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confidentially speaking

The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 19th April 2018

Critics targeted in Maputo

Blue Lines

Mozambican journalist and lawyer Ericino de Salema was kidnapped in broad daylight in the capital Maputo on 27 March, beaten unconscious and abandoned by the roadside with severely fractured limbs. Salema's abduction bore similarities to the kidnapping in May 2016 of respected academic José Jaime Macuane. Both were commentators on independent TV station STV's 'Points of View,' and had been critical of Frelimo's poor governance.

Local media figures are now pressuring Attorney General Beatriz Buchili to act over the recent escalation of politically motivated attacks and assassinations. No case has yet been solved, and critics say the only explanation is collusion by public officials. After nearly two years without tangible progress in the investigation into his abduction, Macuane has finally spoken publicly about his ordeal, noting that one of his kidnappers showed him a police badge.

President Filipe Nyusi has maintained a deafening silence. After a bitter defeat in the recent Nampula by-election, Frelimo is increasingly concerned about next year's general election.

Prior to his attack, Salema criticised the extravagant delinquency of Nyusi's 20-year old son Florindo, who made local headlines for violating traffic laws during late-night jaunts in his luxury cars. On 17 April, Nyusi spoke at London's Chatham House about inclusive development. Critics say his commitment to that cause is questionable, given his son's attitudes to official impunity and entitlement.