MAPUTO, In a rare expression of unanimity, all three political parties represented in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, have expressed their hope that the current truce will become a definitive peace.

Phone conversations between President Filipe Nyusi and the leader of the Renamo rebels, Afonso Dhlakama, led to Dhlakama halting Renamo’s war as from Dec 27, 2016. A week later, the truce was extended by a further two months.

The truce has been holding. Since Dec 27, no Renamo ambush on the roads, and no further clash between the Renamo militia and the defence and security forces has been reported.

Speaking at the opening session of the first sitting this year of the Assembly here Monday, the head of the parliamentary group of the ruling Frelimo Party, Margarida Talapa, declared that Mozambicans were looking to the Assembly to ensure that during this sitting “the country will at last find a solid platform for effective peace”.

“Our debates”, she urged, “should seek only the national interest which in the first place means definitively silencing the guns”.

“We reaffirm that all Frelimo deputies are ready to place all their skills in the service of achieving the legitimate desire of the people,” she added.

The truce had already borne fruit, she noted, in that the free circulation of people and goods was now possible throughout the county, schools which had been closed were re-opening, and health units in zones of conflict were functioning again.

Her opposite number, in the Renamo parliamentary group, Ivone Soares, claimed that the truce was Dhlakama’s initiative, and that she now expected it to become “definitive”.

“The truce has brought great hope to all the Mozambican people. This country can advance if we opt for a genuine peace, if we promote the democratic rule of law, based on strong and non-partisan laws and institutions,” added Soares, who is Dhlakama’s niece.

Soares stressed the need for decentralization, one of the main themes in last year’s negotiations between the government and Renamo but did not mention the longstanding Renamo claim that it has the right to rule the provinces where it secured a majority of votes in the 2014 general election.

A completely new demand raised by Soares is for a “provincial police force”. The existing force, the Mozambique Republic Police (PRM), would retain responsibility “for the most serious crimes”, while other policing matters would pass into the hands of the provincial forces, she said.

Lutero Simango, the head of the parliamentary group of the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), said the current truce “should serve as a platform to give peace back to Mozambicans so that they can dream and work freely on national reconstruction, and reinvent the State, in accordance with the values of democracy, freedom, political pluralism and the rule of law”.

“There is a national consensus that peace should not be conditional. Peace should be real and effective, it should be the property of all Mozambicans,” declared Simango.