Nyusi welcomes passage of amnesty bill - AIM report
Photo: O País
Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Friday declared that Ossufo Momade, leader of the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, remains the man the government must deal with, despite an attempt by armed dissidents within Renamo to overthrow him.
Speaking at a Maputo press conference, the Frelimo Central Committee secretary for mobilisation and propaganda, Caifadine Manasse, said Momade remains the man who is negotiating with President Filipe Nyusi, regardless of Renamo’s internal problems.
“President Nyusi’s partner is Ossufo Momade”, he said. “But Momade should control his men, if he is to make his role worthwhile. We want Momade to be serious, reliable and to control his men”.
The Renamo dissidents have threatened to kill Momade and, according to some credible reports, they have besieged Momade in the Renamo military headquarters in the central district of Gorongosa. They have complained that they have been marginalised in drawing up lists of men to occupy senior positions in the Mozambican defence and security forces.
On this issue, Manasse thought they were right. The list of ten officers to occupy senior police posts, submitted to the government by Momade’s faction of Renamo, did not contain anybody currently serving in the Renamo militia. The consensus reached between Nyusi and Momade’s predecessor, Afonso Dhlakama, was that the integration into the defence forces should prioritise Renamo fighters who are still in the bush – not those who had already been demobilised over two decades ago.
“Renamo sent us a list of people who have been living in Maputo since the General Peace Agreement (of 1992)”, said Manasse. “They are reservists. We realised this would be a problem – and so did the Renamo guerrillas”.
On Thursday, the official Renamo spokesperson, Jose Manteigas, described the Renamo dissidents as “deserters” – but Manasse did not see how anybody could “desert” from what is not a legally recognised armed force. He noted that the main demand of the so-called “deserters” was to replace Momade with someone “who will lead them in the demobilisation, disarming and reintegration process”.
Manasse denied that Frelimo had anything to do with the discontent inside Renamo – indeed, he claimed that Frelimo only discovered there was an uprising against Momade from reports in the Mozambican press.
Some reporters regarded this claim with scepticism – did not Frelimo, as the ruling party, have access to information in the possession of the Sofala provincial and Gorongosa district governments and the intelligence agency, SISE? But Manasse insisted there was a separation between party and state, and SISE does not automatically share its information with Frelimo.
Manasse believed that Renamo may be trying to postpone the general elections scheduled for 15 October. It is certainly true that Renamo at first announced it would deliver Momade’s nomination papers for the presidential election to the Constitutional Council on Tuesday – but then postponed this, and has not announced any new date.
“If Renamo is not prepared for elections, then it shouldn’t try to take part in them”, said Manasse. “These elections are irreversible”.
He admitted that, if Renamo’s internal problems persist, this could create difficulties for voting in some areas, but not across the country as a whole.
“We shall hold elections in October, regardless of Renamo’s disorganisation”, declared Manasse.
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