Mozambique: Frelimo in Tete commends President's efforts to maintain peace and macor-economic ...
Photo: O País
The personal envoy to Mozambique of the United Nations secretary-general, António Guterres, on Wednesday pointed to the “financing and social reintegration” of former Renamo guerrillas as the main challenges for the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process established in agreements between that party and the Frelimo government.
“Throughout the process we have seen that the first problem of the combatants is not only money, but social integration, being part of a group, of a family, because being in the bush for twenty years is complicated,” said the envoy, Mirko Manzoni during a lecture entitled “Demilitarisation, Integration and Reconciliation” organised by Maputo Pedagogical University.
According to Manzoni, the reintegration of the Renamo guerrillas will be the “longest” process. He noted some “dramatic” cases of combatants who have returned to their communities and been attacked there.
“We have some cases that were dramatic,” he said. “They are few, but some serious. We are investigating.”
In the lecture, Manzoni also said – without giving any figures – that despite the “positive responses” from donors to the DDR process in Mozambique, funding is another challenge it faces.
“Reintegrating combatants with dignity is a process that may be difficult, but it is necessary for the reconciliation of the country,” he stressed.
With regard to the self-styled Renamo Military Junta, a dissident group that the authorities have blamed for attacks on civilians as part of a campaign against the 2019 peace agreement between Renamo, the country’s main opposition party, and the government, the UN envoy reiterated that “there is openness to dialogue”, underscoring that using conflict to impose a vision on others is “barbaric”.
“We need a sign from Mariano [Nhongo, the group’s leader] for there to be dialogue,” he said. “Killing is not a solution.”
According to Manzoni, since the start of the DDR process, a total of 985 former Renamo guerrillas have been demobilised. Of a total 5,000 guerrillas, around 4,000 have yet to be included in the process.
After a symbolic start in 2019, DDR was paralysed for several months and resumed this year, on 4 June.
The process is the result of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement signed on 6 August 2019 between Mozambique’s president, Filipe Nyusi, and the leader of Renamo, Ossufo Momade.
The agreement is contested by the Renamo dissidents, who are accused of attacking villages and also buses on some stretches of road in the provinces of Sofala and Manica, in central Mozambique. The group has repeatedly denied any involvement in the attacks.