RENAMO again threatens to take power “by force”

A meeting of demobilized fighters from Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo ended in the central city of Quelimane on Friday, with renewed threats to take over “by force” six northern and central provinces.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama

The declaration from the meeting, read out by prominent Renamo parliamentarian Carlos Manuel, and broadcast by the independent television station STV, contained three decisions.

One was to set up a new barracks for the Renamo militia in Morrumbala district in Zambezia province. The second announced that Renamo will set up its own police force, while the third reiterated Renamo’s determination to take control of Manica, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula and Niassa provinces, by force if necessary.

Renamo has been threatening to seize the six provinces since April, but so far nothing at all has happened, despite insistent claims by Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama that “we shall govern this year”.

Dhlakama himself explained that the new police force would be based on the veterans of Renamo’s war, but might also include new recruits. The Renamo veterans were all demobilized in 1994, over two decades ago, and so could hardly be described as young.

Dhlakama did not explain how he intends to pay or equip the Renamo police. Indeed, the sources of Renamo’s current funding have never been explained. The allowance Renamo receives from the state budget by virtue of its parliamentary group, is not enough to pay for Dhlakama’s constant travels round the country, and for his existing militia, let alone for new forces and new barracks.

At the meeting Dhlakama handed over a cheque for five million meticais (about 128,200 US dollars) for the Renamo demobilized. He insisted that this was not money from Renamo but was a personal donation from his own funds.

Post published in: Africa News

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