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New Measures to Reduce Road Accidents in Mozambique Are “Right” – Minister

New Measures to Reduce Road Accidents in Mozambique Are “Right” – Minister

The Mozambican Minister of Transport and Communication said today that the new measures to curb road accidents are “right”, after the Bar Association warned that the decisions could result in violation of the fundamental rights of citizens.

“While the concern is the formulation of this or that idea, we cannot lose focus of the objective of our action,” Mateus Magala told the media on the sidelines of a public event in Maputo today.

The Mozambican authorities announced last week a set of measures to curb the high accident rates in the country, with emphasis on the immediate arrest of offending drivers who are involved in accidents that cause deaths.

For the Mozambican Bar Association, the immediate arrest “has no legal framework” and constitutes a “violation of the principle of presumption of innocence,” since, according to the Highway Code, the arrest should be “ordered in a conviction handed down by the competent court.

For the Minister of Transport and Communication, in light of the main objective, the measures are “appropriate and relevant.”

“At some point, not too strong as we wanted,” the Minister of Transport and Communications added.

In addition to immediate detention of the driver in the case of a serious offense, the measures include the revocation of the driver’s license to the offender, who is also to have his vehicle documents seized.

“We were careful to look at the law, look at the Highway Code, and we are aware that we cannot put some measure that is outside the law,” explained Ambrose Sitoe, spokesman for the Ministry of Transport and Communication, at the time of the announcement of the measures.

Meanwhile, according to the Human Rights Commission of the Portuguese Bar Association, the situations described by the Ministry of Transport and Communication are medium and serious contraventions and, according to the Highway Code, are punished with driving prohibition and do not imply immediate imprisonment, “nor the revocation of the driving license, much less the seizure of the car documents.

The Order asks the competent entities to “scrupulously respect the principles of legality and the Democratic Rule of Law, as provided in the Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique,” to avoid promoting measures that may restrict the fundamental rights of citizens.

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According to the Mozambican government, the measures announced also contemplate the revision of speed limits and road signs, especially in points identified as critical.

The rates of road accidents in Mozambique are classified as dramatic by several organizations.

The Mozambican authorities have pointed to speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol as the main causes of accidents.

On average, at least a thousand people die annually on the roads, according to data provided to Lusa by the Mozambican Association for Road Safety Victims (Amviro).

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