Friday, September 11, 2015


Resultado de imagem para CONSTITUTIONAL da república MOÇAMBIQUEMozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, has submitted a constitutional amendment to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, which would strip the President of his right to choose provincial governors.According to Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the Renamo bill containing its constitutional amendments was submitted on 31 July, immediately before the close of an Assembly sitting.It has been distributed to the deputies, and to the Assembly’s working commission so that they can provide written opinions. The matter is thus likely to figure on the agenda for the next Assembly sitting which begins in October.The Renamo amendment states that the provincial governors will be proposed by the elected provincial assemblies, and then formally appointed by the President of the Republic. Under the current system, the President’s hands are free, and he can appoint whoever he likes.Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has demanded the right to govern six northern and central provinces where he claims Renamo won the October 2014 general and provincial elections. But in fact Renamo only won outright majorities in three of the ten provincial assemblies (in Sofala, Zambezia and Tete). In those provinces, the assemblies could certainly be expected to propose a Renamo candidate as governor.But in the Nampula there was a tie. Renamo and Frelimo each won 46 seats in the provincial assembly. This means that the sole Assembly member from the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) might decide who becomes governor, if the Renamo constitutional amendment is passed.In Manica province, although Dhlakama won a narrow majority in the presidential election, Frelimo won the provincial election, with 40 seats in the assembly to 39 for Renamo and one for the MDM. As for the sixth province, Niassa, Dhlakama’s claim to victory is bogus. Frelimo won in the presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections. In the Niassa assembly, Frelimo holds 42 seats to 34 for Renamo and four for the MDM. The Assembly would thus almost certainly propose a Frelimo candidate for governor.In the other four provinces (Cabo Delgado, Inhambane, Gaza and Maputo), Frelimo enjoys a comfortable majority in the Assemblies. Maputo City is both a province and a municipality – and since the Municipal Assembly covers the entire territory, there is no provincial assembly in the city.The Renamo constitutional amendment also seeks to change the article on types of municipality, adding the specific category of “provincial municipality”. A Renamo bill seeking to establish immediately “provincial municipalities” in the six provinces it claims was thrown out by parliament in April, on the grounds that the bill violated the Constitution in multiple places. The Renamo amendment seeks to remedy at least some of the faults in its earlier bill.Strangely enough, neither Dhlakama, nor any other Renamo leader, has made any public mention of the proposed constitutional amendment in the weeks since it was submitted. Instead, Dhlakama has continued to threaten that he will govern the provinces he wants “by force”.
Renamo’s attitude to the Constitution has changed dramatically. In the late 1990s, there was an attempt to move away from a presidential to a semi-presidential system of government. Frelimo and Renamo parliamentary deputies were united in proposing to separate the posts of head or state and head of government, reduce the powers of the president, and increase those of the prime minister and of parliament.From 1996 to 1999 this was all uncontroversial – until the Renamo parliamentary group, clearly acting under instructions from Dhlakama, performed a volte-face, and demanded the reinstatement of all the presidential powers it had previously claimed were excessive. The new Renamo position was expressed at its clearest by the late David Alone, who declared “In Africa the chief rules. Everything else is cheap philosophy”.Since changing the constitution requires a two thirds majority, which Frelimo could not muster on its own, the 1999 draft amendments were aborted. In 2004, much more modest amendments produced the current constitution, leaving the powers of the President of the Republic unchanged.In the last legislature (2010 to 2014), an ad-hoc commission was set up to draft constitutional amendments. Renamo submitted no amendments at all, and instead boycotted the commission.Only now, in the wake of its defeat in the October 2015 elections, has Renamo decided it wants to amend the constitution, and restrict presidential power.

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