Attempt to expel journalist Tom Bowker was 'illegal'

The decision to expel his the British journalist and editor Tom Bowker from Mozambique is "absolutely illegal", according to his defence team. The measure was taken by the migration service (Servico Nacional de Migracao - Senami) which is an "entity without legal competence" and was only "communicated orally". Senami can only act on written instructions from the Ministry of Interior. Furthermore, Bowker did not have the opportunity to defend himself from an "arbitrary action," one of the members of the defence team said. (Lusa 2 Feb)

On 25 January at a meeting in Senami, Bowker had been told he had to leave Mozambique within five days, but with no written notification. Ponto por Ponto (PpP 4 Feb) reported he was still in Mozambique. It does appear that under pressure from diplomats and media, cooler heads have prevailed and the Ministry of Interior may never get around to issuing an expulsion order.

Gabinfo and its head Emília Moiane have not been sympathetic to foreign press. In 2018 the Council of Ministers issued a decree charging the highest fees in the world for foreign press. Foreign correspondents were to pay $2,500 to $8,300 for accreditation to cover the upcoming elections. Mozambican journalists will have to pay $500 to write for foreign media. After a huge outcry, the decree was withdrawn. (Joe Hanlon)

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