Renamo rejects Chissano as a mediator

Maputo (AIM) – The Mozambican rebel movement Renamo on Friday rejected any attempt to replace the current group of international mediators in the sporadic talks between government and Renamo delegations, originally intended to pave the way for a face to face meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.

renamo4Renamo was particularly outraged by suggestions that former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano might play a role in the mediation. Apparently Chissano, internationally renowned for his diplomatic skills, can only exercise them abroad, and not inside Mozambique.

Addressing a Maputo press conference, the Renamo national spokesperson, Antonio Muchanga, said that Chissano is unacceptable because it was supposedly during his term of office that the 1992 peace agreement between Renamo and the government was not fully implemented.

Muchanga rewrote history claiming that because of Chissano Renamo members were not incorporated into the police or into the security service (SISE). In fact, in the late 1990s Chissano’s government offered to train Renamo members as policemen, but made it clear that they would be expected to obey instructions from the police hierarchy. Dhlakama then unilaterally broke off these discussions.

The government has not invited Chissano, or anybody else to replace or to join the current team of mediators. But it did suggest inviting experts on decentralization to join a small working group to draw up principles that would underlie any future legislation on decentralization. Nyusi said, last Monday, that such experts need not necessarily be members of the current mediating team.

That was all the excuse Renamo needed to accuse the government of cutting the mediators out and to reject any truce over the festive season.

The mediating team has already gone back to their home countries with very little to show for months of work. The coordinator of the mediators, European Union representative Mario Raffaelli, told reporter they would only return if they received a specific invitation from the Joint Commission set up between the government and Renamo.

The mediators have been seeking consensus on the issue of how to govern the provinces. Since none of those involved – not the mediators, not Renamo and not the government – will give reporters any clue as to what issues are at stake, it is difficult to be certain what the stumbling blocks are.

But it is reasonable to assume that one of them is Renamo’s demand that it should be allowed to govern the six central and northern provinces (Sofala, Manica, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula and Niassa) which it claims, untruthfully, that it won in the 2014 general elections.

The mediators had hoped that a consensual proposal could be put before the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in December. But the parliamentary sitting ended on Tuesday without any such proposal. Now the earliest any new legislation can be debated is February.

Post published in: Africa News

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