Mozambique: Police Finally Admit to Killing People During Election Demonstrations

The General Commander of the Mozambique Republic Police (PRM), Bernardino Rafael, publicly confessed yesterday (Thursday 28 December) that, during the demonstrations protesting at the election results, the police killed citizens accidentally. First, he pointed to one death by police bullets, but later recognized “various incidents”.

Raphael was speaking in Chiúre, Cabo Delgado, where police have confirmed they killed a demonstrator on 26 October. Officially, the police have confirmed they also killed one demonstrator in Angoche (16 November) and a fish vender in Marromeu market (12 December). But a preliminary investigation by CIP Eleições (this bulletin) indicates that at least nine people more were killed by police bullets, six in Nampula city (27 October) and three in Nacala Porto (26 and 27 October).

“There are always unforeseeable situations, and nobody is prepared for them to happen. So we had an incident here [in Chiúre]. It’s an incident in which a young man lost his life in this guarantee of order and security”, confessed Bernardino Rafael, regretting what had happened.

He then apologized, not only “for this incident”, but also for “several other incidents during the course of the restoration of public order and security, and for which no prior preparations had been made.”

Bernardino Rafael justified his apology with the need “to bring this humanization of your police”, a clear recognition of “the mistakes made by police agents in applying the law”.

He recognized that these police agents did not do their job “as it should be done”, and made some mistakes. But he minimized this a something “normal for our Mozambican police”. He declared that it is his moral, social and spiritual duty “to apologise to all the families” who were victims of the police behaviour .

After the confession, will the Public Prosecutor remain silent?

With the exception of the case of Marromeu, there is no information publicly available that the Public Prosecutor’s Office (PRG) has opened criminal proceedings against the police agents responsible for the killings.

In Nampula, the PRG, when bringing charges against the mayor, Paulo Vahanle, confirmed that the demonstrations on 27 October in  Nampula, resulted in the deaths of citizens, without saying how many died or who killed them.

In its dispatch in response to the request from the PRG, the Nampula court accused Paulo Vahanle of giving an explicit instruction to citizens to “take to the streets to express their rejection following publication of the election results”. Because of this demonstration, said the dispatch, “acts of vandalism took place, culminating in physical assaults which caused the deaths of some citizens”. (See Bulletin 203).

Renamo appeal delays results of repeat elections

It is likely that the winners of the repeat elections in the municipalities of Marromeu, Guruè, Milange and Nacala Porto will not be known this year, because of Renamo’s appeal against the CNE’s decision to approve the results from the four municipalities. The Frelimo-supporting majority on the CNE approved the results on 21 December, and Renamo submitted an appeal on Tuesday (26 December).

The Constitutional Council has only two more working days this year, today and tomorrow (Saturday 30 December), to validate the results. Thus validation might only occur in the first week of January 2024.

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