Dhlakama threatens to rule “by force”

Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo, on Tuesday again threatened to take power “by force” in six northern and central provinces, if the ruling Frelimo Party does not grant them “autonomy” on Renamo’s terms.

Afonso Dhlakama
Afonso Dhlakama

Interviewed by the independent television station STV shortly after his arrival in the northern city of Nampula, Dhlakama insisted that later this year “Renamo will govern the six provinces”.

The provinces Dhlakama wants to rule are Sofala, Manica, Zambezia and Tete in the centre of the country and Nampula and Niassa in the north. A Renamo bill that would have set up “provincial municipalities” in these provinces was defeated in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, last month.

In these six provinces the president of the provincial council would be appointed “by the candidate most voted in the presidential elections” – which was Dhlakama in Manica, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia and Nampula, and the Frelimo candidate, now President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, in Niassa.

The president of the Provincial Council would appoint the members of the Council based on “political and personal trust”. The President of the Council would also appoint all the district administrators and heads of administrative posts in the province and, after consulting the district administrator, the heads of localities too. If the Assembly had accepted this proposal, it would have put the entire structure of five provinces, from top to bottom, in the hands of Renamo.

Dhlakama told STV that although “Frelimo threw out the bill”, he was confident that Renamo would achieve its goals in the six provinces. He admitted that this would need “dialogue”, and promised that he will meet again with President Nyusi.

He seems in no hurry. Nyusi is currently visiting Dhlakama’s home province of Sofala, and were Dhlakama to interrupt his agenda in Nampula and fly to Beira, no doubt Nyusi would receive him there.

Dhlakama said there would be no need to resort to war for Renamo to achieve its goals. But he gave Frelimo an ultimatum. “Frelimo has two months”, he said. “If Frelimo wants to play around, we will rule by force”.

Dhlakama said he was in Nampula to train Renamo cadres so that they would be ready for governance. He did not intend to hold many rallies. “That’s no longer of interest”, he said. “We shall train up staff academically and administratively”.

Post published in: Africa News

Leave a Reply

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