Mozambique: Police Chief Sitting Above the Law

The intransigence of Jorge Khalau, Commander in Chief of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM), who stated that police forces are governed by his rule and should not comply with any court order, shocked the public opinion in the beginning of May.

In the epicenter of the controversy was the unconstitutionally denial of Jorge Khalau to comply with an order of release of the Provincial Commander of Nacala, Adriano Muianga [pt], issued by the Court of Nampula. The positioning of Khalau against the bail order of Muianga and four other police officers – following the criminal proceedings initiated against them for alleged involvement in arms trafficking and trim – completely violates the Constitution of the Republic.

In fact, Jorge Khalau publicly stated that the PRM knows the law and it will not obey any court order that aims to free police agents who violate internal rules. The Bar Association expressed their displeasure in a document [pt] published on Jornal Notícias:

Police in Maputo, 2010. Photo by Amanda Rossi on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Police in Maputo, 2010. Photo by Amanda Rossi on Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

O Comandante-Geral da Polícia dá ordens à sua corporação para não cumprir ordens judiciais sempre que estiverem em causa as ditas “normas internas”. Instiga a PRM a desrespeitar os tribunais e orienta a Polícia para, sob seu comando, sobrepor as suas decisões internas às decisões dos tribunais.

The Commander in Chief of the Police gives orders to his corporation not to comply with court orders whenever the so-called “internal rules” are concerned. [He] instigates the PRM to disregard the courts and guides the police – under his command – to override his internal decisions to the decisions of domestic courts.

Journalist Lázaro Mabunda wrote an opinion piece on the newspaper O País titled “Um perigo e um problema chamado Khalau” (A danger and a problem called Khalau) [pt]. Mabunda recalls the words of Khalau:

Vale recordar o que ele disse: “Nós conhecemos as leis. Nós não obedecemos a nenhum juiz. Nós tomamos as nossas medidas internas. Agora dizem que (o regulamento) está ultrapassado! Muito obrigado! O código penal de que ano é? 1886. Só o regulamento da polícia é que está ultrapassado? Houve violação de normas internas (…).”

It's worth remembering what he said: “We know the law. We don't obey any judge. We take internal measures. Now some say that (the regulation) is outdated! Thanks a lot! From what year is the penal code? 1886. Is the police rule the only outdated one? There has been a violation of internal rules.

The Mozambican League for Human Rights went further and urged the President of the Republic to exonerate [pt] the Commander in Chief of PRM.

While the Minister of Justice Benvinda Levi rebuked [pt] Jorge Khalau, the Attorney General's Office requested the opinion [pt] of the Constitutional Committee on his inflammatory statements.

However, the Commander in Chief came back to public to declare that he will remain peremptory [pt] against crime and indiscipline.

The stubbornness of Khalau has lead the investigative journalist Luís Nhachote to nominate him for the Mampara of the week for two weeks in a row on his Facebook page.

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