“We should rise to the challenges of Niassa”
File photo / Afonso Dhlakama
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama promised on Thursday that he would come out of hiding after the announcement of the date of the next general elections, following a meeting with the Mozambican president on August 6.
In his first public statement since his meeting with Filipe Nyusi, the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) leader explained that “details” that were blocking peace negotiations were “set aside”, particularly with regard to the decentralisation and integration of the armed wing of the party in the army.
“I chose the place of the meeting in Gorongosa, because I dominate it, even though the [state] military positions remain,” the leader of Mozambique’s largest opposition party told Lusa by telephone, saying that it took more than two months to build sufficient trust for the meeting, which was kept secret by the government and Renamo, to take place.
Dhlakama said that it took several hours of negotiations to reach “compromises” for peace, especially on the “speed and seriousness” of the discussion on the election of provincial governors and the integration of Renamo’s armed wing in the army and the various branches of the police and secret services.
On decentralisation, Afonso Dhlakama explained that by the end of the year, a bill must be submitted to the Assembly of the Republic allowing the election of provincial governors, along with a revision of the constitution to reduce the powers of the head of state.
The party leader denies asking for seats in regional governments. “They are not Renamo governors, they are governors of all the parties that run for the elections including Frelimo,” Dhlakama said, adding that President Nyusi is expected to announce the date of the 2019 general elections some 18 months in advance, with the law already passed.
Regarding the integration of Renamo’s armed wing into the army, Dhlakama said that a model was discussed to guarantee a non-partisan army and, after the implementation of this model, guerrillas stationed in the provinces would be “assembled and demobilised”, then integrated in the police and other branches of the security forces.
“I gave the head of state to understand that the concern to create an army is not in Renamo’s interest, it is in the interest of the security of the country,” Dhlakama said, adding that a unified army would prevent coups and ambushes or the provision of political services by the military, especially the persecution of the opposition.
“I believe this will work; they will be integrated. And if they are integrated soon, and we are satisfied with the non-military, technical-professional army, we can even station our military in the provinces, and select some, in good health and the right age, to integrate in the police and UIR (Rapid Intervention Units),” Dhlakama said.
As for the future, the Renamo leader announced that he would leave the jungle and return to political life after these two issues were “dispatched”.
Renamo did not recognise the result of the last presidential elections giving victory to the Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo) and Filipe Nyusi. Since then, there have been military clashes and protests, particularly in the centre of the country.
By André CatueiraSource: Lusa