Renamo claims office destroyed, government denies

Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, has accused the district government in Muanza, in the central province of Sofala, of destroying a Renamo office in the locality of Chenapiminba on 7 August – but the government says that no such building existed.

According to a report in the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, Renamo says that the office, including a Renamo flagpole and flag, was demolished to make way for “OJM (Mozambique Youth Organisation) Square”, which was inaugurated by Sofala provincial governor Carvalho Muaria on 12 August, to mark International Youth Day.

Renamo says the office had existed for 15 years and that its demolition “is the culmination of a scenario of destruction and burning of Renamo offices in that district”.

A statement from the Renamo Sofala provincial political commission said “this shameful act is an attack on our democracy. In our understanding, it seeks to encourage violence and endanger the environment of peace in our province”.

But the Muanza district administrator, Joao Patricio, denied that any building had been demolished, and described the Renamo claim as “a blatant lie”.

He said that the area in question was a patch of waste ground near a market, and close to the offices of the Chenapaminba administrative post. There was no Renamo office there, but Renamo had used the area for meetings.

The Muanza government decided to build a “Mozambican Heroes’ Square” (and not an “OJM Square”) on the ground, and this was inaugurated, not by the governor, but by Patricio itself. Such “Heroes’ Squares” are found in many Mozambican cities and towns.

Before building the Heroes’ Square, Patricio said, the district government took the precaution of contacting Renamo – and the local Renamo representatives agreed with the idea.

“Renamo has no offices in Muanza, and so we are surprised when they say that the government destroyed their office”, said the administrator. “We were not contacted by Renamo about this matter which your paper is now raising”.

“This is a way of defaming the Muanza government”, Patricio said.

Post published in: Africa News

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