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Mozambique Democracy and Rights

Democracy and rights

Close links between the government party and the state apparatus undermine democracy in Mozambique. In 2018, however, a step was taken towards a greater influence for the opposition.

Although multi-party democracy, freedom of speech and access to justice are guaranteed in the constitution, Mozambique is not a functioning democracy. Although the opposition formally holds a relatively strong position in Parliament, it has no real political influence as a result of how the rules for decision-making and accountability are formulated. The latest election was bordered by violence and accusations of cheating from the opposition.

  • Countryaah: Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Mozambique, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.

The opposition has long demanded a decentralization of power and in 2018 a change was implemented which means that the governors of the country's provinces will henceforth be appointed by the party that wins the regional elections. Previously, all the governors were appointed by the president. The change is expected to benefit democratic development in the country in the long run.

Democracy and Human Rights of MozambiqueTorture, arbitrary arrests and executions without judicial review have been documented. There are also reports that police and government officials threatened and harassed members of the opposition.

Freedom of assembly and association is guaranteed in the constitution. However, the right to participate in peaceful demonstrations is often restricted by the state which has the opportunity to refuse permission.

Civil society can usually act freely, but organizations that are critical of the government can have problems.

The Constitution prohibits discrimination on grounds of gender and 40 percent of the members of parliament were women in 2018. But women are still financially discriminated against and every third woman aged 15 to 49 say they have been subjected to violence by their partner. Mozambique is ranked 49th in the World Economic Forum's Index of Gender Equality in 149 Countries 2018.

After the adoption of new criminal law legislation in 2014, same-sex relationships are not illegal, but homosexuality is still a sensitive issue in rural areas. Freedom of religion prevails both in the constitution and in practice.

Since the fall of 2017, radical Islamists have carried out violent attacks in the province of Cabo Delgado. The attacks had claimed more than 200 lives in 2019.

Corruption is widespread at all levels of society and legislation against corruption is deficient with many loopholes. In Transparency International's index of perceived corruption in 2019, Mozambique is ranked 146 out of 180 (see ranking list here). Following pressure from major donors, several corruption investigations against other former ministers have begun, previously it has been common for corruption investigations to be stopped from a political point of view.

Freedom of expression and media

The Constitution establishes the right to freedom of expression, but in practice the right is limited. Violation of senior officials or to slander the Prime Minister or the President is considered a security breach and can result in fines and imprisonment for up to two years.

Many journalists apply self-censorship, and those who are critical of the government may suffer badly. In 2018, a journalist who was criticized against the government was kidnapped and beaten. The same year, the authorities proposed that an annual fee be introduced for all media. For some media it would entail a cost of tens of thousands of kronor. The proposal is postponed in the future following protests.

In 2019, the human rights organization, Human Rights Watch, accused the government of trying to intimidate, imprison and prosecute journalists who are watching the government forces fight to stop the Islamist uprising in the province of Delgado. Reporters Without Borders places Mozambique in place 103 in its ranking of freedom of the press in 180 countries in 2019. That's four places down compared to 2018.

Judicial system and legal security

The government's influence over the judiciary erodes the legal security in the country. The President has considerable power to appoint high legal representatives and the Supreme Court is dependent on funding decided by the Minister of Finance. The World Justice Project ranks Mozambique at 108th in its index of the rule of law in 126 countries in 2019.

Political control also influences the work of the police. There are shortcomings when it comes to putting people accountable for abuses such as assault and arbitrary detention. There are also reports of ill-treatment and also fatalities in connection with police interventions.

The country's prisons are overcrowded and the conditions there are very poor. The death penalty was abolished in 1990.

2010

December

WikiLeaks publishes documents on Mozambique

According to secret US documents published by WikiLeaks, Mozambique has become a leading drug trafficking center.

September

Violent rattles in Maputo

Hunger cravings are breaking out in Maputo and its slums after prices of bread and fuel have risen. Police open fire on protesters, and 14 people are killed and over 440 injured in the violence. According to eyewitnesses, the police shoot with ammunition, but this is denied by the authorities.

February

Former minister is sentenced to prison

Former Minister of Transport Antonio Munguambe is sentenced to 20 years in prison for embezzling large sums from state-run airport company ADM. The verdict is seen as a success for the country's fragile justice system.


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