EISA Mozambique's country director, Ericino de Salema, addressed the Mozambique parliamentary commission on social issues, gender, technology and media on Monday 22 March, in the context of the revision of the press law and drafting of the broadcasting bill, following an invitation to EISA to do so.
During his presentation, Mr de Salema stressed the media's importance in a democracy and suggested that the laws which will emerge from the ongoing process need to include an explicit clause on how the opposition political parties represented in parliament should have a right to airtime with regards to public broadcasting, as prescribed by the Constitution of Mozambique, can be made effective.
In the absence of a law on private funding of political parties, by including a chapter on limits to political advertisement during electoral campaigns, the press law could ensure a level playing field in elections in Mozambique.
In February 2021, as part of the institutional support that EISA has offered the Provincial Assemblies of Mozambique, the first training was administered to the Planning and Budget Commission of the Provincial Assembly of Nampula. This mainly covered aspects like planning and budget instruments in Mozambique in the context of the decentralised governance, following the 2018 constitutional amendment. Other training to that Provincial Assembly and others is expected to be held during 2021, pending resource mobilisation by EISA and stabilisation of the COVID-pandemic situation. Duty-bearers in Mozambique are reluctant to participate in virtual training sessions, allegedly because they lack preparation and institutional capacity in terms of computers, etc.
To regulate the decentralised governance laws and to allow local bodies to function effectively, the government approved a set of decrees and resolutions. EISA in partnership with MAEFP produced a collection entitled "Decentralisation package: Decrees and Resolutions" (Pacote de Legislação Eleitoral e dos Órgãos de Governação Descentralizada). The compilation of this legislation on decentralised governance in a single volume will facilitate its easy use by elected bodies, civil servants, and the public in general.
EISA Mozambique signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of State Administration and Public Function, covering areas such as provision of training to the Ministry's officers, training to personnel from municipalities and provincial assemblies and government and research in decentralisation, public administration and governance.
The Ministry was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Claudina Maria Mazalo, and EISA was represented by Ericino de Salema, the EISA Mozambique Country Director. EISA is looking forward to the opportunity of collaboration with the Ministry.
Immediately after the new parliament of 250 MPs was sworn in on January the 13, EISA was approached by the two parliamentary commissions with which it has worked in the past, namely the Commission on Constitutional Affairs, Human Rights and Legality and the Commission on Public Administration and Local Power, requesting EISA's support to conduct an induction to the 34 MPs, advisors and assistants, who make up these commissions.
Preparations for this induction (an activity supported by DFID) began early January and the workshops were set down for March. The workshops will covering aspects like the Constitution, the Regiment of the Parliament, MPs Code of Ethics, Public Integrity Law, and Government main instruments (Five Year Program, Economic and Social Annual Plan, Annual Budget), etc.
On the basis of the Assembly's rules of procedure and other key documents, EISA has devised, for the new members of the House, two instruction manuals on the organisation and functioning of committees, procedures and parliamentary responsibilities. Both documents will serve, not only as practical guidance scripts, but also as committee regulations which will provide information on how to proceed for each task.
Under the editorship of EISA Mozambique's Country Director Ericino de Salema, research on decentralisation and related governance issues has been published under the rubric "As Relações Interorgânicas no Âmbito da Governação Descentralizada" from February 2020 onwards (see EISA's Mozambique Publications).
May & Jul 2019
On two occasions (May and July), EISA was requested, by the Commission on Constitutional Issues, Human Rights and Legality (First Commission), to support it in the consolidation of the decentralisation legal framework and the inclusion, in the Penal Code under review, of a section on electoral offences/crimes. EISA contracted a local consultant for the session on the Penal Code. In regard to the decentralisation legal framework, which has to be in line with the June 2018 constitutional amendment, following the agreement between the Government and RENAMO (February 2018), EISA organised a two day workshop with the members of the Commission and their technical assistants/advisors, in which a discussion covering constitutional principles and critical analysis to the then draft bills was considered. The final drafts incorporated a number of EISA's suggestions and recommendations.
4 Mar 2019
On 4 March EISA convened a roundtable on the decentralisation process in Mozambique, in partnership with the parliamentary Commission of Constitutional and Legal Affairs and Human Rights, and Commission of Public Administration and Local Power. EISA provided an analysis of the new constitutional regime and the draft decentralisation legal package. The roundtable was attended by MPs, the donor community, media, civil society, etc. Representatives from the three political parties informed the audience that EISA's analysis will assist them in better understanding and engaging with the draft bills and submitting their proposals.
The same day, EISA was invited by GIZ to participate in a donor meeting where discussion centred on providing technical assistance to parliament. EISA was able to offer constructive input informed by the earlier held roundtable.
The EISA programme in Mozambique in 2009 was dominated by the electoral process that led to the presidential, legislative and provincial elections held on 28 October 28 2009. Therefore, most activities implemented throughout the year - training, technical assistance, debates, and media events - were related to that process. Some programme activities that were implemented included the promotion of dialogue between civil society and elected bodies.
After a long delay in starting the implementation of this activity, EISA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Mozambican Association for the Development of Democracy (AMODE). Contacts were made with a wide range of civil society organisations and with Parliamentary committees to set up a calendar for joint roundtables both in Maputo and in the Provinces. Five roundtables between civil society organisations and parliamentary committees have taken place, all outside Maputo. The topics covered by the roundtables include: the Bill on the Protection of People Living with HIV/AIDS; the Bill on Domestic Violence; the oversight by parliament of the use of the Mt 7 million district fund, allocated by central government to all districts to promote food production, employment and income-generating activities; and the oversight by parliament of the State budget expenditures. In the last quarter of the year, this activity did not register progress, as most members of Parliament were involved in the electoral campaign for municipal elections.
The Parliament-Civil Society Partnership provided an opportunity for increased dialogue and mutual understanding between civil society and parliament on key social issues through the conduct of 5 roundtables between civil society and parliament.
The main challenge faced by EISA Mozambique in 2007 was the implementation of the Civil Society-Parliament Partnership activity. Initially, the Mozambican Debt Group, a coalition of civil society organisations, was selected as EISA's implementing partner. After lengthy negotiations, a provisional memorandum of understanding and plan of action was agreed upon, but this has not yet been implemented. Towards the end of 2007, a new implementing partner, the Mozambican Association for Democracy (AMODE) was identified, and a memorandum of understanding and action plan will soon be signed. Speedy implementation is expected to start in March 2008.
The aim was to foster a culture of accountability of elected bodies towards citizens through increased dialogue between parliamentary committees and Mozambican CSOs. In 2006 EISA took steps to identify local CSOs which would engage selected committees on key issues and policies, and to which EISA would provide technical assistance for the development of position papers, policy analysis and specialised discussions. After several consultations, the Mozambican Debt Group (GMD), an NGO focused on poverty alleviation, pro-poor social spending and social policy advocacy, agreed to collaborate with EISA on the implementation of this activity. However, due to time constraints on their part, the activity was not initiated in 2006.
In 2005 the goal to enhance the partnership between civil society and Parliament in order to strengthen a culture of accountability of elected bodies was adopted for EISA Mozambique as the second of three others.