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Afonso Macacho Marceta Dhlakama (Mangunde, Sofala, January 1, 1953) is a political and military revolutionary and leader of RENAMO (Mozambican National Resistance), the main opposition political party in Mozambique. Afonso Dhlakama is a former vice president of the Centrist Democratic International, an international association founded in 1961 and headquartered in Brussels, of which RENAMO is a member. Afonso Dhlakama is married to Rosaria Xavier Mbiriakwira Dhlakama and has eight children.
Early life and military careerIn 1974, after the revolution of 25 April in Portugal and, consequently, the end of the colonial war, tDhlakama joined FRELIMO (Liberation Front of Mozambique). However, shortly afterwards he abandoned this movement to become, in 1976, one of the founders of RNM (National Resistance of Mozambique), an armed movement. After the death of the first president, André Matsangaíssa in combat, and after a struggle for succession, Dhlakama became president of this movement of opposition to the regime, which began to designate RENAMO. The civil war in Mozambique, involving FRELIMOFRELIMO (in the Government), and RENAMO (in opposition) lasted for 16 years, during which Dhlakama continued to lead the guerrillas. In 1984 the People’s Republic of Mozambique, under the government of FRELIMO, and the Republic of South Africa, under the minority regime of Apartheid, signed the Nkomati Agreement that provided for each country to end support for the armed opposition movements of the other and thus eventually end the war, but the agreement failed.
Post-war and political career: End of the Civil War after the Mozambican government adopted a multi-partisan constitution in 1990, Dhlakama signed a peace agreement with President Joaquim Chissano (leader of FRELIMO) on 4 October 1992 in Rome, in Italy. After a long period of negotiation, on October 4, 1992, he signed the General Peace Agreement with Joaquim Chissano (former President of Mozambique) in Rome, ending a civil war that lasted for about 16 years and destroyed the economy and infrastructures of the country, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths. Since then RENAMO has become a political party, the second largest political party in Mozambique. The signing of the General Peace Agreement laid the foundations for the establishment of democracy and the holding of the first multiparty elections, abandonment of communist policy, and liberalization of the market and economy.
Presidential Candidate: 1994-2009. In October 1994, Afonso Dhlakama ran for the first General (Legislative and Presidential) elections in Mozambique.In 1998 he met with Chissano to discuss the situation in the country.In December 1999 elections (Legislative and Presidential) of Mozambique were again held.This time the margin was lower since the leader of RENAMO added 47.71% and that of FRELIMO 52.29%. RENAMO disputed the validity of these elections and, about a year later, in November 2000, there were violent demonstrations all over the country organized by RENAMO. Dhlakama and Chissano met before the end of the year, but early in 2001 the RENAMO leader reaffirmed that he did not recognize his FRELIMO counterpart as President of the Republic of Mozambique. He accused the government of organizing massacres in the north of the country. However, he never stopped asking for the recount of votes in the 1999 legislative and presidential elections.In 2008, on 25 March, in his capacity as Vice-President of the Central American Democratic Party, to which the Social Democratic Party (Portugal) belongs, President Afonso Dhlakama received and spoke with the Portuguese President, Cavaco Silva, in the city of Maputo. Although the political contacts in Mozambique of the Portuguese head of state are clearly with FRELIMO, this meeting allowed President Afonso Dhlakama to explain to the Portuguese head of state his opinion on governance in Mozambique, with greater emphasis on the current government’s inability to respond to the concerns of the people, the problems of patronization of the State, and appealed to the highest magistrate of the Portuguese State to continue the initiatives to support development in Mozambique. In addition, Afonso Dhlakama pointed out the need for the support channeled to Mozambique to be accompanied by accountability and transparency initiatives.
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