RENAMO no longer insisting on CNE “parity”

Mozambique’s largest opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, seems to have dropped its demand for “parity” between itself and the ruling Frelimo Party on the National Elections Commission (CNE).

Ever since a halting dialogue between Renamo and the government began last April, Renamo has insisted on the question of “parity”, and on overturning the law on the CNE which the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, approved in December 2012.

Although it was Renamo that requested the dialogue, and Renamo which suggested its agenda, when the government turned down the demand for parity, Renamo refused to move on to other agenda points.

The government delegation to the talks pointed out that it could not impose a fait accompli on the Assembly. Renamo would have to present its points on the electoral law to a parliamentary sitting – which Renamo refused to do unless it first obtained a “political agreement” with the government.

Renamo may be abandoning this all or nothing approach. Interviewed in Friday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, the Renamo national spokesperson, Fernando Mazanga, declared that Renamo is “flexible” and “not dogmatic”.

The solution “does not necessarily involve parity”, he said. “We must understand that in negotiations, one doesn’t win everything, but also one doesn’t lose everything”.

“We are willing to make some concessions”, Mazanga added, “concessions in order to ensure that Mozambicans have free and fair elections, and above all that Mozambicans live in peace”.

But he said nothing about whether Renamo would end the main obstacle to peace, namely the armed arracks by Renamo gunmen against civilian and military targets in the central province of Sofala.

At the request of Renamo, the government has delayed the start of this year’s voter registration exercise by a fortnight, from 30 January to 15 February. Mazanga denied that Renamo had asked for the delay in order to prepare itself for the general elections scheduled for 15 October.

The reason for the delay “is not necessarily this, because Renamo is and always was prepared”, he claimed

The postponement “has essentially to do with the course of the negotiations, since it seems that there is consensus”. With consensus at the talks, Renamo would then “take a definitive position as to whether it will participate in the elections”..

But speaking to the independent television station, STV, Mazanga left little doubt that Renamo will indeed take part, and that its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, will be its presidential candidate.

He said that there would be an internal election within Renamo to select the candidate but he had no doubt that Dhlakama will win. “He will participate in the internal elections, he will pass through this scrutiny, and he will stand for President of the Republic, because he has a vote of confidence from many members of Renamo. I believe he will accept the pressure of the members to continue being the Renamo candidate”.

Dhlakama was Renamo’s candidate in all four previous presidential elections, losing in all of them, and then claiming that he was the victim of electoral fraud.

Post published in: Africa News

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