Mozambique: Assembly Refuses to Postpone Sitting

Maputo — The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, is insisted that its forthcoming sitting will begin, as scheduled, on 25 March – even though it clearly violates the government guideline that no meetings of more than 300 people should be held for fear of the spread of the respiratory disease Covid-19, caused by the new coronavirus first detected in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Although no cases at all of Covid-19 have yet been diagnosed in Mozambique, the government is taking no chances, and among the measures announced by President Filipe Nyusi on Saturday is a ban on meetings of more than 300 people.

There are always more than 300 people at a parliamentary sitting. In addition to the 250 deputies themselves, there are support staff, caterers and security, a large number of media personnel, and invited guests, including members of the government.

A spokesperson for the Assembly, Oriel Chemane, on Monday merely said there would be “extraordinary measures” to meet the challenges imposed by the Coronavirus threat.

He did not say what these might be, only that a working group has been set up to propose measures. “Internal work is being done to see how the sitting will be organised”, he said.

Elsewhere in the country, events are simply being cancelled. Thus the governor of Maputo province, Julio Parruque has scrapped a planned visit to Boane district, since this would certainly attract crowds of over 300.

Lurio University has cancelled the inaugural lectures planned for its northern delegations in Pemba and Mozambique Island.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique