Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!
Print this page
Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action
from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived
document may not work.
Mozambique: Press Freedom
Mozambique: Press Freedom
Date distributed (ymd): 020116
Document reposted by Africa Action
Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information
service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa
Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American
Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for
Africa at http://www.africaaction.org
Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+
This posting contains an appeal for letters concerning a court case
against the children of the assassinated Mozambican journalist
Carlos Cardoso, brought by the son of Mozambican president Joaquim
Chissano, as well as several other documents related to the
background to the case which involves articles written by a
journalist at "Metical," Cardoso's newspaper which ceased
publication at the end of last year.
See also, on the climate for the press in Mozambique since
Cardoso's assassination in November, 2000:
Committee to Protect Journalists
CPJ Delegation Finds Fear in Mozambique Press
July 19, 2001
Much additional background, in Portuguese and English, can be
found at Moçambique On-Line (
Another posting today has information on intensified threats to
press freedom in Zimbabwe and protests by Zimbabwean journalists.
APPEAL FOR LETTERS TO DEFEND PRESS FREEDOM IN MOZAMBIQUE
[From Joe Hanlon, firstname.lastname@example.org]
The children of the assassinated Mozambican journalist Carlos
Cardoso are to be brought to court on 21 January by Nhimpine
Chissano, son of President Joaquim Chissano. He is demanding
$78,000 from the children -- enough to bankrupt the family. The
case will come to court before that of Cardoso's alleged killers.
To bring this action now, so soon after Cardoso's murder, is
having a further chilling effect on freedom of the press, and can
only further damage the image of Mozambique.
The Commonwealth Press Union and the Commonwealth Human Rights
Initiative are appealing to all friends of Mozambique and
supporters of a free press to write to Prime Minister Pascoal
Mocumbi to urge him to use his influence on the President's
family to drop the action against Carlos Cardoso's children.
Letters should be sent to
Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi
Gabinete do Primeiro Ministro:
Praca da Marinha Popular, Maputo
either by email on email@example.com
or by fax to 258-1-42 68 81
Copies of letters should also be sent to President Joaquim
Chissano's press attache Bento Baloi at firstname.lastname@example.org and to
the campaign at email@example.com
The following letter from Richard Bourne, Chair. of the Trustee
Committee of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, is a
"I write to express concern at current legal proceedings in
Mozambique. It is our understanding that the murderers of the
distinguished journalist, Carlos Cardoso, have yet to be brought
to trial. His work as editor-proprietor of "Metical" was admired
throughout the Commonwealth, and I knew him personally. At the
same time his young heirs are being pursued through the courts by
Sr Nhimpine Chissano, a businessman son of President Chissano, in
a way that could be ruinous for the family. This conjunction is
giving anxiety to friends of Mozambique everywhere, and I hope
that you will pass on our view, to the relevant authorities, that
serious damage is being done to the country's image. We would
wish to see the alleged murderers brought to trial as soon as
possible, and any case against the innocent Cardoso children
BACKGROUND TO THE CASE
Carlos Cardoso, Mozambique's best investigative journalist, was
editor and proprietor of the faxed daily "Metical". He was
investigating extensive corruption in two privatised banks, which
appear to involve very senior people, when he was gunned down in
a mafia-style assassination during the rush hour on 22 November
2000. There was no investigation of the crime until international
pressure was brought on the government. Six people have now been
charged for actually carrying out the murder, but it is widely
believed that those who ordered the killing have not been
(Later, Antonio Siba-Siba Macuacua, Mozambique's director of the
department of banking supervision, began his own investigations.
He was assassinated on 11 August 2001. Investigations have been
dilatory and there have been no arrests.)
Because Cardoso was sole owner of "Metical", the ownership of the
newspaper passed to his two young children, Ibo and Milena, aged
12 and 6. The family kept the paper open after the murder, Carlos
Cardoso's' widow Nina Berg said, because it regarded this as "a
civic duty imposed on us by a significant part of society.
Unfortunately, this also implied that the two children would be
legally and financially responsible for the paper".
This became a real, rather than a theoretical, problem, when
businessman Nhimpine Chissano, son of President Joaquim Chissano,
sued "Metical" and its acting editor, Marcelo Mosse, for articles
published in February 2001. One article was published in
"Metical", but Chissano's action attempts to make "Metical", and
thus the children, liable to an article in the Johannesburg "Mail
and Guardian" which simply quotes Mosse, and for an article
written by Mosse in his own name in the Lisbon "Expresso".
The Mozambican courts will decide the merits of the case against
Marcelo Mosse. But the inclusion of "Metical" in the case by a
member of the President's family will be seen by many as callous
and having a chilling effect on the press. Whatever the merits of
the case, "Metical" and its staff were struggling to survive and
publish as newspaper after the brutal killing of a courageous and
hard-working editor. A legal action can only further penalise the
newspaper for the death of its editor. More serious, any action
against the newspaper is an action against the owners, who are
two young children who have already lost their father. "Metical"
has now closed, but the children remain liable.
