Monday, March 2, 2015


Prominent Mozambican academic and expert in constitutional law, Gilles Cistac, is attempting to sue a man using the pseudonym “Calado Calachnikov” who has libeled him on social media.Cistac, cited in the latest issue of the independent weekly “Savana”, said he will approach the Attorney-General’s Office in order to move criminal proceedings against “Calachnikov”.Cistac has ingeniously argued that the demand for “autonomous provinces”, raised by Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, can be reconciled with the Mozambican constitution, if each province is regarded as a large municipality.Dhlakama grasped at this argument as a life-jacket, and quietly abandoned his previous demand for a secessionist “Republic of Central and Northern Mozambique”.But Cistac’s interpretation of the Constitution was enough to earn him vituperation on Facebook – particularly from “Calachnikov”, who called him a “French spy” and suggested that he had obtained Mozambican nationality fraudulently.This was too much for Cistac, who regarded these insults as an affront to his honour and good name. Cistac told “Savana” that from commentators such as “Calachnikov” he had already experienced “signs of political and academic intolerance and even racism. I ignored them but now they are accusing me of criminal acts. I think this has gone far enough. I have to act. I cannot allow this group of criminals to carry on staining my name”.
Resultado de imagem para Gilles CistacCistac said he had expressed his opinions in the belief that Mozambique is a democratic society where the debate of ideas is a healthy practice that can only strengthen democracy. But he regarded the shower of insults he had received as “an assault against democracy and against the construction of the democratic rule of law”.Cistac pointed out that he has lived and worked in Mozambique since 1993.He has worked as an adviser to ministers – including Aguiar Mazula, when he was Minister of State Administration and then Minister of Defence under President Joaquim Chissano, and later the former Tourism Minister Fernando Sumbana. He also advised the Administrative Tribunal (the body that oversees the legality of public expenditure).Cistac believed he had made a significant contribution to the training of Mozambican jurists and declared “I believe in full certainty that there is no province and no university that does not have jurists in whose training I played a part”.Cistac’s attempted law suit clearly faces difficulties in that the man he wants to sue is hiding behind a pseudonym. Nonetheless he believed that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has the means to unmask criminals who use false names as their shield.He said he would requests “exemplary punishment”, and suggested that compensation for damages of between 50,000 and 100,000 US dollars would be appropriate.

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