Does decentralisation in Mozambique mean more independence for local powers?
Folha de Maputo (File photo) / President Filipe Nyusi
Dialogue between the Mozambican government and the rebel movement Renamo could resume very soon, declared President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday.
Speaking when members of the government came to greet him in the presidential offices, on the occasion of his 58th birthday, Nyusi said that earlier in the day he had been considering the possibility of moving ahead with the next phase of the talks with Renamo, in line with the new format that he and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama had agreed in phone conversations last week.
The new format for the talks dispenses with international mediators. Instead there will be two working groups, one on decentralization and the other on military issues. Each consists of four members, two from the government and two from Renamo. They were appointed on Monday, but the groups have not yet held any meetings.
“Earlier today we were trying to see if the steps already announced can begin”, said Nyusi. “We believe that it will be very soon. We want this to happen”.
He stressed the need for everyone to support the efforts to achieve effective peace. “Sometimes this is regarded as a dialogue between two parts”, said the President. “But nobody is excluded from participating. The advice I give is exactly this: let us all do everything in our power to ensure that things happen”.
Nyusi appeared to be replying obliquely to criticism by Daviz Simango, leader of the second largest opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). Speaking on Tuesday, Simango denounced the new model of dialogue for excluding other political parties, and civil society organizations. He even claimed that the new format for dialogue was “a trap”, which would prove “a time bomb” unless urgent constitutional issues were addressed.
Simango said that phone conversations between Nyusi and Dhlakama were not enough to secure an effective peace, and instead called for a written agreement, witnessed by mediators. But on this question Simango is demonstrably wrong. A couple of phone conversations between Nyusi and Dhlakama achieved more than the previous five months of talks facilitated by a team of international mediators.
A truce has been achieved, and since it took effect, on 27 December, there have been no further reports of Renamo ambushes on the main roads, and no further clashes between Renamo gunmen and the government’s defence and security forces.
Everybody can and should feed into the peace process, said Nyusi, but with cool heads, and without emotion. All Mozambicans should be committed, remain attentive and work at the search for peace, he added.
“The people are waiting, and we have to do everything, as we have been doing, with all the live forces of society”, he told the government members.
Peace was a condition for development, and for meeting the needs of the people. “We want good quality education, we want comprehensive health care near the communities, we want good housing”, said Nyusi. “We want jobs for our young people. Satisfying needs can help the stability of this country, because many conflicts occur when people are dissatisfied”.
In a birthday message, presented to Nyusi by Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario, the members of the government renewed their commitment and loyalty, and their unconditional readiness to collaborate with the President in implementing the government’s five year programme.
The message said that government members appreciate the efforts and determination of Nyusi in his tireless search for effective peace, tranquility and national reconciliation, factors they regarded as indispensable for improving the lives of the people.
“Mozambicans are confident that effective peace will be achieved, which is one of the fundamental factors for the growth of our economy”, declared Rosario.
Senior officers in the military, the police and the intelligence services also brought birthday greetings to Nyusi, who urged them that the defence and security forces should be “forces for peace and not for war”.
He stressed the role played by the defence forces since Mozambican independence in 1975, in guaranteeing the country’s survival, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and described the Defence and Security Forces as “a clear example of reconciliation and democracy”.
“Continue to look upon peace as your main mission”, Nyusi urged the officers, praising the forces for their role in such difficult moments as search and rescue missions during natural disasters.
They loyalty they had pledged to him, the President said, “means loyalty to the Mozambican people, to the law, and to the Constitution of the Republic”.
Presenting the message to Nyusi from all the forces, Defence Minister Salvador M’tumuke said that the entire country, and the international community, are anxiously waiting for the creation of solid and deep foundations from which a definitive peace will arise. He promised that the defence and security forces will do their part to ensure an effective and lasting peace.
“This was the dream of those who liberated the country”, said M’tumuke. “Future generations will look with admiration on your commitment as a noble and courageous act, fitting of a leader who loves his people, and has pledged his word to their well-being”.Source: AIM / TVM
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