On May 5, the Mozambican parliament announced the approval of a package of benefits for those working at the chamber, which attracted a lot of criticism, given that the minimum wage has not been updated for over two years.
The new package includes holiday and meal allowances, and subsidies for buying formal clothes. Other Mozambican civil servants, though, do not enjoy these benefits, according to the General Statute of Civil Servants (EGFAE).
Employees of the Assembly of the Republic will also be able to move from one professional career to another without having to pass a public exam.
The announcement was criticized by many Mozambicans. Some university students went to protest in the streets, but were prevented from doing so by the local police:
Onde eu queria estar hoje cedo ✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾✊🏾
Parabéns a todo/as jovens que foram à rua manifestar
Pátria amada, vamos vencer 🇲🇿 pic.twitter.com/irf3GFORWB
— Aly Caetano (@Aly_Caetano) May 11, 2021
Where I wanted to be earlier today
Congratulations to all the young people who took to the streets to protest.
Beloved homeland, we're going to win
A young man was arrested at the demonstration, and released hours later, which sparked another wave of indignation on social media:
Não era um grupo de marginais pretendendo vandalizar alguma instituição pública ou privada.
— Ignatius🎓 (@cutee_ducking) May 11, 2021
It wasn't a group of thugs planning to vandalize some public or private institution.
They were young people exercising a right that is innate to them by the simple fact of being people. The right to protest is a fundamental right.
Image: Article 51
They attacked the wrong target
Freedom for Valdo now!
On the same day as the protest, a public petition was delivered asking the parliament to annul the benefits’ approval:
Terça-feira | 11 de Maio de 2021
09H30 | Em frente à Assembleia da República pic.twitter.com/UpXsJUdiek
— FMO (@FMO_Moz) May 10, 2021
#PETITION AGAINST THE APPROVAL OF #RIGHTS AND BENEFITS OF PARLIAMENTARY EMPLOYEES AND OFFICIALS
Tuesday | 11 May 2021
09H30 | In front of the Assembly of the Republic
Following this, the parliament decided to postpone discussion of the new statute for its employees to a date yet to be announced.
It should be noted that last year, as COVID-19 spread in the country, many Mozambicans also criticized the Assembly of the Republic for having approved an operating budget that included the payment of a “reintegration subsidy” — an amount to be paid to parliamentarians at the end of their mandate.
Before that, in 2014, there was the approval of a law providing benefits to the president and parliamentarians after the end of their mandate, which led to the creation of a protest page on Facebook called “Deputados de Luxo” (Luxury Lawmakers). This also resulted in public protests at the time.