SouthernDefenders urges Mozambican authorities to uphold its Constitution and respect citizens rights amid post-elections violent clampdown on protestors
Johannesburg | Maputo
The Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SouthernDefenders) calls on the Mozambican authorities to immediately desist from the emerging practice of harassing, threatening and intimidating human rights defenders and citizen observers post the disputed Mozambican municipal elections held on October 11, 2023. SouthernDefenders further calls for the unconditional and immediate release of all 18 citizen protesters who were detained on October 27 and continue to be held without charge by authorities.
Reports indicate that there has been growing unrest in Mozambique following the official validation of the October 11 election results. This follows allegations by election observers that the election was marred by widespread voter intimidation, ballot stuffing and falsification of results in favour of the ruling party.
On October 27, 2023, over 30 protesters gathered in Maputo in protest of these allegations at which riot police proceeded to disperse the crowds with tear gas and gunshots in the air. This brutal crackdown by the police on a protest against the allegedly fraudulent election resulted in two confirmed deaths and several injuries. The detained protesters are currently being held at Kampfumo District Judicial Court under crowded and inhumane conditions. SouthernDefenders condemns these actions as this state response was heavy-handed and incognisant of the fundamental rights its citizens have to associate, assemble and express themselves.
SouthernDefenders therefore urges Mozambican authorities to;
- Cease the intimidation, threats and harassment of citizens and election observers and safeguard the independence of civil society.
- Strongly condemn the use of excessive force and live ammunition by Mozambique forces on protesters and prosecute those responsible for reported cases of violence and bloodshed.
- Cease systematic manipulation of the electoral process, including systematic voter suppression and tampering with election results, which undermines electoral integrity.
- Uphold and protect the inherent freedoms of association and assembly and ensure an open, inclusive and genuinely democratic electoral process.
- Immediately unconditionally drop all pending charges pending against the detained protesters and desist from weaponizing the legal system to criminalise election observation.
- Ahead of 2024 general elections, implement key electoral reforms and adhere to the letter and spirit of the SADC principles and guidelines governing conduct of democratic elections as well as the AU charter on democracy, elections and governance.
For more information on this issue please contact Washington Katema on firstname.lastname@example.org or +27736202608