Guebuza still favours dialogue with RENAMO

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza on Thursday pledged that the government will work to bring the country’s main opposition party, Renamo, back to a dialogue in order to maintain peace.

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza
Mozambican President Armando Guebuza

“The most difficult thing that can happen to a person is to be defeated in his convictions. But I am not defeated”, said Guebuza, addressing a press conference in the district of Chemba, at the end of this “Open and Inclusive Presidency” in the central province of Sofala.

On Monday, the first day of Guebuza’s visit, the Mozambican armed forces (FADM) occupied Renamo’s bush headquarters at Satunjira, in the Sofala district of Gorongosa, where Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama had been living for the previous year.

The FADM said they were reacting to provocation. After Renamo gunmen had opened fire on FADM patrols three times, the FADM stationed heavy artillery at the entrance to Satunjira and warned that if there were any further Renamo attacks, the troops would move into the base.

The Defence Ministry says the FADM came under fire again at around midday on Monday and kept their promise, overrunning the base. Renamo fled and there were no casualties. Dhlakama’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Guebuza stressed he wanted to continue a dialogue with Renamo, but added “we have to be sure that we are on the right path when we are defending the interests of this entire people, 23 million Mozambicans. When we say that Mozambique must develop, when we say that no solution can put at risk our Constitution”.

A peace that undermined the constitution, that produced a worse situation “would be no peace at all”, he warned.

Guebuza expressed concern at Dhlakama’s disappearance. “Any absence of a citizen from his habitual residences, and particularly when his whereabouts are unknown, is a matter of concern for the government, all the more so when the person in question is a leader of the opposition”.

Guebuza counter-attacked those voices who claimed that the use of the armed forces in Satunjira was somehow a violation of the Constitution. Alice Mabota, chairperson of the Human Rights League (LDH), is the most prominent of those making this claim. The allegation is that the government breached the Constitution when it used the army for something which, according to Mabota, is legally a matter for the police.

Guebuza accused these critics of “inverted values”. He stressed that “when the government, in this case the military and police forces, are attacked, they cannot sit back and cross their arms. If they just cross their arms, then as individuals they are exposed to more danger, but worse than this the nation becomes completely ungoverned. There cannot be an absence of authority”.

“So some of those who argue that the State should keep quiet when it is attacked are not interested in a solid constitutional order in our country”, he accused. “They are only concerned about interests here and there. Some of these voices do not speak, and do not express regrets, when there are attacks against the population, when there are attacks against our police, when civilians are kidnapped. But then the government responds to the attacks, they feel bad”.

Post published in: Africa News

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