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FILE: José Manteigas. [File photo: DW]
“Nothing to hide, nothing to fear.” That is how Renamo spokesman, José Manteigas reacted to the interrogations by Mozambique’s public prosecutor of senior members of the party, adding that Renamo was following the hearings “attentively”, and distances itself again from the actions of the “Military Junta”.
On Tuesday (21/01), the Public Prosecutor of Mozambique questioned deputy Elias Dhlakama about his alleged involvement in supporting the self-proclaimed ” Military Junta” of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), which stands accused of armed attacks in the centre of the country. Ivone Soares, former Renamo parliament whip, Renamo deputy António Muchanga and the party’s spokesman, José Manteigas, have also been interviewed.
In an interview with DW Africa, the spokesman of Mozmabique’s largest opposition party said that he expects the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) of Mozambique to conduct its investigations with “impartiality and independence“. Manteigas also says that information alleging his own involvement with the organisation led by Mariano Nhongo is false, and points out that Renamo itself wants the facts clarified.
DW Africa: Elias Dhlakama was heard as a deponent. In addition, the Attorney General’s Office has also questioned other members of Renamo about their alleged support for the self-proclaimed “Military Junta”. What does Renamo have to say about these hearings in the last few days?
José Manteigas (JM): Renamo is carefully monitoring what is happening. As you know, other MPs were also heard. But with respect to state institutions, we want to believe that the Attorney General’s Office, when summoning Renamo personnel, acts under with independence and impartiality. Renamo is monitoring proceedings so that, in fact, there is clarification of what is happening.
For example, in relation to myself, I have nothing to do with what has been broadcast by the media. But I choose, and the party also chooses, not to comment on this matter, because it is in the hands of Justice.
DW Africa: Does Renamo agree with these interrogations or does it consider them, in a way, an affront to the party?
JM: We don’t agree with that. As I am saying, Renamo respects the institutions and the PGR is an organ, an institution of justice. Perhaps there is some basis for these calls. Therefore, what Renamo is doing is carefully monitoring and seeking, in fact, clarification of the issue. Because the issue is one of the country’s security, and the state’s security is a concern for everyone. But we hope that innocent people are not incriminated, right?
DW Africa: In the last few days Elias Dhlakama has been interviewed, you yourself have been interviewed, together with Ivone Soares and António Muchanga. Why do you think these Renamo members have been called in for questioning?
JM: I can’t answer why I was called, because I have no connection with Mr. [Mariano] Nhongo, I never spoke to Mr. Nhongo. So, I don’t know why I was questioned. But, as I said, out of respect for state institutions, I went to make the statements that were asked of me.
DW Africa: So, will Renamo continue to collaborate with justice in this case?
JM: Well, what we want is for that clarification to be made. That is our commitment. You see, “Those who have nothing to hide, have nothing to fear”.
DW Africa: Some time ago, former Renamo general secretary Manuel Bissopo said that the Renamo leadership should “assume [responsibility over?] these guerrillas who are accused of carrying out armed attacks in the centre of the country”and further, that the “solution to contain [the ] violence must be internal”. What does Renamo have to say about this?
JM: That is his point of view, it is not the party’s point of view. He never put this to a competent body within the party, he went to the media to say that. So this is his entire responsibility.
DW Africa: What, then, would Renamo’s solution be in the case of these insurgents?
JM: They are defectors. So, let them see reason and foresee their punishments themselves , because they defected from Renamo and, given that they are defectors, Renamo has no responsibility for them.
DW Africa: President Filipe Nyusi said on Tuesday in London that he wants to talk to Renamo to boost the process of reintegrating guerrillas. Have there been any contacts with the party in this regard?
JM: I can’t say. I also saw that in the media only yesterday, so I can’t say. What I must say is that, in fact, we, as a party, are interested in this process moving as quickly as possible in order to see the conclusion of the DDR [demilitarisation, disarmament and reintegration] process.
DW Africa: Because it is a process that is currently stopped, isn’t it?
JM: I can’t say, because I’m not part of the reception committee. But what is certain, and this I can confirm, is that they were hopeful that the process would move to conclusion within 15 days, or even accelerate, so as to have an outcome as soon as possible.
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