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File photo / Former president of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano
Former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano today expressed “great sorrow” over the death of Afonso Dhlakama, but said, with reference to the peace process in the country, that “the death of one person does not mean that everything is lost”.
“It is a great pain because I worked with Dhlakama to bring peace to Mozambique and then I continued to be in touch with him,” the former head of state told Lusa, speaking from Paris.
Joaquim Chissano was president of Mozambique when, on October 4, 1992 he signed the General Peace Agreement that ended the Mozambican civil war with Afonso Dhlakama, in Rome,
The former leader last telephoned the opposition leader in Mozambique on March 3 to enquire after the state of his health.
“He was longing to be with his family and was planning to do so before three months were up,” he said.
“We would have liked to have him sign the agreements and understandings reached for the definitive peace” in the negotiations underway with the President Filipe Nyusi.
That would have been “the greatest joy,” Chissano added.
Still, “the death of one person does not mean that everything is lost”, he told Lusa, recalling that Mozambique had already lost “several leaders”.
“All of us survivors will continue to work for the good of Mozambique. Hopefully, the spirit that he [Dhlakama] had lately embraced will continue to inspire those who come next,” he emphasised, noting that the talks with Nyusi were going well.
After the mourning, Chissano considers it important that “all Mozambicans follow the example of what President Nyusi has done with the Renamo president: accept the difference, look for the good of the nation and complete the process so that there will never be a war in Mozambique again”.
The former president hopes that it will be possible to go further, “that there really will be cooperation on development, to make up for all the lost time”.
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama died on Thursday at 08:00 at the age of 65 in Gorongosa Mountain due to health complications.
Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi told Mozambican Television (TVM) that attempts had been made to transfer him to medical facilities abroad by air, and party sources told Lusa that the president of the main Mozambican opposition party passed away after a helicopter had already landed near his temporary home in Gorongosa.
His body was moved to the morgue at Beira Central Hospital at dawn today.