Mozambique: Former Junta Spokesperson Calls for End to Attacks

Maputo — The former spokesperson for the dissident Renamo Military Junta, Joao Machava, has turned against Junta leader Mariano Nhongo, accusing him of distorting the reasons behind the creation of the Junta, through his continued military attacks in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala.

Machava was once thought of as the second-in-command of the Junta. But earlier this month he abandoned the Junta, and joined the programme to demobilize and disarm the remnants of the Renamo militia.

Cited in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Machava claimed that the attacks ordered by Nhongo are a gross violation of the objectives behind setting up the Junta. The Junta’s original goal, he claimed, was to persuade the factions in the Renamo leadership to find a peaceful solution to the differences which had arisen after a Congress in January 2019 elected Ossufo Momade as President of Renamo.

Machava, who commanded the only known Renamo base in the south of the country, in Mabote district, in Inhambane province, said that Nhongo is becoming isolated because of his insistence on continuing attacks against civilian targets.

He said that many Renamo fighters are opposed to the use of force against people and property. “General Nhongo should stop ordering the attacks”, said Machava, “because innocent people are dying, He should listen to the pleas from the Mozambican people and from the international community, because the solution to his demands does not lie in the people, and much less in the President of the Republic (Filipe Nyusi). It lies in Renamo itself”.

He urged Nhongo to understand that his orders to attack civilians are damaging the entire country, and are prejudicing individuals who do not know why the Junta was set up and what goals it is pursuing.

Machava said a great deal of disinformation about the demobilization, disarming and reintegration (DDR) of Renamo fighters is circulating. Some Renamo officers, for example, had been told that a condition for them to benefit from DDR, is to enter as a simple private, losing their military rank.

Machava stressed that the government, Renamo and the joint commission set up to implement DDR should ensure that the correct information is made available so that many former Renamo guerrillas apply voluntarily for demobilization.

He was sure that many Renamo fighters do not want to continue living in the bush, fighting against their brothers, and contributing to pushing the country backwards.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique