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FILE PHOTO -Elias Dhlakama . [File photo: DW]
In Mozambique, members of Renamo who supported Elias Dhlakama’s candidacy in 2019 claim to be targets of political persecution and removal from the party’s decision making processes. Renamo says these members are “cowards”.
The internal division in the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) started in 2019 after the congress that elected the current party president, Ossufo Momade.
In Inhambane province, southern Mozambique, members of the largest Mozambican opposition party who supported the candidacy of Afonso Dhakama’s brother, Elias Dhlakama, were frowned upon by colleagues, with some even losing positions in the party’s provincial political delegations.
“This matter comes in the wake of the congress where confusion was created with all those who supported another wing in the district where I was. And it was the provincial political delegate who informed the leadership, through a letter he sent to President Ossufo,” Luísa Constantino, president of the Renamo women’s league in Inhambane, told DW Africa.
Luísa said she was denounced for allegedly supporting the election of Elias Dhlakama.
António Chulu is another member who says he suffered humiliation after the congress, which caused him to lose votes of confidence necessary to renew his seat in the provincial assembly.
Chulu complains that, up until today, he has not held any political office within the party. “I supported Brigadier Elias Dhlakama’s candidacy, but shortly after the congress, when we returned to the province, I had misunderstandings coming from some of my colleagues.”
Verbal attacks at meetings
Currently, in the meetings of the provincial political commission, members have been insulted, and some, for fear of reprisals, end up expressing their indignation on social networks and in the media.
One member told DW, on condition of anonymity, that he was the target of political harassment after reporting problems in Renamo, together with other supporters, to leader Ossufo Momade.
“Every member is free to contribute or contest anything that is not in order. What we did was to organise our party. But what is happening is that anyone speaks about anything that contravenes Renamo statutes is automatically suspected of being against the leadership,” he complains.
Another member of Renamo, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, warns of mass dismissals, and suggests that they may have a purpose.
“The theory of the ‘Nhongos’ is to make the others fall apart, to allow for the group which practices misdeeds to continue doing what they want without opposition [in the leadership of the party]. But as the others want to profit, they are saying that those are from there [the ‘Nhongos’], it is a disgrace,” he said.
Carlos Maela, member of parliament and provincial political delegate, says. without going into detail, that members who try to disturb the party are cowards.
“To air [party crises] in the media, or any attempt to disturb the party on social media, by expressing no matter what, is [an act of] cowardice,” he says.