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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday pledged that his government will continue to engage in dialogue in order to re-establish effective peace in the country.
Speaking during a visit to families living in the flood-prone neighbourhood of Maxaquene in Maputo, Nyusi said there is no reason to start pointing fingers of guilt.
Asked by a reporter why the truce declared by Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Renamo rebels, on Tuesday is not permanent, Nyusi replied “The matter’s being dealt with. Don’t look for guilty parties. We encourage dialogue, and we shall continue talking, as we have always talked”.
Looking for the guilty, he warned, could only disturb the dialogue which has at least achieved a temporary suspension of hostilities.
After a lengthy discussion by telephone between Nyusi and Dhlakama on Monday, the Renamo leader on Tuesday announced a truce beginning at midnight and lasting for the next seven days, until 4 January. He suggested that, if all went well, the truce could be extended.
Nonetheless, the Mozambican police are wary, and the spokesperson for the General Command of the police force, Inacio Dina, told journalists that the defence and security forces will continue their operations in the centre of the country, in order to protect the residents of these areas.
As of Wednesday morning, traffic was still only able to move in convoys under armed escort along the most dangerous stretch of the main north-south highway, between the Save river and the small town of Muxungue, in Sofala province. Irritated truck drivers, interviewed by the independent television station STV, said that, if a truce had been declared, then the raison d’etre for the convoys had disappeared, and the convoy system should be suspended.
Despite Renamo’s insistence on the presence of international mediators, the week long truce was arranged without any mediation at all. A phone call between Nyusi and Dhlakama achieved more than months of tortuous discussions in the Joint Commission between the government and Renamo, under the mediation of a team coordinated by Italian diplomat Mario Raffaelli, representing the European Union.
The mediators returned to their home countries for the festive season, and Raffaelli told reporters they would only return if specifically invited by the Joint Commission.
Nyusi visited Maxaquene because of the damage done in this neighbourhood by the violent storms that hit Maputo over the past week. A torrential downpour on Christmas Eve flooded many houses, leaving families with nowhere dry to sleep.
Accompanied by the Mayor of Maputo, David Simango, Nyusi visited some of these families, who are still sharing their homes with the storm waters that have not yet drained away. “Protect the children”, urged the President. “Don’t let them play in this filthy water, otherwise they might catch various diseases”.
He told reporters that “when there is rain on this scale, accompanied by high winds, we decided to go and visit the people living in these neigbourhoods and see what efforts the municipality is making to help them”.
The solution to Maxaquene’s problems lies in improvements to the drainage system. Nyusi said the necessary budget for this work has already been approved. He knew that some families wanted to move from Maxaquene, “but the idea is not to take people away from these places – we want to find solutions for them”.
Simango said the Municipal Council plans to invest more than 150 million meticais (about 2.1 million US dollars) in improving the roads and drainage in Maxaquene.Source: presidencia.gov.mz )File photo) / President Filipe Nyusi
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