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Civil society criticizes the arrest of 18 political delegates in Mozambique

“Free them now”. Image used with permission from Nova Democracia party.

Eighteen political delegates from the Nova Democracia (New Democracy) party were arrested on 15 October, in Gaza province, for allegedly carrying false credentials, according to local police. They were released on bail on November 30.

Local newspaper Zambeze highlights the arrest case (screenshot)

Mozambique held elections for the presidency, lawmakers, and provincial governors on 15 October. Opposition parties and some civil society organisations criticized the election as fraudulent.

The delegates’ arrest was reported by Wilker Dias, a defeated legislative candidate with New Democracy:

JOVENS PRESOS ILEGALMENTE.

Depois do jornalista Amade Abubacar, eis que o regime efectua mais uma prisão ilegal.. ilegal?? Sim ilegal, o mesmo acusa 18 jovens que eram delegados de candidatura do Partido Nova Democracia em Gaza de portar credenciais falsas, em que no entanto foram atribuídas pelos órgãos eleitorais.

Gaza foi um dos palcos de conflito intenso durante a campanha eleitoral, onde para alem das intimidações, danos materiais também houve perdas humanas…curiosamente a Nova Democracia sairia daquele ciclo eleitoral com Deputados eleitos para a Assembleia da Republica apesar dos fantasmas recenseados.

YOUTHS  ILLEGALLY ARRESTED.

After the journalist Amade Abubacar, here the regime makes another illegal… illegal arrest??? Yes, illegal, it accused 18 youths who were New Democracy party delegates in Gaza of carrying fake credentials, which were, however, accorded by the electoral authorities.

Gaza was one of the scenes of intense conflict during the electoral campaign, where as well as intimidation, [there was] material damage [and] also human losses… Interestingly, New Democracy would emerge from that electoral cycle with deputies elected to the Assembly of the Republic despite the fears built up.

Quitéria Guirengane, the party's national representative, told a local newspaper that this was an act of intimidation against the party.

The party also started an initiative for people to send letters of solidarity:

Hoje iniciamos uma corrente de conforto aos familiares e os respectivos presos políticos do ND. Essa corrente, visa a recolha de cartas com mensagens dos membros, amigos… que directa ou indirectamente compartilham da dor da privação da opressão!

Se sente-se tocado por essa situação, mande já a sua carta para um ou todos presos do ND. A carta, pode ser enviada para o nosso “inbox”, whatsapp, email, na nossa sede ou nas outras delegações!

Today we begin a flow of comfort to the families and the respective political prisoners from the ND. This flow aims to collect letters with messages from members, friends… who directly or indirectly share the pain of the deprivation of oppression!

If you are touched by this situation, send your letter to one or all of the ND prisoners now. The letter can be sent to our inbox, whatsapp, email, to our headquarters or to other offices!

Using the hashtag #Gaza18, numerous people reacted to the delegates’ arrests, including the activist Cídia Chissungo:

Join the campaign. Help us to spread the word about the #Gaza18 we won’t allow our indifference and silence to keep the 18 youths detained in the province of Gaza. The women are in an improvised area with 4 spaces eating and doing their needs in the same place and nobody does anything.

He's only 19 and he's already a political prisoner. What was his crime? Not to align with the system and to choose a party that he thought was best for him. What point have we reached?
Let young people decide for themselves. No more oppression.
We demand his immediate freedom #Gaza18

Nelson Machele, a student at Eduardo Mondlane University, also called for more people to join the movement:

Não pode ignorar mais!
Precisamos de si!

Caro amigo, até quando vai fingir que não vê? Nós precisamos de si, ajude-nos a espalhar a mensagem, do mesmo jeito que partilharia se fosse uma comédia ou qualquer outra coisa fútil.

You can't ignore it anymore!
We need you!

Dear friend, how long are you going to pretend you don't see? We need you, help us spread the word, in the same way you would if it were a comedy or some other trivial thing.

Similarly, Ashlenio de Joana reacted on Facebook:

Liberdade aos Presos Políticos

O regime deteve 18Jovens, demonstrou a sua Arrogância, Sua Insensibilidade e escamoteio às Liberdades Democráticas:

• Pelo medo da derrota;
• Pela Intolerância política;
• Pela intolerância ao pensar diferente;
• Pelo seu fracasso;

Presos políticos por temerem a juventude! #LiberdadeJa #Gaza18

Freedom for Political Prisoners

The regime arrested 18 youths, demonstrated their arrogance, their callousness and stole democratic freedoms:

- For fear of defeat;
– For political intolerance;
– For the intolerance of thinking differently;
– For its failure;

Political prisoners because they fear the youth! #FreedomJa #Gaza18

The #Gaza18 campaign reached other African countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo:

Join the #Gaza18 campaign and help us spread the word. Let’s leave behind our indifference and break our silence to demand the liberation of 18 youths arrested in Gaza province in Mozambique and detained in conditions which do not respect their dignity

Free them now | photo used with permission from Nova Democracia party

Similarly, in Uganda people showed support to youths in detention:

#Free18Mz

We join our comrades and civil society to call upon the #Mozambique Government to unconditionally and immediately release the #Gaza18 who were arbitrarily arrested while monitoring the polling station in Chokwé district during the general election. These youth have been detained since 15 october 2019. Justice must be upheld for democracy to prevail @NyusiConfioemti, @DavidKaye @UNHumanRights @UN_SPExperts @ParlamentoMoz

Free them now | photo used with permission from Nova Democracia party

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