Dhlakama promises “effective peace”

Chimoio (Mozambique), (AIM) – Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo, on Wednesday assured reporters that the war between his forces and the government is nearing its end, and “an effective peace” will soon be re-established.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama

Dhlakama was speaking at a press conference given by telephone to journalists in Chimoio, capital of the central province of Manica, at which he expressed satisfaction at his talks, also by phone, with President Filipe Nyusi.

“I have held contacts with my brother Filipe Nyusi to see if we can find a way to effective peace because we don’t want to see more bloodshed in Mozambique”, he said. “The people should circulate freely, and undertake their activities without fear of dying or losing their property. The war is at an end. We shall once again embrace our families, circulate on the roads, visit our relatives and work to produce. That is what we want”.

Currently a truce is in effect. After phone calls with Nyusi, Dhlakama declared a truce which began on 27 December. Initially it was only for a week, but it has been renewed twice, and now expires on 5 May. The truce has held, and there have been no reports of further Renamo ambushes on the roads, or of clashes between Renamo gunman and the defence and security forces.

Dhlakama said that, if it depended on him, and if the government complies with decisions taken at the negotiating table, then the truce could be extended indefinitely.

“I am studying how to extend the truce with no time limits”, he said. “But it all depends on whether Frelimo obeys what we agree in the negotiations. If it is complied with, I will order a truce without limits”.

He gave no details of his recent talks with Nyusi, but guaranteed that telephone contacts are continuing “in search of reconciliation among Mozambicans”.

“Many people think that secret agreements are being reached between me and my brother Filipe Nyusi, but it’s nothing like that”, he added. “Mozambicans will soon know the forms of this negotiation. Everything will be divulged so that the people know”.

Asked about Renamo’s participation in the 2018 municipal elections and the 2019 general elections, Dhlakama said that he and his party will compete and intend to win.

“We shall compete and we promise to win because the people are with us”, he said. “We want to govern this country democratically. That is our main goal, We don’t harbour rancours against anyone. We don’t even feel vengeful towards Frelimo, since this is a moment for reconciliation”.

Dhlakama is still living in a Renamo military base in Gorongosa district. He has not been seen in public for about 18 months. He said resumption of public political activities depends on the negotiations and on guarantees of security for himself and for other Renamo members.

“If they guarantee my security, then even today I can live and engage in public politics”, he declared. “Otherwise I shall stay here in the bush of Gorongosa, where I took refuge and feel fine”.

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