Former President of the Republic Armando Guebuza described the alleged arson at the weekly Canal de Moçambique as “terrible”, comparing it to “a return” to the lack of freedom under colonial rule.
“The story of the Canal de Moçambique [fire] is terrible. We did not fight for independence to burn newspapers,” Armando Guebuza said.
The former head of state commented on the case in response to questions from participants in the video conference “Life and Work of Eduardo Mondlane: The Role of Young People in the Preservation and Appreciation of Eduardo Mondlane’s ideals”.
Emphasising that the attack on the media “does not make sense”, the former president compared the fire to “a return” to a time when the country was not free.
“We defended freedom. An arson act like that is a return to a time when we had no freedom,” he stressed.
Armando Guebuza was President of the Republic between 2005 and 2015, and a historical Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) figure, the party in power, for which he fulfilled several roles in government.
Eduardo Mondlane was Frelimo’s first president, since the organisation was founded in 1962, to organise the armed struggle for national liberation against Portuguese colonialism.
Mondlane was murdered in a bomb attack in 1969 in a crime attributed to PIDE (Portugese security services).
The facilities where the weekly Canal de Moçambique and the online newspaper Canal Moz operate were destroyed on Sunday by a fire that the weekly’s management attributes to arson.
The weekly editor, André Mulungo, told Lusa on Monday that unidentified individuals set fire to the newspaper’s newsroom on Sunday night, with fuel cans used in the attack found inside the newsroom.
Several national and international entities have already condemned the arson attack, as has President Filipe Nyusi, who has demanded that the perpetrators be brought to justice.
Canal de Moçambique is one of the country’s leading weekly magazines and is known for working on issues such as corruption and governance.
The newspaper has already been the target of several lawsuits for alleged libel and its executive director, Matias Guente, was recently summoned by the Attorney General’s Office to answer questions about texts that the weekly published involving security contracts between the government and the oil multinationals operating in the province of Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique.