle via clubofmozambique

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