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DW (File photo) / Filipe Nyusi (right) and Afonso Dhlakama at a meeting in Gorongosa in 2017
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama says he is satisfied with the speed that the peace process is taking, even though the decentralisation proposal will not be approved this year as planned.
On the apparent sincerity of Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi towards the negotiations, Dhlakama is more confident than he was about the country’s previous presidents, though he cautions that Nyusi has not yet fulfilled his promise to withdraw the army from Gorongosa.
Here is the second part of a Deutsche Welle Africa interview with the leader of Mozambique’s largest opposition party, Afonso Dhlakama.
DW Africa: How are the peace negotiations going? Are there still delays in the decentralisation process?
Afonso Dhlakama (AD): Things are already improving. In fact, things were slow in the past and the president complained that he lacked the power to decide some things with me because he was not sure what would happen at the [Frelimo] congress, but he was victorious, and confirmed as president of Frelimo and future candidate for the 2019 elections.
So he now has decision-making powers, both for decentralisation and for the integration of Renamo men in command and leadership positions in the FADM (Armed Forces of Defence of Mozambique). I think things will be better by the end of the year.
DW Africa: Will the decentralisation law still be approved this year, as Renamo wished?
AD: No. It will not be possible because time is passing. It’s November already. But I believe that the documentation on decentralisation will be able to enter [into Parliament] later this year and in the beginning of next March, they will have to discuss and approve because it enters as a signed agreement, a political agreement between the government and Renamo.
In order to allow the president to announce the date of the 2019 elections in April, he must already have the instruments in hand, and the law on decentralisation in Mozambique must already have been approved. And this is already guaranteed, we already have the answer from the government.
DW Africa: The president of Renamo has held meetings with the president of Mozambique. How do you assess Filipe Nyusi’s intentions in this peace process? Does it show goodwill?
AD: Only he can say whether what he is doing, he is doing willingly or under duress, because he also knows that he is not the first Frelimo president [to negotiate peace with Renamo].
There was Samora Machel, Joaquim Chissano and Armando Guebuza. He is the fourth and knows the terrible mistakes that the others made, which caused distraction in the country, the division of families and endless wars. So he may try to be the best because he knows that if he does not get it right he will be worse than the others.
Now, to say that, in fact, he is doing this from the bottom of his heart [I cannot say], only he can. But at least he is trying to do something. We understand each other and there are things that we have already arranged and that are failing, [for example] he promised to withdraw all forces from the Gorongosa region by June 30 of this year but, up until now, nobody has left.
But I ‘cashed in’, and we’ll see later. As a leader, I cannot suspect from the outset that he will cheat me as the others did. It is always [about] trying to achieve true peace for the Mozambican people.
DW Africa: What prospects for Mozambique in the near future?
AD: As a politician, father of family and a human being, I think that we as leaders, by joining our efforts, must achieve [peace]. Leaders cannot be dictators: they must work according to the consensus within their political parties.
But leaders sometimes need to take risks, because if they do not go ahead and do not believe in the strategy for peace and they are going to listen to the advice of comrades and friends, if all goes wrong they will laugh at you. That’s why we leaders must have internal democracy.Source: Deutsche Welle
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