Zim on high alert over RENAMO threat

Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi says Zimbabwe is closely monitoring events in Mozambique where RENAMO insurgents are said to be regrouping.


Sekeramayi said the Zim government was “closely monitoring the situation in Mozambique because we do not want the escalation of hostilities in that country.

“Our main concern is the security of our railway and pipe lines, so we do not want any instability in Mozambique,’’ he said.

Recently, Foreign Affairs deputy minister Christopher Mutsvangwa told the press that Zimbabwe could intervene in Mozambique if the hostilities in that country escalated.

But during a tour of the Crooks Corner-Sango Border Post minefield near the Mozambican border on Thursday, Sekeramayi said although the Zim army was on high alert, no troops had been deployed in Mozambique.

“There is not a single Zimbabwean soldier who has been deployed in Mozambique as we speak. In the event that we decide to deploy our troops there, we will inform the nation,’’ Sekeramayi told the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

It is unlikely that Zimbabwe will unilaterally send troops to assist the Mozambican government to deal with the insurgency, and analysts say any such intervention will have to be under the auspices of either the Southern African Development Community or the African Union.

Besides, even if the Zim government wanted to, some say it neither has the economic resources nor the military hardware to be of any meaningful use in Mozambique.

Reports also indicate that the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, which produces the country’s military hardware, is broke and on its knees.

Dr Martin Rupiya, a former officer in the Zimbabwean National Army who has operational experience in Mozambique, says it is unlikely that the political tensions in Mozambique will escalate to a point where it becomes necessary for regional countries to step in.

“I think (rebel leader) Afonso Dhlakama has taken the wrong route in abandoning the 1992 peace treaty with the FRELIMO government.

“There is no stomach for reigniting the war in Mozambique, and RENAMO should have negotiated with FRELIMO to have their issues addressed.

“Already the US and Portugal have condemned this step so there is no support for what they have done,” Rupiya said.

According to Rupiya, one of the demands by RENAMO is that they be allowed to share power “not necessarily through elections but through a presidential decree”.

He said he did not think Zimbabwe will intervene, adding that statements by the government to that effect were just precautionary measures.

He added that the fact that the Mozambican government was yet to approach SADC with a request for help showed that it had the capacity to contain the RENAMO insurgency.

RENAMO was formed in the 1970s and encouraged by the then white-ruled Rhodesia’s intelligence service, which recruited Mozambicans opposed to liberation movement FRELIMO.

When white rule ended in Zimbabwe in 1980, RENAMO was adopted by South Africa’s apartheid military to try to thwart black nationalism on the borders from Angola to Mozambique. – SW Radio Africa News

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