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When politicians legitimate

domestic violence…

by Ana Cristina Monteiro1

 

Published in: Outras Vozes, Suplemento do boletim n° 17, November 2006

 

On 30 July of this year, TVM’s Jornal da Manhã [morning news] informed that a Member of Parliament of the party in power, for the electoral circle of Gaza, had brutally beaten his wife and left her almost dead.

When the spokesperson of the party was asked about the seriousness of this behaviour, which not at all dignifies a human being, and more so if it concerns somebody with responsibility to represent the people, Edson Macuacua responded that in no way this attitude could affect the political career of the Member of Parliament, because this was a matter of an absolutely private nature.

After this communiqué, the issue never more appeared in any media, that means, it remained completely forgotten, to the extent that any citizen who had not been attentive at that moment would never have heard about the matter and many Members of Parliament and party colleagues were in the same situation.

The attitudes of the two Members of Parliament are quite preoccupying and strengthen our ideas that the issue of the fight against domestic violence assumes political contours. Regarding the Member of Parliament aggressor, it is unquestionable that he took this attitude to show his wife or partner that he is stronger and above the law. Could it be true that the immunity and non-liability of a Member of Parliament established in article 174, paragraph 1, and article 175 of the Constitution of the Republic are extended and gain this magnitude?

Our country has ratified several international instruments for the defence of human rights, the most recent one being the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, relative to women’s rights in Africa, obliging the States parties to adopt measures that aim at condemning all harmful practices affecting the fundamental women’s rights.

In the light of these instruments and therefore of the Mozambican Constitution – article 40, human rights should be guaranteed to all citizens irrespective of sex, so that the justification of the Member of Parliament Edson Macuacua is rather outdated, and it is a shame that it is given by somebody who is a Member of Parliament. Through this example we understand why it is that some Members of Parliament already express themselves against the bill against domestic violence, when this has not even been presented yet to Parliament!

What does the press say?

A few days after the information had been transmitted in the TVM news broadcast, a short piece appeared in the Zambeze weekly, of 3 August 2006, with the following title: “In Macia: Frelimo member of Parliament fires against the lorry of his rival”. The facts reported confirm more or less what was already known, although it is clarified that the “fiancée” of the Member of Parliament had not been injured:

  • The Member of Parliament used a firearm to force his “fiancée” to confess with whom she had a love case;
  • The Member of Parliament threatened the drivers of a company, among which presumably his rival would be present, and fired his weapon;
  • The shots of the firearm caused panic in Macia village, making people to abandon their houses and take refuge in the centre of the village.

We didn’t find any other reference to this case in the media.
Note:

  1. Lawyer, WLSA Mozambique.
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Pesquisa

WLSA Moçambique

 

WLSA

 

Mulher e Lei na África Austral - Moçambique