By Ebi Kesiena
Mozambique’s Police Chief Bernardino Rafael has denied accusations that officers attempted to assassinate politicians ahead of October’s local elections.
On Monday, Manuel de Araujo, the mayor of the central Mozambican city of Quelimane, and a prominent member of the main opposition party, Renamo, claimed that members of the police were involved in an abortive attempt to assassinate him.
This claim follows a similar one presented two weeks ago by the Mayor of Nampula, Paulo Vahanle, also a member of Renamo. Both are standing for a further term of office in the October elections.
Speaking at the weekend, the police chief Rafael called the accusations false and baseless, saying that they were dreamt up by political parties to distract from their lacking manifestos.
He also said such accusations could harm the leaders and parties themselves because the same police officers they accuse are also voters.
“Leave those politicians who want to turn the police into their opposition, they don’t have the right manifesto, they turn themselves into victims, saying that the police want to murder them. There are politicians who, in order to be applauded, need to spend their entire dictionary badmouthing the police”.
The police, he said, will always exist, even when you are president. There’s no way to extinguish the police, because Mozambicans need it.
“We don’t want to murder anyone”, Rafael insisted, adding that the political parties are only harming themselves.
According to Rafael, the police force is prepared to guarantee public order and tranquility throughout the elections, particularly during the official election campaign that will begin on 26 September.
“Colleagues, we are going to fulfil our plans, our agenda of protecting the motorcades or the candidates at rallies. The politicians are going to have to promote their views. We want the politicians to approach us, tell us their programmes and we’ll go and meet them’’ he said.