Monteiro was responding to a question from the Renamo parliamentary group, which accused the government of attempting to murder Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, and asked â€œdoes the government think it is legally, morally and politically justified to resort to the defence and security forces for actions which seek to assassinate the Renamo leader, while at the same time expressing a will to hold a dialogue with Renamo?â€
Monteiro categorically denied that the government intended to murder Dhlakama, but stressed that the defence forces will continue to collect weapons held illegally, including by Renamo. He promised that the collection of weapons will continue â€œuntil the last firearm in unauthorized hands is collected coercively or handed over voluntarilyâ€ to the defence and security forces, since â€œthe possession and use of weapons of war is the exclusive prerogative of the Stateâ€.
In the motion of censure, read out by the spokesperson of the Renamo parliamentary group, Jose Carlos Cruz, Renamo once again claimed that the peace agreement it signed with the government in October 1994 allows it to keep an armed force.
He clearly believed that if a claim is repeated frequently enough, it becomes true. The peace agreement did indeed allow Renamo to keep armed bodyguards, but only for a limited period. The clause in question states: â€œRenamo shall be responsible for the immediate personal security of its topmost leaders. The Mozambican government shall grant police status to the Renamo members charged with guaranteeing that securityâ€.
The agreement lists this as one of the â€œspecific guarantees for the period between the ceasefire and the holding of electionsâ€. The first multi-party general elections took place in October 1994, and since that date the Renamo militia has been illegal.
Cruz claimed that the government was resorting to â€œstate terrorismâ€ and intended to return to a one-party state. â€œNobody in their right mind can accept the decision to disarm Renamoâ€, he declared.
He alleged that the two previous presidents, Joaquim Chissano and Armando Guebuza, â€œnever said the Renamo security force was illegalâ€. Not only is this untrue, but Chissano has gone on record as saying that one of his biggest mistakes was failing to disarm Renamo.
In its written opinion on the Renamo censure motion, the Assemblyâ€™s Commission on Constitutional and Legal Affairs pointed out that armed political parties are banned under the Mozambican constitution which states â€œpolitical parties are forbidden from advocating or resorting to armed violence to change the political and social orderâ€.
It was the governmentâ€™s duty, the Commission said, to guarantee public order and the security of citizens. This duty imposed the need â€œto remove completely threats to the security of the people and the state, which necessarily involves collecting firearms which are in illegitimate handsâ€.
Carrying that out was not â€œa declaration of warâ€, as Renamo claimed, but â€œthe responsible acceptance of a Constitutional obligationâ€.
â€œThe existence of Renamo armed men violates the constitutional orderâ€, said the Commission. â€œThe governmentâ€™s action to disarm the Renamo men is a measure seeking to restore the constitutional orderâ€.
In the brief debate that followed, Renamo continued to accuse Monteiro of lying, and demanded a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the two ambushes that the motorcade of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama suffered in the central province of Manica on 12 and 25 September, and the disarming of Renamoâ€™s bodyguards in Beira on 9 October. This impromptu demand, however, was not even included in the Renamo motion.
When the censure motion was put to a vote it was defeated by 125 to 77. In the vote the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), joined forces with Renamo, but the combined opposition was easily outnumbered by deputies of the ruling Frelimo Party.Post published in: Africa News