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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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.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

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

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.

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


[From Joe Hanlon,]

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
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 and to the campaign at

The following letter from Richard Bourne, Chair. of the Trustee Committee of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, is a possible model:

"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 dropped."


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 pursued.

(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

Your Excellency:

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 unspecified charges.

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 Metical.

We thank your for your attention to this urgent matter and await your response.


Ann Cooper
Executive Director

Mail & Guardian, Johannesburg, 11 Jan 2002

Carlos Cardoso's children face legal battle

Joseph Hanlon

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 quotes Mosse.

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 legal status.

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 media.

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 paper.

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 Mozambique."

Despite the closure of "Metical", Cardoso's children are still liable.

AIM NEWS September 11, 2001


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 the murder.

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 Cassamo.

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 been set.

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 Attorney-General's office.

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 telephone tapping.


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 us.

In a series of 12 articles, I will try to show:
+ how the creation of the banking system left it open to fraud and corruption,
+ how a new elite was able to loot the banking system before privatisation,
+ how the World Bank and IMF actually forced the government to accept corruption,
+ 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.

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