Mozambique: President has initiated dialogue with new Renamo leadership
DW / MDM leader Daviz Simango
The main opposition parties deny that there is any agreement to that effect and refer the decision on any agreement to the relevant bodies. The MDM has however already given a clear signal at the Nampula by-election.
Elections are once again on the doorstep in Mozambique, with municipal elections in 2018 and general elections in 2019. And it seems like strategic moves for victory may also be under way.
In this context, DW Africa spoke to Daviz Simango, the leader of the MDM, Mozambique’s second-largest opposition party.
We asked him if there was a possibility of joining forces with Renamo, the main opposition party.
“What we have said is that our door is always open if this is the need and the understanding of the political parties and Renamo. It is natural that something could happen, because the door is open.”
The MDM leader further clarifies that “there is no affirmative note that there is an agreement signed with that intention. What we have said is that we are the two parties of the centre-right and these parties can naturally find concrete actions to do with anything electoral”.
Would MDM and RENAMO be interested in uniting?
On any possible MDM interest in such a union, Simango passes responsibility to the organs of his party.
“The MDM is represented by its organs, which define strategy. When all aspects are on the dialogue table, it is natural for the party bodies to come together and make a wise decision about procedures.”
“Daviz Simango is nothing more than a party president, and the regulation of acts like that must necessarily pass through the party’s organs,” the MDM leader said.
Renamo has the same position. Spokesman José Manteigas says that “these responses can only be given by the competent bodies. Only via the deliberation of a competent body can we really know what the party’s feeling is”.
As Manteigas notes: “At this moment we have lost the [party] president and our competent bodies have not yet met to make any decision on any matter important to the party and to the life of the country.”
Is MDM support for Renamo in the by-election a sign?
Even without the approval of relevant bodies, there are clear signs of an interest in unity, at least on the MDM side. In the Nampula mayoral by-election in March 2018, the MDM decided to support the Renamo candidate in the second round.
This was an unprecedented gesture within the Mozambican opposition, although Daviz Simango downplays it. The MDM leader prefers to value other gains.
“I do not know if this is a change. The MDM was created in 2009. It was a by-election in which the two parties participated. It is natural that the two parties came to an understanding. This is very healthy. Everything is possible; the important thing is to realise our common interests.”
For the largest opposition party, the MDM’s gesture was not a matter of indifference, but spokesman José Manteigas explains that “it is a normal gesture and we appreciate it, but this was a unilateral decision: there has never been any discussion about a possible union. I do not say that this has been ruled out; what I mean is that the competent bodies have not yet ruled on it”.Source: Deutsche Welle