In an interview published in Wednesdayâ€™s issue of the anti-government weekly â€œCanal de Mocambiqueâ€, Dhlakama ruled out any talks with President Filipe Nyusi, despite Nyusiâ€™s repeated invitations to a face-to-face meeting in Maputo.
There were no contacts between Renamo and the government, he claimed. â€œWeâ€™re not interested. Negotiate what?â€, asked Dhlakama, â€œWe negotiated the General Peace Agreement (in 1992) so that all institutions would function with democratic rules. Frelimo didnâ€™t want it and nothing functionedâ€.
Dhlakama repeated the standard Renamo lies about the 1992 agreement â€“ namely that Renamoâ€™s private militia is envisaged in the terms of the agreement. In fact, the clause in the agreement which allows Renamo to provide its own security for its leaders is time-bound. It is one of a series of transitional guarantees for the period between the cease fire and the first multi-partty elections. Those elections were held in October 1994 â€“ since that time Renamoâ€™s militia has been entirely illegal.
â€œThey want to take our guns away from us so that they can finish off Renamoâ€, Dhlakama claimed. â€œNobody is going to oblige me, Afonso Dhlakama, to hand over guns to Frelimoâ€.
But when the police the police surrounded Dhlakamaâ€™s house in Beira on 9 October last year, he did allow his personal body guards to be disarmed. Explaining this awkward fact, he said â€œWhat I did in Beira is a military strategy. I am a general and the first thing I thought of was to avoid a bloodbath, because I am with the peopleâ€.
Dhlakama frequently described himself as a â€œgeneralâ€ â€“ but this is a self-awarded rank. No legitimate institution ever gave Dhlakama any military rank at all.
â€œThe playing around has finished. We are going to governâ€, Dhlakama insisted. â€œI have the support of the entire population. Everybody thinks weâ€™ve had enough. This has gone on too long. We shall governâ€.
The â€œCanal de Mocambiqueâ€ reporter pointed out that that last year Dhlakama repeatedly promised to take over Sofala, Manica, Zambezia, Tete, Nampula and Niassa provinces. â€œYou gave several ultimatums, but they were no more than declarationsâ€, the reporter said. â€œDo you think people will take this deadline of March seriously?â€
But Dhlakama insisted that this time he was serious and Renamo â€œwill form a government where we won the elections. We will form our government peacefully in the six provincesâ€. A seventh, Cabo Delgado, â€œwill then fall into our hands. It wonâ€™t be able to resist. It will be isolatedâ€.
Dhlakamaâ€™s claim of a Renamo victory in six provinces is grossly exaggerated. Dhlakama himself topped the poll in the 15 October 2014 presidential election in five provinces â€“ Sofala, Manica, Zambezia, Tete and Nampula â€“ but Renamo only won a majority of votes in the parliamentary elections in Sofala and Zambezia, and secured a majority in the provincial assembly elections in Sofala, Zambezia and Tete. Frelimo won a clear victory in all three elections in Niassa.
Dhlakama claimed that his takeover of northern and central Mozambique would be entirely peaceful â€œas if we were demonstratingâ€. But if the police were to react to Renamoâ€™s attempted coup â€œwe shall defend ourselvesâ€.
â€œWe are saying that we shall governâ€, he repeated. â€œIf anyone wants to attack or hinder us, we shall defend ourselves. We shall be using the right to self-defence. We are really going to govern in March. This is not a game. But we are also prepared to defend ourselves. If anyone tries to stop us donâ€™t come and accuse Dhlakama of wanting warâ€.
â€œWrite down that I said we are going to governâ€, he told the reporter. â€œIâ€™m not a traitor. If this does not happen, I would be a great traitor. Iâ€™m not going to meet with Nyusi, because there is no reason for us to meet. What we want and what we are going to do is govern in the provinces where we wonâ€.
Offers of meetings by Nyusi were made simply in order to gain time, Dhlakama claimed. â€œWe are tired of these games. I swear on my motherâ€™s soul that I am not going to make this mistake again. This time, we are only going to negotiate when we are governing the six provincesâ€.Post published in: Africa News