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File photo / Afonso Dhlakama
Afonso Dhlakama, the opposition leader in Mozambique, plans to sign a political agreement with the country’s president, Filipe Nyusi, on the election of provincial governors by the end of November.
The joint committee negotiating the matter is expected to produce a consensus document to be discussed at a meeting between the two soon, the Renamo president said in a telephone interview with Lusa from the Gorongosa mountain range.
“If we think that things are indeed right” in this document, he said, “we will initiate a political agreement”, and the process will then be referred to the Assembly of the Republic.
In addition to defining the manner of governors’ election, the agreement will include “revision of the Constitution extinguishing the power of the President of the Republic to appoint governors” and replacing it with voting for the position, along with a model for the allocation of “revenues collected in the provinces”.
“It is these documents and others that, I believe, will have to go to the Assembly of the Republic by the end of this month (November).” Parliament may perhaps “not approve them this year, but I believe that by March  they will be approved for use in the 2019 elections,” he added.
Decentralisation is one of the topics of the peace negotiations between the government and Renamo, along with the integration of the armed opposition fighters into the armed forces, where progress was also being made, Dhlakama said.
“If the defence and security forces want five generals, Frelimo will have three and Renamo two. If there are nine brigadiers, then Renamo has five and Frelimo with four, and so on,” a process in which, Dhlakama acknowledges, “it will not be easy” to have an equal distribution “in everything”.
In addition to integrating Renamo forces in the military, Dhlakama also spoke about his men being integrated in the police at provincial level, including the Rapid Intervention Unit (UIR) and the Special Operations Group (GOE).
“When I say police, I mean UIR and GOE and everything, because we have to make sure that security is good for the public and for the members of Renamo,” he said.
As to the overall picture, “the army is still 100 percent Frelimo: they have not yet begun [restructuring] with the framework of Renamo, and that is what leads me to linger here in Gorongosa”, in seclusion, he concluded.
Following an escalation in the military conflict in the centre of the country in 2015 and 2016, a cease-fire was declared by Dhlakama in December and relations between the Renamo leader and the president of Mozambique have improved.
Negotiations for a new peace agreement were marked by a handshake between the two men on 6 August, when Filipe Nyusi went to the Gorongosa Mountain for a two-hour meeting with Afonso Dhlakama.Source: Lusa
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