The head of the government delegation, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, cited in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, said there had been no communication from Renamo informing the government that it was not available.
The government had issued a statement that it was available for yet another of the habitual Monday morning meetings. The weekly dialogue is always held on Mondays, unless one side or the other announces that it is unable to attend.
Pacheco said the government had also informed Renamo, once again, that President Armando Guebuza is willing to meet with Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama.
Furthermore, the government had promised to cover the expenses of transport to Maputo of the Renamo military team which Dhlakama had appointed to discuss defence and security matters with the government. Lack of money to cover these expenses had been cited as among the reasons for the Renamo team not coming to Maputo.
Pacheco found it strange that Renamo could allege that it had no money for the journey from its base at Satunjira, in the central province of Sofala, to Maputo, but was able to fund the ceremonies last Thursday commemorating the death in 1979 of its first commander, Andre Matsangaissa.
“It’s strange that Renamo has the resources to hold celebrations, but there are no resources to come and deal with questions that are vital to the lives of Mozambicans”, said the Minister.
Pacheco said the government would also have used the meeting to condemn the Thursday and Friday Renamo attacks against military patrols in the Satunjira area.
He suggested that Renamo is now divided into three factions – one that is prepared to accept the democratic rules and work in the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, one which believes parliament can be replaced by the dialogue with the government, and the third which still relies on military force.
Contacted by phone, the head of the Renamo delegation, senior parliamentarian Saimone Macuiana, claimed that Pacheco was wrong and Renamo had informed the government that it would be unable to attend the Monday meeting. He said that the head of Dhlakama’s office had sent a message to that effect to the secretariat of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet).
He also said that the Renamo delegation had gone to Satunjira for the Thursday ceremony, and had not been allowed to leave. However, reporters who were at Satunjira reported that although the army refused to allow the delegation to leave the base on Saturday, negotiations then followed and Macuiana and his colleagues were allowed to leave later that day.
Both Pacheco and Macuiana were speaking to the press before the news reached Maputo that the armed forces (FADM) had occupied the Satunjira base on Monday afternoon.Post published in: Africa News