Polls open in tense Mozambique election
Fernando Lima. File photo: Youtube
Political commentator Fernando Lima believes that the death of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama carries with it the challenge of avoiding an ending with winners and losers, and that it is up to the Mozambican opposition party to provide answers.
The death of Afonso Dhlakamain central Mozambique at the age of 65 comes at a time when the government and the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) have several ongoing peace negotiations involving the political and military aspects, the political commentator and president of the media group Mediacoop told Lusa.
“It is necessary to find solutions to these two aspects [political and military] so that an end is not reached whereby there is a winner and a loser,” Fernando Lima says, highlighting the importance of the political and military positioning of Mozambique’s largest opposition party.
It is necessary, in particular, to provide answers “to very sensitive issues” such as the integration of Renamo fighters into the Mozambican armed forces, knowing that, throughout history, the party has always maintained a military force to assert its position.
“It is a challenge that Renamo has to give concrete answers to,” Lima says.
The commentator noted, on the other hand, that the circumstances in which Dhlakama died, “almost like a martyr who forced himself into voluntary exile” somewhere in the central Gorongosa region, was something that “Renamo can capitalise on”.
Above all, it is necessary that “Renamo assumes a clear position and the responsibility of being the second largest Mozambican party, especially at a time when Frelimo [the Liberation Front of Mozambique, party in power] is very weak”.
It is also an opportunity for Renamo to redefine itself, he said, and decide “whether it wants to be a democratic party, or to be led by a caudillo” and to become “first truly democratic party, because all others are dominated by authoritarianism”.
Despite these challenges, Lima thinks that Renamo is unlikely to disappear, since “it is a very big party and with great popular support”, although Dhlakama was “the great mobiliser” and this moment challenges the party leadership and sense of responsibility.
Likewise, Lima does not know if Frelimo will try to use this situation to cement its now 40 years of power in Mozambique, although he has no doubt that some elements “are going to feel this temptation” because they have already advocated “a ‘Savimbisation’ of Renamo”, in an allusion to the death of former UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi.
Afonso Dhlakama been in hiding in the Gorongosa mountains since 2016, as he has on previous occasions when clashes between Renamo and the Mozambican Defence and Security Forces have flared up.Source: Lusa