Government and RENAMO claim consensus, give no details

Delegations from the Mozambican government and the former rebel movement Renamo on Tuesday achieved full consensus on all matters relating to a cessation of hostilities – but did not sign the long-awaited “final document” on the matter.

Guebuza and Dhlakama
Guebuza and Dhlakama

Instead, it seems likely that the documents from the dialogue will only be signed when President Armando Guebuza meets with Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. No date for such a meeting has yet been fixed, and Dhlakama is still living in a Renamo base somewhere on the slopes of the Gorongosa mountain range, in the central province of Sofala.

The final consensus was achieved at the 69th round of the government-Renamo dialogue, a day after the government a sought a brief postponement, to allow it to “revisit” a point in the terms of reference for the foreign military observers who will monitor the cessation of hostilities. The government wanted to look again at the positioning of the military observers.

In principle, the observer mission will be headquartered in Maputo, and will have regional commands in the southern province of Inhambane, the northern province of Nampula and the central provinces of Sofala and Tete. It is not yet clear whether any changes have been made in the arrangements for the regional commands.

Indeed, nothing in any of the three consensual documents – the memorandum of understanding on a cessation of hostilities, the terms of reference for the observers, or the guarantees demanded by Renamo – has been made public.

The two delegations refused to go into detail on any of the decisions taken, but merely promised to do so “at the opportune time”.

Speaking to reporters at the end of the meeting, the deputy head of the government delegation, Transport Minister Gabriel Muthisse said the step that must now be taken “is to sign the consensual documents so that they may take effect on the ground”.

One of the known guarantees demanded by Renamo is an amnesty for the Renamo gunmen who committed murder, arson and other crimes during the attacks that have occurred since June 2013, mostly in Sofala.

Muthisse said an amnesty law is being drawn up which will be submitted to the current sitting of the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. He regarded this as a matter of great urgency – the Assembly sitting is due to end in mid-August.

This will be the second time that all the crimes committed by Dhlakama and his followers have been pardoned, and the slate wiped clean. The first general amnesty was a corollary of the 1992 peace agreement which ended the war of destabilisation.

As for the proposed meeting between Guebuza and Dhlakama, Muthisse said “this implies working on the logistics and all steps necessary so that the Renamo leader can leave the bush”.

He believed that, with the consensus achieved in the dialogue, the country will return to stability, and all those interested in taking part in the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 15 October, particularly Dhlakama, will be able to do so.

For his part, the head of the Renamo delegation, Saimone Macuiana, pledged that his party is committed to guaranteeing an urgent cessation of hostilities, to guarantee that Mozambicans “will feel more secure than ever”.

Post published in: Africa News

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