BEIRA, MOZAMBIQUE– Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has promised to work with the new leadership of the country’s main opposition party, Renamo, in order to continue the dialogue for a definitive peace which he had begun with the party’s late leader, Afonso Dhlakama, who died last Thursday.

Speaking at Dhlakama’s official funeral in the central city of Beira on Wednesday, Nyusi stressed that the Renamo leader’s untimely death should not lead to any setback in the efforts to ensure lasting peace in the country.

Renamo is not only the country’s main opposition party but is also still waging an armed struggle against Frelimo, the ruling party led by the president and Dhlakama had lived in a mountain hideout with his troops until his death.

We shall be honouring the memory of Dhlakama if we are able to conclude, in a responsible and speedy manner, the political dialogue, which is centred above all on decentralisation, and on the disarmament, demobilisation and re-integration of the Renamo forces,” Nyusi said.

A package of constitutional amendments on decentralisation, including proposals for the indirect election of provincial governors and district administrators, was negotiated between Nyusi and Dhlakama and is currently before the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.

In the weeks immediately prior to his death, Dhlakama had been in repeated telephone contact with Nyusi over how to dismantle and disarm the Renamo militia. Dhlakama’s key demand was that more Renamo officers should be placed in command positions in the armed forces (FADM) and the police.

The clearest result of the dialogue between the two men was the truce announced by Dhlakama in December 2016, which has held to the present, and which ended all Renamo armed activities.

Let it be clear that I will continue the process of building peace, together with the new leadership of Renamo, always respecting the legal and institutional framework,” pledged Nyusi Wednesday. The conclusion of this dossier will always be consider a collective work of Mozambicans, work to which Dhlakama contributed to the end of his days.