“Mandatory curfew” can create chaos
With the entry into force “mandatory curfew” in the Maputo grid (cities of Maputo and Matola and villages of Marracuene and Boane) between 9:00 pm and 4:00 am, a measure determined by the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, within the framework of prevention measures in view of the spread of the new coronavirus, social chaos can be generated. Above all, due to the excessive action of the police zeal, the deficient availability of public transport is known, which even in normal periods is penalizing for ordinary citizens.
In force since last Friday and for 30 days, the measure has sparked several debates, with pros and cons and even those who consider the measure utopian in a country, whose transportation system is still very precarious. In fact, in the early days there was a visible police excess chasing and arbitrarily detaining citizens who were anxious to return to their homes after working hours.
We were struck by the position of the Budget Monitoring Forum (FMO), a platform of civil society organizations, which considers curfews to be a “carte blanche for the Police to violate people’s rights”.
In an approach made public on Friday, the first day of the entry into force of Decree 2/2021, of February 4, which introduces new measures to contain the pandemic of the new coronavirus, the FMO argues that the metropolitan area of Maputo “does not have a functional passenger transport system capable of” evacuating “the City of Maputo before 9 pm”.
He adds that “thousands of people who leave work at 5 pm stay until 9 pm at stops in the capital waiting for buses. And most have to take more than one bus to reach their destination, usually after 10 pm. The curfew is more penalizing for restaurant workers, who must close at 8 pm. It means that they have an hour to get home, which is unthinkable for someone who, working in a restaurant in the center of Maputo City, has to take transportation to Boane or Marracuene ”, explains the FMO.
According to this platform of civil society organizations, many people will not be able to reach the house before 9:00 pm, not because of their own fault, but because of the Government that did not invest in the transport of passengers in the metropolitan area of Maputo.
“The humiliating conditions, in which people are transported in the Maputo metropolitan area, nullify all efforts to prevent and combat Covid-19. Buses and box vans circulate overcrowded and do not offer conditions for disinfecting passengers ”, underlines the documentary source of the FMO to which we had access.
Going further, this organization questions the effectiveness of curfews in the Greater Maputo area, because, “the President of the Republic did not show any cause and effect relationship between the increase in Covid-19 cases and the movement of people at night ”, He considers.
Note that, since last Friday night, agents from the Protection and Traffic Police and from the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) have taken to the streets with a view to disciplining and “re-educating” offenders and as a preliminary aftermath there was a record of several arrests.
However, President Nyusi himself and the authorities responsible for the Inspection of Economic Activities came to the public to try to curb the action of the Police and correct their modus operandi, but the situation continues with chaotic signs as long as the transportation problem prevails.