Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Unknown gunmen on Tuesday morning attempted to assassinate prominent Mozambican academic and expert in constitutional law, Gilles Cistac, in broad daylight in a central Maputo thoroughfare.According to reports reaching AIM, at least three bullets struck Cistac, as he was being driven along Eduardo Mondlane Avenue in the heart of the city. He is currently undergoing intensive care in Maputo Central Hospital.Cistac is of French origin and is a naturalized Mozambican citizen. 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 has also advised the Administrative Tribunal (the body that oversees the legality of public expenditure).Last week Cistac announced his intention of taking legal action against a pseudonymous writer who had libeled him on Facebook. This man, using the name “Calado Calachnikov”, called him a “French spy” and suggested that he had obtained Mozambican nationality fraudulently.Cistac regarded these insults as an affront to his honour and good name. Interviewed in the latest issue of the independent weekly “Savana”, he said 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”.Cistac’s attempted law suit clearly faced 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.“Calachnikov”’s unhinged vitriol against Cistac arose from Cistac’s argument 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”.

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