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Welcome to Mozambique, Where the Government Will Soon Have 450 New Security Cameras Aimed at You

Primeira página do jornal Canal de Moçambique. Foto: Dércio Tsandzana

Front cover of the newspaper Canal de Moçambique. Photo: Dércio Tsandzana

According to one of Mozambique's most trusted newspapers, Canal de Moçambique, the government has begun installing 450 security cameras in the cities of Maputo and Matola, as part of the “National Ordonnance on Intercepting Information” project, which reportedly includes plans to wiretap the general public. (Earlier this year in May, Global Voices wrote about Mozambique's controversial plan.)

According to Canal de Moçambique, the government contracted “Msumbiji Investment Limited” to carry out the massive installation, without receiving any alternative offers for the procurement order. The company, moreover, belongs to former President Armando Guebuza's son, who subcontracted the Chinese firm “ZTE” to perform the actual work, says the newspaper.

Egídio Vaz, a prominent analyst and social media activist, was indignant about the situation:

(…) Há mais de dois meses que temos vindo a ler notícias sobre os grandes negócios destes laboriosos filhos do herói da pátria. O meu estado de espírito piorou. Isto é mau. Mas existe uma cura para mim. ESQUECER.

[…] For more than two months, we have seen news of the big deals of these industrious sons of the fatherland’s hero. My mood has worsened. This is bad. But there is a cure for me. TO FORGET.

Schauque Spirou addressed the possible consequences of installing surveillance cameras throughout Maputo and Matola, recalling what happened in Brazil:

Estamos a acordar aos poucos ou estamos a ser sonecados e não sabemos…mas que o Big Brother esta em ação, não parece haver dúvida… a noticia avançada pelo Canal de Moçambique sobre as câmaras de vigilância, penso que não são de se levar ao de leve: fora a “adjudicação” da mesma…

No Brasil, já se fala de indústria de multas, pois as câmaras de vigilância nas avenidas de São Paulo, são usadas para flagrar “motoristas da FORMULA1″….mas o dinheiro que geram tais multas esta a criar desconfiança dos mais avisados.

We are slowly waking up, or we are sleeping and unaware… but there is no doubt that Big Brother is in action… the information given by Canal de Moçambique on the security cameras—I think that it should not be taken lightly: except the “tendering” of that kind…

In Brazil, there is already talk of a “fines industry”, since the security cameras in the streets of São Paulo are used to catch “Formula 1 drivers”… but the money generated by these fines is causing mistrust among the most aware.

According to Canal de Moçambique, however, the government might have legal grounds for awarding the surveillance contract without a public competition, given that the country's procurement law treats certain national-security concerns as an exception. But this still wouldn't justify the decision to award the contract to Guebuza’s son, given the possible conflict of interest.

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