Mozambique: Government approves Law on Prevention, Repression and Combat against Terrorism
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi declared on Monday that reconciliation inside the armed forces (FADM) is one of the great victories achieved by the Mozambican people.
Speaking at a ceremony to promote senior officers and swear in new FADM commanders, Nyusi said “this reconciliation, which today joins together officers who yesterday were on opposing sides, must continue to inspire the values of inclusion and professionalism inside the family of the defence and security forces”.
He was referring to the fact that the FADM was formed, in 1994, as a merger of volunteers from both the old government army, the FAM/FPLM, and the Renamo rebels. Officers who were once in Renamo continue to hold senior positions in the FADM – despite this, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has taken his illegal militia back to war, with repeated attacks on roads and railways in the central provinces.
Among those sworn into office was the new commander of the air force, Andre Niposso, who was promoted from brigadier to major-general. Niposso is one of the senior officers who joined the FADM from Renamo.
Lazaro Menete, who was formerly commander of the navy, becomes commander of the army, also with the rank of major-general. The former commander of the army, Eugenio Mussa, becomes commander of the Civic Service (this is an alternative to compulsory military service for young Mozambicans who cannot be absorbed into the armed forces).
Rear-Admiral Eugenio Muatuca was sworn in as commander of the navy and Brigadier Francisco Mataruca as deputy commander of the Higher Defence Studies Institute named after Nyusi’s predecessor, Armando Guebuza.
Nyusi told the ceremony that “the roar of the guns is not the right path to seek peace”. In words clearly aimed at Renamo, he warned that “the resort to weapons should not serve as a mechanism to force the government into an institutional consensus that injures democratic principles”.
The people, he added, must not be held hostage so that one group can take power, nor should neighbouring countries come to hate Mozambicans because that group attacks their vehicles when they pass through Mozambique. Nyusi was clearly referring to warnings from landlocked Malawi that it may stop using roads through Mozambique for its trade, because Renamo gunmen destroyed four Malawian trucks in ambushes last week.
In a democratic state ruled by law, there was no room for two types of parties, one civilian and the other armed. Nyusi pledged that the government will continue to seek a return to tranquillity, on the basis of permanent and productive dialogue, “the only path to harmonious development among Mozambicans”.
Once again, he invited Renamo and Dhlakama to take part in a fruitful dialogue and in democratic coexistence.
Recalling that Monday was International Albinism Awareness Day, Nyusi condemned the kidnap and murder of albino citizens. Horrific crimes have been committed because of the idea, apparently imported from Tanzania, that there is something magical about albino body parts, and that their use in rituals can bring wealth and power.
“We must all unite and repudiate vigorously the harassment, abduction and murder of albinos in our communities”, said the President. “The first mission in the defence of our motherland is to safeguard the rights of people without discrimination and without stigmatization”.