Mozambique: Renamo Deputies ‘Violating Their Oaths of Office’

Maputo – Former Mozambican Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina on Wednesday accused parliamentary deputies of the rebel movement Renamo of violating the oath of office they swore when taking up their seats in January 2015.

Speaking in the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in the “period before the order of the day”, a period of up to an hour when deputies may make speeches on anything that is not on the order paper, Vaquina pointed out that the Renamo deputies had sworn “to respect the Constitution and the law”, and that the Constitution, which Renamo voted for unanimously in 2004, forbids political parties “from advocating or resorting to armed violence to alter the political and social order of the country”.

But in fact, Vaquina accused, Renamo deputies “use the microphones of the Assembly to incite to war and to violence, in gross violation of the Constitution”.

They had sworn “to dedicate their energies to the cause of the Mozambican people”, but the reality was that gangs of Renamo gunmen were mounting murderous ambushes on roads in central Mozambique. “Is murdering Mozambicans, men, women and children, the same thing as dedicating one’s energies to the cause of the people?”, asked Vaquina.

“In other words, on Wednesdays and Thursdays (the days of parliamentary plenary sessions) they make their incendiary speeches here in the Assembly. Immediately afterwards they put on their uniforms as commanders or members of an illegal army, attack convoys, burn villages, and slaughter the population”, he accused. “Then, the following Wednesday they hurriedly wash their hands, stained with the blood of defenceless Mozambicans, put on their suits and ties, and come here again to make their incendiary speeches”.

Among Mozambican deputies, as in society at large, there were two reactions to Renamo’s violence. The majority, Vaquna said, “do not want to awaken the ghosts of the past, and repudiate violence and war”.

But Renamo itself, ‘in hallucinatory speeches, inflamed with hatred, advocates violence and war, as if they did not know that in a situation of war, we are all at risk. In their speeches the Renamo leaders speak of war and the deaths it causes in such a light-minded way as if they did not have any children, brothers or parents who might become victims of their speeches and gunfire. Or as if the lives of Mozambicans had no value for them at all”.

Vaquina asked if any Mozambicans are interested in returning to a past of war which will only bring “more humiliation, more misery and more deaths?” After a devastating war which had cost over a million lives, and after a successful reconciliation, “does Renamo want to reopen this sad and painful page in our history?”

“We must all unite to free ourselves, and to free Renamo itself from its hatred, its violence and its war”, he urged. “Because when evil comes, it comes for everyone, and the best way to avoid this evil is to solve our difference by means of dialogue”.

A second Frelimo deputy, Francisco Mucanheia, from the northern province of Nampula, poured scorn on Renamo’s claim that, by the end of this month, it will be governing in six provinces, including Nampula.

Despite speeches to the contrary, Mucanheia believed Renamo is well aware “that it will not govern in any province, either this March, or any other time as long as the people do not decide this democratically, through elections”.

“Renamo should learn to solve its internal difference and its differences with other parties democratically”, he urged. “We know that Renamo was not born as a democratic movement, but it should make an effort to observe the democratic principles it advocates so much”.

Renamo’s own difficulties, “notably who is to succeed its leader, will not be solved by the military radicalization of its various wings or factions”, warned Mucanheia. He was referring to the fact that, since 1979, Renamo has only known one leader, Afonso Dhlakama. Over that 37 year period there have been four presidents of Mozambique and of Frelimo (Samora Machel, Joaquim Chissano, Armando Guebuza and Filipe Nyusi).

“Our people have already suffered enough at the hands of Renamo”, he declared, “and it does not deserve to suffer any more. No matter how often Renamo comes here and tries to blame the government, the whole world knows that the name of the party responsible for the current politico-military instability is Renamo”.

He found it deplorable that “while every day news reaches us of Mozambicans killed or wounded by Renamo, while thousands of our fellow citizens are obliged to live in inhuman conditions as displaced persons or refugees, Renamo deputies make incendiary and bellicose speeches, manipulating public opinion”. Such speeches sounded like “a real declaration of war”.

He noted that Renamo had never honoured its promise to provide the government with a list of names of the members of its militia, so that they could be reintegrated into Mozambican society. “Instead, it prefers to use them in armed attacks, resulting in deaths, injuries and destruction of property, as a way of putting pressure on the government, and of pursuing its goal of ruling the country by force”.

Frelimo, Muxanheia said, “always was and remains open to dialogue without pre-conditions with Renamo. We must sit down and speak without arrogance to bring positions together”.

He urged Renamo to accept President Nyusi’s offer of face to face talks with Dhlakama. Rather than calling for foreign mediators, as Renamo has, “we have to believe that we can solve our own problems, because we are brothers in the same Mozambican family”.

Mucanheia suggested that an urgent first step would be for Renamo to end its attacks on the main roads in the centre of the country, and allow Dhlakama to leave his bush hideout and return to Maputo.

Source: all africa