â€œHe (Dhlakama) demanded an agenda and an agenda was presentedâ€, Chissano pointed out. Nyusiâ€™s initial invitation simply asked Dhlakama to come to Maputo to discuss â€œmatters of peace and developmentâ€.
When Dhlakama claimed this was â€œtoo vagueâ€, and insisted on a specific agenda, Nyusi responded with a proposed agenda containing three points â€“ analysis of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities, signed on 5 September 2014, analysis of the dialogue between the government and Renamo (now suspended, on Dhlakamaâ€™s orders), and â€œmiscellaneousâ€.
Dhlakama rejected this proposal, and declared, at a rally in Namacurra district, in the central province of Zambezia on 27 August â€œThereâ€™s nothing! Forget it!â€
But for Chissano the agenda was not a problem. â€œThe important thing is to hold the meeting and that it discusses everythingâ€, he said. â€œThey should clarify matters to each other, and take a decision. We want peace. We donâ€™t want to be cannon fodder, for bullets either of Renamo or of the governmentâ€.
Points on the agenda could be discussed and changed during the meeting itself, Chissano added. â€œAn agenda is a piece of paper which people produce to give some indication of how to carry out discussionsâ€, he said. â€œBut when you want an open discussion, looking for solutions, the agenda can be corrected during the discussionâ€.
People should stop thinking that this was a question of two enemies talking, he urged. â€œHe (Dhlakama) calls me brother, and I call him brother. So itâ€™s not a discussion between two enemies. Itâ€™s a family, and if the family is having a discussion, thereâ€™s no reason to say â€˜â€™this is the agendaâ€™â€™â€.
He pointed out that, in the past, much of what Renamo brought to the discussion table had been accepted. â€œEven when this means moving the goalposts, this did not prevent the discussions taking placeâ€. (The most striking example of this was the governmentâ€™s capitulation in early 2014 to almost all Renamoâ€™s demands for sweeping changes in the electoral legislation).
The key issue was preventing the loss of human life. Chissano recalled hearing Dhlakama say â€œit doesnâ€™t matter if 20, 40 or 200 people die, thatâ€™s not important. Whatâ€™s important is the objectiveâ€.
Chissano rejected this disregard for life. â€œWe have to value the lives of each and every Mozambicanâ€, he said. â€œAnd each Mozambican must do all in his power to ensure that nobody else diesâ€.
Chissano objected to Dhlakamaâ€™s description of the negotiations over the peace agreement, which the two men signed in October 1992, as â€œplaying aroundâ€.
â€œI heard him say he played with Armando Guebuza (the chief government negotiator in the peace talks, and later Chissanoâ€™s successor as President), and that he played with me. I didnâ€™t know that he was playing with meâ€, said Chissano. â€œI thought he was working seriously with me. I never thought about gamesâ€.
Hence today Dhlakama â€œshould not meet with the President to play, but to work and to reflectâ€. Certainly in any meeting between Nyusi and Dhlakama â€œthere will be contradiction, and perhaps they wonâ€™t have the same point of viewâ€.
That should not be an obstacle, â€œbecause it is necessary to continue looking for consensus, since thatâ€™s what reconciliation isâ€. What was important, Chissano stressed, â€œis what unites us as Mozambicans, so that we minimize what divides usâ€.Post published in: Africa News