More information on the case, in Portuguese, can be obtained on
More information on the case, in English, has been circulated by
Committee to Protect Journalists
January 16, 2001
His Excellency Joaquim Alberto Chissano
President of the Republic of Mozambique
Avenida Julius Nyerere 2000
Caixa Postal 285 Maputo, Mozambique
Via Fax: 011-258-492068
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) is writing to protest
the ongoing prosecution of Marcelo Mosse, formerly chief reporter
for the now defunct daily Metical, on criminal defamation charges.
Your son, Nympine Chissano, filed charges against Mosse and Metical
over a February 21 Metical article reporting that Nympine was
briefly detained in South Africa, around February 15, on
In a written denial sent to Metical in March, Nympine Chissano's
lawyer threatened legal action against the newspaper, declaring
that his client was not detained and had "never transported
cocaine or other substances forbidden by law inside or outside the
country," according to AIM, the Mozambican state news service.
However, all sources interviewed by CPJ concur that the Metical
story did not mention cocaine or any other illegal substance. That
allegation first appeared in the Johannesburg Mail and Guardian
under the byline of a South African journalist. Marcelo Mosse later
repeated the allegation in the Portuguese weekly Expresso, for
which he is the correspondent in Mozambique.
The next hearing is scheduled for January 21. Nympine Chissano is
seeking damages of US$80,000 from Mosse and Metical, said CPJ
sources in Maputo. A guilty verdict could also result in a jail
sentence for the journalist.
It is self-evident that Metical cannot be liable for allegations
that it did not publish. For this reason alone, Nympine Chissano's
case has absolutely no merit. It is also outrageous that your son
is pursuing criminal charges in a defamation case. Civil penalties
provide adequate redress for individuals who feel they have been
defamed; journalists should never be jailed for what they write,
publish, or broadcast.
Metical, which closed its doors in late December 2001, was the
property of its founder and first editor, Carlos Cardoso, who was
murdered, gangland style, on November 22, 2000. After Cardoso's
death, ownership of the paper passed to Cardoso's two underage
children, Ibo and Milena, under the legal supervision of their
mother, Nina Berg. In the worst-case scenario, the court could jail
Mosse and bankrupt the Cardoso family.
Given the evident absurdity of the legal case against Mosse and
Metical, we hope that your son will drop all pending charges.
Failing that, we urge Your Excellency to take all legal measures
within your power to halt the prosecution of Marcelo Mosse and
We thank your for your attention to this urgent matter and await
Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg, 11 Jan 2002
Carlos Cardoso's children face legal battle
Ibo Cardoso, the 12-year old son of the assassinated Mozambican
"Metical" editor Carlos Cardoso, told his mother last month not to
buy him any Christmas presents. He is afraid that the family will
be left penniless after President Joaquim Chissano's son Nhimpine
takes the family to court
Ibo and his six-year old sister Milena inherited the paper after
their father was gunned down on a Maputo street on November 22
2000. Cardoso was Mozambique's best investigative journalist and he
did most of the work on Metical. The remaining staff tried to keep
the faxed daily running, but were not capable of maintaining
Cardoso's standards, and the newspaper closed on 27 December 2001.
Chissano is suing Marcelo Mosse, who as acting editor tried to hold
the newspaper together, for defamation. Chissano cites articles
written by Mosse and published in "Metical" and Portugal-based
"Expresso" last year, and an article in the "Mail & Guardian" that
Chissano is also suing Metical, and thus Ibo and Milena, claiming
they are liable for the Expresso and M&G articles. The trial begins
on 21 January.
This week the Commonwealth Press Union and the Commonwealth Human
Rights Initiative appealed for supporters of a free press to write
to Mozambique's Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi to urge him to use
his influence on President Chissano's family to drop the action
against the children.
In a letter to the Foreign Minister, Leonardo Simao, the
chairperson. of the Trustee Committee of the Commonwealth Human
Rights Initiative, Richard Bourne, noted Cardoso's "young heirs are
being pursued through the courts" by the President's son before the
murderers of Cardoso have been brought to trial.
Cardoso's widow, Nina Berg, said "it was a shock for the family to
find that Carlos Cardoso's two children and one of his main
collaborators were the first to be put in the dock. This is a
grotesque injustice. First, Milena and Ibo lose their father,
murdered by a terrorist gang. Now they are called to appear as
defendants in a court, before their father's assassins are".
After Cardoso was killed, Berg came under pressure from civil
society to keep "Metical" running, makring the two children would
be legally and financially responsible for the paper. News of
Nhimpine Chissano's court battle prompted her to try to change the
Berg offered to sell the newspaper to the staff, but they declined
to make an offer. Instead, they accepted $40,000 in compensation,
and the newspaper closed.
In part this reflects what the New York-based Committee for the
Protection of Journalists called a " climate of fear" in the Maputo
In an investigation last year, the CPJ found that after Cardoso's
murder, Mozambican journalists were afraid to investigate
corruption stories involving highly placed people. In that climate,
and with President Chissano giving his blessing to his son's legal
action against "Metical", no group was brave enough to buy the
As the two Commonwealth bodies note, "to bring this action now, so
soon after Cardoso's murder, is having a further chilling effect on
freedom of the press, and can only further damage the image of
Despite the closure of "Metical", Cardoso's children are still
AIM NEWS September 11, 2001
CARDOSO MURDER: SIX ACCUSED TO STAND TRIAL
Maputo, 11 Sept (AIM) - A trial in the case of last November's
assassination of Mozambique's best-known journalist, Carlos
Cardoso, editor of the independent newsheet "Metical", now looks
certain, with the investigating magistrate indicting six people for
Some of the accused have been in detention since late February,
some since March: after six months of further investigations and
interrogations, the magistrate has decided that there is sufficient
evidence against the six for the case to go to trial.
The dispatch from the magistrate, issued on Monday, names
businessman Ayob Abdul Satar and former bank manager Vicente Ramaya
as those who will stand trial for ordering Cardoso's murder.
Those accused of carrying out the murder are Satar's brother,
Momade Assife Abdul Satar (who is believed to have provided the
gun, an AK-47 assault rifle), Anibal Antonio dos Santos Junior
(known as "Anibalzinho"), Manuel Fernandes, and Carlitos Rachid
These four men are also accused of the attempted murder of
Cardoso's driver, Carlos Manjate (who was seriously injured, but
survived the attack), and of the illegal possession of firearms. A
further count against Anibalzinho and Fernandes is that of car
theft - the red Citi-Golf used in the assassination was stolen.
The magistrate also decreed that all six of the accused are to
remain in detention until the trial, the date for which has not yet
The Abdul Satar family and Vicente Ramaya are key figures in one of
the country's largest banking scandals - the theft of 144 billion
meticais (14 million US dollars at the exchange rate of the time)
from the Commercial Bank of Mozambique (BCM) on the eve of its
privatisation in 1996.
Ramaya was the manager of the BCM branch where the fraud took
place, and most of the money passed through fraudulent accounts
opened in the names of six members of the Abdul Satar family.
Although all had been accused of the crime in 1996, the case did
not come to trial thanks to serious corruption within the
Cardoso had tenaciously followed this scandal, and his was one of
the strongest voices demanding that those who defrauded the BCM
must be brought to justice. He was also investigating other
allegations against the Satars - including loansharking and illegal
KILLING THE GOOSE
THAT LAID THE GOLDEN EGGS
Series of articles on Mozambique Bank Scandal by Joe Hanlon
More than $400 million went missing from the banking system in the
1990s. Carlos Cardoso and Ant¢nio Siba-Siba Macu cua were
assassinated to stop us from knowing how much was stolen, who took
it, and how the theft was done.
All countries use banks politically. In Mozambique, the banks were
used to build socialism, to keep the country running during the
war, and then in the new capitalist era to promote local
entrepreneurs and keep the economy out of foreign hands.
And a lot of money was simply stolen by foreign and domestic
businessmen and bankers. Many hands were in the honey pot.
There may be a difference between stealing money and promoting a
new elite, but the people who killed Cardoso and Siba-Siba were
clearly convinced that they would be unable to publicly justify
taking money and that enough money had been taken to justify at
least two deaths.
They will probably succeed in ensuring we never know the details.
But that makes it even more important to review what we do know,
and put it into context. This study is based on interviews with
bankers and others who know the Mozambican banking scene. They did
not want to be identified, and they are not now involved with
either BCM or Banco Austral. Banco de Mo‡ambique refused to talk to
In a series of 12 articles, I will try to show:
+ how the creation of the banking system left it open to fraud and
+ how a new elite was able to loot the banking system before
+ how the World Bank and IMF actually forced the government to
+ how the bank privatisations were political and involved important
families linked to high party and state officials, and
+ how both bank privatisations were dubious and were used by
Mozambicans and foreign partners for further theft.
The 11 parts will cover the following:
1) Socialist banking
2) The post-Samora era
3) Forced privatisation of the state banks
4) Privatisation of BCM
5) Privatisation of BPD
6) Collapse of both banks
7) Who would take Banco Austral?
8a) Using accounting to steal
8b) The Mt 144 bn fraud
9) Money laundering
10) Stealing from foreign accounts
11) Concluding thoughts
There will be no revelations and little that is new. But by
bringing together what we already know, I hope to show that growing
greed eventually killed the goose that laid the golden eggs. In the
end, the political elite lost control of the banks. Far from
Mozambican empowerment, the result has been foreign control of the
banking system. (Joseph Hanlon)
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by
Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information
Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa).
Africa Action's information services provide accessible
information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and
international policies toward Africa that advance economic,
political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.