Mozambique: Renamo returns to the dialogue table

After three months of persistent boycotts, Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo on Monday returned to dialogue with the government.

It was Renamo, back in April 2013, which requested the dialogue, but in October broke off the talks threatening that it would not return until the government accepted the presence at the table of national and international mediators and observers.

Since October, the government has repeatedly invited Renamo to further talks. The government delegation has arrived on time at Maputo’s Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre, but Renamo has refused to turn up – until today, when the Renamo team, headed by senior parliamentary deputy Saimone Macuiana, put in an appearance.

This at least meant that the question of the participation or otherwise of foreign mediators and observers could be discussed face to face rather than through an exchange of letters. But from the statements given to the press after the brief meeting it was not at all clear whether either side has changed its position.

The head of the government delegation, Transport Minister Gabriel Muthisse, told reporters that the spirit of both sides was “positive”, and they had reached an understanding on “essential questions” concerning the participation of “third parties” in the dialogue.

“This is an idea agreed upon by both sides”, he said. “We are confident that the work we are now going to do is to seek to agree upon the criteria and terms of reference for the participation of third parties, observers, which will create much more positive conditions for the advance of the dialogue”.

Muthisse said he had the impression that Renamo had rejoined the dialogue in a positive spirit. “In the coming sessions we shall try to consolidate this spirit”, he added, “so that it has a positive impact on the life of our people”.

“The most important thing is the participation of third parties, of observers”, Muthisse stressed. “The two parties will sit down to define the criteria for the participation of these third parties. I think that our perspective, and I believe also that of Renamo, is not to see who has won and who has lost. Our expectation is that all Mozambicans will gain from this debate. Our focus is that Mozambicans should win so that they can produce and live in a climate of peace”.

Months ago the government accepted two of the names put forward by Renamo as observers – the Mozambican Anglican bishop, Dinis Sengulane, and prominent academic Lourenco do Rosario.

But Muthisse said nothing about mediation, and nothing about foreigners participating either as observers or mediators.

In December, Renamo demanded 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 proposed 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 were proposed, but all are countries rather than individuals. They are: the United States, China, Portugal, Cape Verde, Kenya and Botswana.

For his part, Macuiana told the reporters “From the work we have done, it is clear that the presence of mediators and observers is important. So together we shall find a way of putting this into practice, in order to include the participation of all. The whole world is interested in helping the Mozambican people reach a peaceful solution”.

Asked if the return of Renamo to the dialogue table would mean an end of attacks and ambushes by Renamo gunmen, Macuiana said that his delegation had only gone to the Conference Centre to discuss matters related with mediation.

“Other subjects were not discussed, but when the time comes, we shall advise you”, he said.

Post published in: Africa News
  1. ">Agen Bola |

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *