Breaking: MPs unanimously approve constitutional change for decentralisation - Mozambique
Unexpectedly, Frelimo forced the cancellation of the special session of parliament which was due to begin yesterday, Thursday 21 June, to approve law revisions for the 10 October municipal elections. Members of parliament have now been sent home and no new date set.
This puts the 10 October election into question, because the calendar is very tight. The National Elections Commission is already registering parties and citizen’s lists because that process will not change. But the new law must set out the way candidates lists are submitted in July, reflecting the end to direct election of mayors, already approved in a constitutional amendment
Frelimo argues that decentralisation, of which the new elections law is part, can only move in parallel with negotiations on demilitarisation and integration of Renamo forces into the military, police, and secret police. O Pais online last night (21 June) said that in the session of parliament’s Permanent Commission, Frelimo demanded that by the 10 October elections, all Renamo armed men must be demilitarised and that without agreement on this they refused to go ahead with the special session and approval of electoral and municipality laws.
President Filipe Nyusi in a speech Thursday in Zambezia appeared to back putting pressure on Renamo to return to talks. “Every day I wait for when the others [Renamo] are ready to close the loop” and finish the peace talks. “We need to stop waiting … we cannot wait indefinitely. … Peace is more urgent than any other agenda.” (Lusa 21 June; STV Jornal de Noite, 21 June, at 9.40 minutes, http://videos.sapo.mz/nF5AzzB3RB3LEvQtTNDu)
Renamo argues that the two issues cannot be linked, because disarmament is not a parliamentary issue, and because the negotiation terms of reference said they would be separate. The late Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has also made integration of forces a complex issue by demanding parity in the number of Renamo and government people in senior positions, and that every government-named senior official have a Renamo-named deputy (as currently applies in the election secretariat).
By Joseph HanlonSource: News reports & clippings