Frelimo heads of lists: "Generational transition on the march" - Egídio Vaz
Members of Renamo's Military Junta in Gorongosa. [Picture: DW]
The self-proclaimed Mozambican National Resistance Military Junta said on Saturday (17.08) that it considers the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement signed by the Mozambican government and Renamo, the country’s main opposition party, as null and void.
Renamo’s breakaway armed wing, led by Maj. Gen. Mariano Nhongo, accuses Ossufo Momade of being in the service of the Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo) government and of violating the spirit of the peace accords concluded by the late leader of the opposition party Afonso Dhlakama in 2018.
“The Renamo Military Junta determines and has officially published today the immediate dismissal of the current Renamo president, Ossufo Momade, and announces the nullity of all agreements that Momade has signed with the Frelimo Government,” reads a note from the group, which is meeting in Gorongosa, in central Mozambique, to elect a new leader.
In the note, the group describing itself as an “entrenched in the woods” military structure with 11 provincial military units, reiterates that it will not surrender weapons under the peace agreement signed by Ossufo Momade, and adds that it will officially assume all decision-making and administrative powers linked to the demilitarisation, disarmament and reintegration (DDR) process.
General Mariano Nhongo, who heads the self-proclaimed Military Junta, says the group will decide whether or not conditions exist for the October 15 elections, and promises that the it is capable of making it impossible to hold the elections.
Betrayal and bribery
Joao Machava, a spokesman for the faction, says that no one on the military side has been consulted by the party leader on the peace agreement, so they consider it useless. Machava accuses Ossufo Momade of “traitorous and corrupt” acts, saying the Renamo leader had accepted “the Frelimo bribe”. The armed wing has announced that it will resort to violence if there is no negotiation with the government.
“The Government must negotiate with Renamo, because Renamo is us, the military who have the weapons. The consequences and problems will be with the Government, not with Ossufo anymore, because we are the ones who are in the woods with the weapons,” he said.
Asked about the number of weapons in their possession, the military junta spokesman said: “We have a lot of weapons all over the country.” The group demands the resignation of Ossufo Momade, accusing him of “kidnapping and isolating” Renamo officials close to former party leader Afonso Dhlakama, who died on May 3 last year.
“Ossufo Momade was not elected to sell Renamo and destroy its General Staff at a bargain price. He was instead elected to give continuity and to protect the nation’s superior interests, for which Renamo has fought since 1977,” reads the text which further accuses Ossufo Momade of kidnapping officers who were loyal to Dhlakama.
“Group of deserters”
The Renamo Military Junta meeting started this Saturday in Gorongosa, bringing together commanders from five provinces. The goal is to choose a new president of Renamo to renegotiate the DDR process with the Government before the hand-over of any weapons. The post should be filled this Monday (19.08).
Military Junta spokesman Joao Machava said the new president “will have full and complete responsibility for negotiating demilitarisation with the government – the entire DDR process.”
Last week, Renamo’s current president said that the challenges to his leadership stemmed from the acts of a “group of undisciplined deserters”, underlining the importance of the peace agreement to end the clashes. “When we went to the congress, we made room for everyone to run. The congress elected Ossufo Momade. It won’t be a group of undisciplined deserters that will define our line,” Momade said.
The National Peace and Reconciliation Agreement was signed on 6 August in Maputo by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and Ossufo Momade. The Mozambican (Frelimo) government and Renamo signed a General Peace Agreement in 1992 ending 16 years of civil war, but this was violated between 2013 and 2014 by armed clashes between the two parties due to disputes related to the general elections.
In 2014, the two parties signed another agreement to cease military hostilities, which was also violated up until the declaration of an indefinite truce in 2016, which had held since, though without being formalised.Deutsche Welle