Dhlakama promises take-over in March

Renamo head Afonso Dhlakama on Thursday (14 Jan) declared that his decision to seize control of six northern and central provinces as from March is “irreversible”. Speaking by telephone to a press conference in Nampula, he said the takeover will be peaceful - unless he faces resistance.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama

In order to avoid violence, governors and others should simply leave their posts. And in an 11 Jan press conference by telephone in Beira, Dhlakama called on the government not to use violent means to resist the take-over. He said Renamo would only use weapons if government did. We want a “peaceful transition, peaceful and no shots. ” (AIM, , Lusa – 11,15 Jan). In an interview with Canal de Mocambique (6 Jan), the reporter pointed out that that last year Dhlakama repeatedly promised to take over the six provinces, and asked: “Do you think people will take this deadline of March seriously?” But Dhlakama insisted that this time he was serious. Dhlakama has apparently returned to his bush headquarters in Satunjira, Gorongosa, Sofala.

On 14 January he also said that as the matter was “closed”, there was nothing to negotiate, so he was not calling for talks. But on 11 January he said that the Mozambican Catholic church had accepted his request to mediate new talks, and that “I have Indications” that South African President Jacob Zuma would also agree. But in an interview with Canal de Mocambique (6 Jan) he ruled out talks with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, despite Nyusi’s invitations to a face-to-face meeting in Maputo. “We’re not interested. Negotiate what?”, asked Dhlakama.

Historically among the Christian churches, the Catholics have opposed Frelimo and backed first the Portuguese colonial government and then Renamo, while the Protestants backed Frelimo. On 21 December Renamo spokesperson Antonio Muchanga said the previous mediators were biased and Renamo no longer accepted them, and had asked Zuma and the Catholic church to mediate. (AIM En & Pt, 12, 15 Jan)

Post published in: Africa News

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