Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The French government on Tuesday expressed its willingness to assist in investigations leading to the arrest of those who murdered lawyer Gilles Cistac in central Maputo last week. Cistac was shot outside a café in broad daylight on 3 March. Although he was rushed to hospital, he did not survive his injuries, and died after a four hour operation. Cistac held dual French and Mozambican nationality. At the funeral ceremonies, held in the Cultural Centre of the Eduardo Mondlane University, where he had been a lecturer, the charge d’affaires at the French Embassy, Cyril Gerardon, told the mourners that the French government is determined to help Cistac’s family as far as it can, “particularly in the legal process, in the hope that the truth will be uncovered as quickly as possible about those who carried out the assassination, and those who ordered it”.Gerardon, speaking before an audience which included Cistac’s parents and daughter, made it clear that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius will raise the Cistac murder when he meets his Mozambican counterpart, Oldemiro Baloi, in Paris on Thursday. The invitation for Baloi to visit France was made long before the assassination, but the death of Cistac has put it in an entirely new context.He stressed that Cistac’s love for Mozambique was such that he had become a naturalized Mozambican citizen. “He defended respect for the Constitution and laws of this country, and nothing more”, said Gerardon. “He wanted debate, not combat. He was a bond of union between Mozambique and France”. 
The UEM Vice-Chancellor, Orlando Quilambo, told the ceremony “there are no words that can express the human and academic dimension of Gilles Cistac, who served the university for 22 years”.The University, he pledged, would hold the memory of Cistac in “a very special place in the pantheon of its best teachers, because of the concern he always expressed for the students and his unfailing willingness to support the other staff”.Speaking for Mozambican civil society, environmental activist Alda Salomao said Cistac ws a mirror of social justice and an example to follow in the search for values to guide society.
Marcha Cistac (1)“The words of Cistac are liberating”, she said. “Those who killed him have threatened all free Mozambicans”. No official government spokesperson addressed the ceremony. Among the thousand or so mourners, the only government members spotted were the Minister of Industry and Trade, Max Tonela, and the Deputy Minister of Education, Armindo Ngunga.Cistac’s body will be flown to France on Thursday, where he will be buried in his home town of Toulouse.
Cistac was born in Toulouse in 1961. He first came to Mozambique in 1993 to teach administrative law at the UEM. He rose to become an associate professor, and one of Mozambique’s main experts on constitutional and administrative law. He was granted Mozambican nationality in 2010.He worked as a consultant with a large number of Mozambican and foreign organisations, including the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, the Administrative Tribunal, the Ministries of Defence, Tourism and State Administration, and the World Bank.

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