MOZAMBICAN PRESIDENT VISITS SOFALA PROVINCE TO MEET REBEL LEADER

MNAPUTO, Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has visited Gorongosa district, in the central province of Sofala, on Wednesday for a further meeting with Afonso Dhlakama, the leader of Renamo, which is a rebel group as well as the country’s biggest opposition party.

A statement issued by Nyusi’s office here Thursday said the meeting was intended as part of the efforts seeking to consolidate understandings and achieve effective peace.

However, the planned face-to-face meeting between the two men did not happen because of what the statement called organizational motives, without giving any details. Nyusi stayed in Chitengo camp in Gorongosa National Park, and sent the General Commander of the Police, Bernadino Rafael, to meet with Dhlakama somewhere in the Gorongosa bush.

The encounter between Rafael and Dhlakama set up a telephone link between Dhlakama and the president and the statement said Nyusi held a dialogue with the Renamo leader by tele-conference which took place cordially.

The two men discussed the progress made in the peace process and noted, with satisfaction, advances leading towards mutual consensus and finalization of the documents to be agreed.

Those documents are proposals on decentralisation of government and on the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration of the Renamo militia. Nyusi and Dhlakama said these proposals should be presented for debate by the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.

The two men, the statement added, re-affirmed their unequivocal commitment to peace which would inaugurate a radiant future for all Mozambicans.

During Nyusi’s previous visit to Gorongosa, on Aug 6, he did meet Dhlakama face to face.

Technically, Renamo is still in a state of insurrection, in that the current peace is only a truce, declared by Dhlakama in late December 2016, and repeatedly extended. The truce has held, and throughout 2017 there has been no clash between Renamo gunmen and government forces, and no Renamo ambush on the country’s roads.

Two working groups established between the government and Renamo — one on decentralisation, and the other on military matters — have been discussing the texts of definitive agreements. There is no longer any great controversy over decentralisation, since Renamo’s main demand, for the election of provincial governors, has been accepted.

This will, however, require a constitutional amendment, since the Constitution establishes that governors are appointed by the President.

Much more difficult are the military issues, since Dhlakama has demanded senior positions for Renamo officers in the Mozambican armed forces (FADM) and the police, as the price for disarming and demobilizing the Renamo militia.

The meetings of the working groups have been taking place secretively, far from the eyes of the media, and so the content of the proposals is not yet known.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK