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File photo / Afonso Dhlakama and Filipe Nyusi photographed after in a meeting in Maputo on February 7, 2015.
A new year cease fire is now in force, it was been announced today by Renamo head Afonso Dhlakama. This follows a telephone conversation between the Dhlakama and Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi yesterday evening (Monday 26 December). The truce will last through Monday 1 January, and could be extended.
Dhlakama told a telephone press conference this morning: “I announce the cessation of military hostilities from zero today, Tuesday, December 27, 2016. In all Mozambican territory there will be no combat between the armed forces of Renamo and the Armed Forces of Mozambique. And the Renamo Forces will remain in their bases. They can patrol an area of three to four kilometres for security reasons, and the President of the Republic, I want to believe, will do the same. The FADEMO [army] and FIR [riot police] forces will also remain in their positions.” (O Pais on line, AIM En & Pt 27 Dec)
So far there has been no confirmation from President Filipe Nyusi. But O País has reported a convoluted statement by Nyusi to Radio Moçambique after the phone call but before the Dhlakama press conference as defacto confirmation. From Nampula province, where he is on holiday, Nyusi told Radio Moçambique “Myself and the president of Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, managed to talk and the call was simply to wish each other Happy Holidays and know how things are. But as always, this kind of contact has to be explored to the fullest. We took time to talk about the peace situation. It was a long call, I was encouraged by what we have always been saying, that in one way or another, hostilities have to stop, no one should die because of misunderstandings of ideas or positions, of differences between people. The President of Renamo has promised me that he will hold a press conference summarizing the outcome of our conversation. Maybe we’ll let the Renamo president say what we said, but it was an interesting conversation.” O Pais reads that as confirmation in advance. http://opais.sapo.mz/index.php/politica/63-politica/42972-presidente-da-republica-confirma-suspensao-temporaria-de-hostilidades-militares.html
Radio Moçambique quotes Dlakama to say “In all Mozambican territory there will be no fighting between the Renamo forces and the Mozambican Armed Forces. This decision was born and came about in a conversation yesterday. I took the initiative, I called the President of the Republic, Nyusi, and I offered him a provisional truce for the Mozambicans to spend the New Year’s holiday in peace and he agreed with me. … Thus I will give orders to our units in all provinces. I can guarantee that our friends and relatives in Maputo, Sofala, Cabo Delgado and Zambézia can travel at will on the roads, including highway number one (EN1), without any problem …. You can walk at will, until the truce is over. “
Dhlakama used the phrase “provisional truce” (trégua provisória), and said if there was “no incidents” on the part of the defence forces, the truce could be extended.
In his press conference, Dhlakama said he also talked to Nyusi about the issue of the decentralization of state administration, which must be agreed, as well as about restructuring of the FADM [army] and ensuring some Renamo party cadres in positions of leadership and in other posts in the police (PRM) and in the Security Service (Serviço de Informação e Segurança do Estado, SISE).
“We also talked about the cessation of abductions and kidnappings of various Renamo members,” he said. And Dhlakma added that despite this truce, there are not yet the security conditions to all him to reappear in public and carry out their normal activities in various parts of the country.
Dhlakama explained that discussing and agreeing on these aspects is to look at the future of the country, because it will be these elements that will allow the next “municipal and presidential elections to be held in a good environment, which would mean democratizing Mozambique.”
Comment: Dhlakama makes two important points. First that the truce could be extended, conditional on an end to government military movements. Second, this is the first time that Dhlakama has publicly looked forward to municipal elections in 2018 and national elections in 2019. Preparations need to begin soon, and this could be seen as a message to Renamo members of parliament and of the Electoral Commission (CNE) that they should continue work preparing for elections.
By Joseph HanlonSource: News reports & clippings
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