Mozambique: Mayor Denies Incitement to Violence

Maputo — The mayor of the northern Mozambican city of Nampula, Paulo Vahanle, on Wednesday denied police accusations that he has incited the citizens of Nampula to violence.

Last weekend Vahanle, who is a senior figure in the main opposition party, Renamo, made a speech at a municipal sports field, which the police interpreted as “incitement’.

He displayed traditional weapons such as spears and bows and arrows, and declared that, although Renamo has no guns, it is ready to use “rudimentary weapons’ to fight against what it regards as fraudulent election results.

Speaking to reporters shortly before catching a plane to Maputo, Vahanle said he referred to traditional weapons at his rally to remind his listeners that the Renamo flag contains images of arrows.

Cited in Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais’, the mayor said “when the opposition tells the truth and claims its rights, it receives treatment from the authorities that is not appropriate’.

He claimed he had used the rally to ask for respect from the police and from the ruling Frelimo Party. “We don’t want killings or provocations’, said Vahanle. “We are claiming a right enshrined in the Constitution. The police are not authorized to kill’.

He alleged that the police “are at the forefront to kill off democracy. If Mozambicans feel agitated by my statements, I don’t think they should be. We are saying: take care, Renamo is resistant and it has arrows on its flag. Stop killing us, because one day we might revolt against you’.

“We are not inciting violence’, Vahanle declared. “We are saying that the citizens of Nampula have a right to life’.