Mozambique: Former Renamo Deputy Found Murdered

Maputo — The body of Sofrimento Matequenha, a former parliamentary deputy for Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, has been found in the Pindanganga region of Gondola district, in the central province of Manica, according to a Sunday report on the independent television station, STV.

According to his son, Almirante Matequenha, the body, in an advanced state of decomposition, was found two weeks after ten men had abducted him from his home. Almirante Matequenha said the local people who found the body told him it showed signs of torture.

Because of its decaying condition, the body was swiftly buried. The family now wants to exhume the body, so that Matequenha can be given a decent funeral in the Manica provincial capital, Chimoio.

But Pindanganga is an area of conflict between the dissident Renamo Military Junta, and the Mozambican Defence and Security Forces. The family have asked for protection from the defence forces while they disinter the corpse, and carry it to Chimoio.

This request seems to have been granted. “What I can say now is that the authorities are helping us to remove the body, so that we can hold a decent funeral”, said the victim’s brother, Castinho Matequenha.

Matequenha had also been a Manica Provincial Delegate for Renamo. He had enemies in Renamo who accused him of conspiring with the ruling Frelimo Party, and of “selling” Renamo votes.

After the municipal elections of 2018, rioting broke out in Chimoio because Renamo supporters wanted to lynch Matequenha and four other Renamo officials.

The protestors claimed that Matequenha and the others had received 50 million meticais (about 676,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates) to support the appointment of Manuel Macocove as the Renamo mayoral candidate in Chimoio. Macocove was clearly not a consensual choice, and Renamo lost the election to Frelimo.

The Renamo protestors, one of them evidently drunk, told STV that the officials had “sold votes” to Frelimo.

Matequenha suffered serious injuries from the blows inflicted by his fellow Renamo members, and the police intervention may have saved his life. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse the crowd gathered outside the Renamo office in the Soalpo neighbourhood of Chimoio.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique