Mozambican government offers another dialogue session

Once again the Mozambican government has offered to sit down at the table with the former rebel movement Renamo, and resume the dialogue that began last April.

A government press release on Friday announced that the government delegation, headed by Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, will be available for discussions with Renamo next Monday at the usual venue, Maputo’s Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre.

The government wants to discuss the mechanisms for the participation of “national observers” in the dialogue.

The government has agreed that two people whose names were initially put forward by Renamo, Anglican bishop Dinis Sengulane and prominent academic Lourenco do Rosario, may observe the talks. But it wants clear terms of reference for their role.

However, Renamo has declared that it will boycott further talks until not only national observers, but also national and foreign mediators are present.

The latest Renamo demand, in a letter dated 5 December, called for mediation by Mozambican constitutional lawyer Gilles Cistac, Italian bishop Matteo Zuppi, former South African President Thabo Mbeki, and an unnamed representative of the European Union.

As for observers, Renamo is proposing four Mozambicans –Sengulane, Rosario, the former Vice-Chancellor of Maputo’s Eduardo Mondlane University, Filipe Couto, and Alice Mabota, Chairperson of the Mozambican Human Rights League (LDH). Six foreign observers are proposed, but all are countries rather than individuals. They are: the United States, China, Portugal, Cape Verde, Kenya and Botswana.

Ever since September, the government has repeatedly made it clear that it is not prepared to internationalise its discussions with Renamo and so will not agree to invite any foreign observers, much less mediators.

Renamo has used the issue of observers and mediators as an excuse to boycott the talks since October. There should have been a meeting on 23 December, and when Renamo did not show up Pacheco remarked “we have already accommodated the presence of national observers, but we are inviting Renamo to come to the dialogue table so that we can establish the terms of reference for their participation”.

A government military team, headed by Maj-Gen Julio Jane, will also be present at the conference centre to discuss defence and security issues with its Renamo counterparts. But the Renamo military delegation, announced by Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama in October, has never even come to Maputo, so this phase of the dialogue has never even started.

Post published in: Africa News
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