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By the end of Monday, the Mozambican defence and security forces would leave a further eight positions near the Gorongosa mountain range, in the central province of Sofala, President Filipe Nyusi announced on Sunday.
Speaking on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of Mozambican independence, after laying a wreath at the Maputo Monument to the Mozambican Heroes, Nyusi said the withdrawal is intended to maintain mutual trust between the government and the rebel movement Renamo. He named the positions from which the government forces will move as Nhantaca, Mucotsa, Nhancunga, Mapanga Panga, Namadgiwa, Nhauchenge, Lourenço and Nhariosa.
The gradual withdrawal of forces from rural Gorongosa was agreed in phone conversations between Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, but Dhlakama has subsequently complained at the slowness of the withdrawal. The military positions concerned are near the Renamo base where Dhlakama is currently living.
Nyusi told the crowd gathered at the monument that “the culture of peace” is the premise “for the consolidation of the Mozambican nation and the guarantee of its development”.
The President renewed his commitment “to continue to do everything in my power to ensure that peace, unity and reconciliation are a reality”.
He called for a spirit of tolerance among citizens, and rejected all forms of discrimination and all practices that put peace and fraternity in danger.
Citizens did not just have to take his word for the troop withdrawal. Nyusi said that all actions are being confirmed by the joint monitoring team set up between the government and Renamo.
The dialogue with Renamo is continuing, he added, through the two working groups set up earlier in the year, one on decentralisation and the other on military matters. Those groups had reached consensus on various questions, including the agenda for their work, and the mechanism to monitor and verify the current truce.
Nyusi revealed that legal documents on decentralization are being drawn up. The working groups “are seeking solutions in accordance with reality, which comfort all Mozambicans and all those who invest and live in the country”.
The key Renamo demand on decentralization is that provincial governors should be elected rather than appointed by the President. This principle seems to be widely accepted, but it will need a constitutional amendment, and that in turn can only be passed with a two thirds majority in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. To achieve the two thirds, the parliamentary groups of the ruling Frelimo Party and of Renamo must agree on the text of the amendment.
This year’s celebrations of the independence anniversary are taking place in the shadow of the audit by the company Kroll Associates of the two billion dollars’ worth of loans granted by the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia to the security related companies Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management), with guarantees illegally provided by the former government, headed by Nyusi’s predecessor, Armando Guebuza.
The Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) published the executive summary of the Kroll audit report on Saturday. It is a devastating document, revealing a lengthy string of financial irregularities and abuses. In particular, the auditors were unable to account for at least 713 million dollars, and perhaps as much as 1.2 billion dollars of the loans.
In his first public reaction to the audit, Nyusi said the recommendations from Kroll could help strengthen the Mozambican public finance management and control systems, particularly the transparent management of public assets, and holding those in charge of such assets responsible for their actions.
Nyusi said he was sure that the PGR would now follow up the audit report. He pledged the “unconditional willingness” of the government to provide full institutional support to the PGR to implement the recommendations from the audit.
“The publication of the report from the international and independent audit, together with the advances we are making in achieving definitive peace and in economic recovery, strengthen our conviction that we are moving towards the restoration of trust with our partners and investors”, declared the President.
The PGR has opened criminal investigations into the Ematum, Proindicus and MAM loans and guarantees, and Kroll was hired to undertake the audit as part of those investigations.Source: AIM