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Parliament Approves Specific Regime to Fight Terrorism

Parliament Approves Specific Regime to Fight Terrorism

The Mozambican Parliament approved this Thursday, May 19, the revision of the law on the specific anti-terrorism regime, with the votes in favor of Frelimo, the ruling party, and against Renamo, the main opposition party.

The Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM), the third party, abstained in the vote on the rule, maintaining a position it had already taken in the general vote on Wednesday.

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The Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), with 60 of the 250 deputies in the chamber, voted against the law, as it opposed the eight to 12 years prison sentence applied “to those who intentionally disseminate information that a terrorist act has been or is likely to be committed, knowing that the information is false.

“We want the proponent [of the law, the government] to remove paragraph 2 of article 19 and the rest remains because, in fact, the law is timely,” said Arnaldo Chaláua, MP and spokesman for the Renamo caucus.

On Wednesday, the non-governmental organization Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) had already criticized that article, even considering that it violates the constitutional precepts on freedom of the press and freedom of expression.

“This provision is very subjective and subject to various interpretations regarding the notion of falsity of the information broadcast about a presumed terrorist action,” MISA noted in a statement.

The MDM bench, with six seats in parliament, considered some aspects of the law a step backwards for the democratic rule of law, noting that the rule represses fundamental rights and freedoms.

“We do not approve, in the name of Mozambique, because we believe that together and cohesively we represent the hope of a democratic and developed Mozambique where everyone has a voice,” said Silvério Ronguane of the MDM.

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Jovial Cetina, MP for the Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo), the party with the majority (184 MPs), considered the norm opportune for the prevention and combat of terrorism.

The revision of the specific regime for preventing and combating terrorism comes at a time when the province of Cabo Delgado, rich in natural gas, is terrorized (since 2017) by armed rebels, with some attacks being claimed by the extremist group Islamic State.

There are 784,000 internally displaced people due to the conflict, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and some 4,000 deaths, according to the ACLED conflict registration project.

Since July 2021, an offensive by government troops, with support from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has allowed areas where there was a rebel presence to recover.

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