Anglican bishops last week demanded the immediate resignation of CNE head Carlos Matsinhe from his church post as Bishop of the Libombos, because he abstained in the National Elections Commission (CNE) vote to approve fraudulent municipal election results. And has been dismissed from his post as leader of the mosque in the Maputo city neighbourhood of Aeroporto, because he voted to approve the results. Both faith leaders are accused of violating a principle of their religion – the defence of truth.
The Standing Commission of the Anglican Church of Mozambique called an extraordinary session in Maputo for this afternoon (Tuesday, 14 November) for the sole purpose of discussing the letter from the bishops of the Anglican Church in Mozambique and Angola (IAMA). But at the last minute today, the meeting was cancelled, so the position of Matsinhe remains unclear.
Daud Ibramogy justified his behaviour on the CNE with the argument that “I only exercised my right as a Mozambican citizen under the democratic rule of law”. He says that he did so “as a citizen, and not as a sheikh or as an imam”, in compliance with the regulations and laws that govern the CNE. “As an imam, I have always tried not to mix my professional work with my religious work”, he explained.
After Daud Ibramogy was removed from his post, he also lost the right to continue occupying the mosque residence. He has requested to continue living in the residence until 20 November, by which time his own house will be in a fit state to live in.
Bishop Carlos Matsinhe has been under pressure since the false results of the 11 October election were first revealed. On 22 October, on the eve of the approval of the election results by the CNE, the Anglican Council of Mozambique (CAM) urged “particularly Bishop Carlos Matsinhe” to chair the CNE “in observance of the Electoral Law, and the practice of the truth”. The Anglican bishops justified this appeal with the argument that “the Mozambican people, the voters expect from you honesty, integrity, transparency, respect and truth”, because “Jesus Christ urged humanity to know the truth, saying that the truth will set you free.”
But three days later, Matsinhe, ignored the appeal of the Anglican bishops and abstained, voting neither for nor against the decision that approved nearly all the results of the municipal elections of 11 October, just as they had been announced by the district elections commissions of the 65 municipalities and were marked by serious irregularities.
The Bishop Emeritus of the Libombos and Matsinhe’s predecessor, Dinis Sengulane, in a talk on 5 November, sent a tough message clearly intended for Carlos Matsinhe. “Silence can be a lie when you hide what is the truth, because to remain silent is to consent. Your lie can affect many, because you are a person of influence.”
“The lack of truth is called lying, falsehood, or falsification, fraud, deceit and many other terms,” Singulane said, and “lying comes from the Devil, even if it is dressed in beautiful clothes, opulent clothes and sometimes even sacred clothes, even clothes like mine, seeming to speak about things of God. But in the end, it only leads you to ruin”. A ruin towards which, according to Bishop Dinis Sengulane, some religious leaders are driving their followers.
“There are religious leaders, several leaders who have lost their place of doing the sacred things of God, and linking people to God. They cause many people to lose their faith, or at least to weaken it, because they do not tell the truth, either because they have embraced the lie, or because of their complicit silence’’, he explained.