Will ceasefire result in improvements for civil society?
A ceasefire between the government and opposition-rebel group RENAMO was welcomed in early May. Since general elections in October 2014 won by the FRELIMO party, Mozambique experienced a renewal of the decade-long military and political conflict between the government and RENAMO. The conflict resulted in worsened conditions for civil society groups operating in central regions of the country, where most hostilities took place. Civil society now hopes that the cessation of violence will improve operating conditions for civic groups.
According Reporters Without borders, Mozambique is now ranked 93rd of 180 countries, dropping six places on the World Press Freedom Index 2017. The drop is a result of increased self-censorship caused by intimidation of journalist by authorities.
At an event to mark World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May 2017, Mozambique’s foreign minister Oldmiro Baloi said that the government wants to see a “free, independent and pluralist media, and is open to providing the media with information on the main problems facing the country.” Media watchdog Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) however emphasised that journalists in Mozambique continue to face harrassment and threats including assassination because of their work.
A private TV station is improving access to information for the deaf by incorporating sign language into every programme. Founder and manager of the new channel Sousa Camanguira said
“We wanted people to understand that we, despite being deaf, can practice the same activities as people with hearing, and even can contribute to the development of the country.”
Local media reported that on the morning of 26th March 2017, protests turned violent near the border with Malawi when a group rioted against Burundian immigrants following the death of a woman. One person was shot at by Mozambican police.