Nyusi proposes agenda for meeting with Dhlakama

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi specified on Tuesday that at his proposed meeting with Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, he wants to discuss implementation of the agreement on a cessation of military hostilities signed on 5 September last year.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi

At a religious service held by the Brazilian sect, the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (IURD), on Sunday, Nyusi announced his intention to invite Dhlakama for an urgent face-to-face meeting in Maputo. True to his word, he sent Dhlakama an invitation, via the Renamo leader’s Maputo office, on Monday.

Dhlakama, who is currently in the central city of Quelimane, neither accepted nor declined the invitation – instead he asked Nyusi to propose an agenda. Dhlakama’s reply, received by Nyusi’s office on Tuesday morning, complained that the invitation was “too vague”.

Nyusi had left the agenda open, simply asking Dhlakama to come to Maputo to discuss “matters of peace and development”. Dhlakama’s answer called for a “clear, concrete and concise” agenda.

On Tuesday afternoon, following a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government spokesperson, Deputy Health Minister Mouzinho Saide, said Nyusi responded with a proposed agenda containing three points – analysis of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, analysis of the dialogue between the government and Renamo (now suspended, on Dhlakama’s orders), and “miscellaneous”.

The final point, Saide said, was there so that Renamo could add whatever other matters it wished to discuss. Nyusi was now waiting “as a question of priority, for Renamo’s answer in order to discuss the question of peace in Mozambique”.

For the government, the purpose of the September agreement on cessation of hostilities was to disarm and disband Renamo’s illegal militia, offering its members positions in the armed forces or police, or reintegrating them into civilian life.

This has not happened. Although Renamo did end its campaign of ambushes against civilian and military targets, mostly in the central province of Sofala, it has not taken any moves to disarm its militia. Instead, at the dialogue with the government, Renamo insisted that it should be allocated 50 per cent of senior military and police positions, a demand which was not mentioned in the September agreement.

Skirmishes between Renamo gunmen and the defence and security forces have resumed in parts of the country, notably Moatize and Tsangano districts in the western province of Tete.

At a conference of its demobilized soldiers held in Quelimane last week, Renamo threatened to create its own police force and to set up a “general staff headquarters” in Morrumbala district, in the Zambezi Valley. That meeting also backed up Dhlakama’s repeated threat to seize “by force” the six northern and central provinces where he claims that Renamo won the October 2014 general elections (Manica, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula and Niassa).

Post published in: Africa News

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