Mozambique: Renamo Threatens to Boycott Assembly Delegation

Maputo — Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, has declared it will boycott a delegation from the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, which will visit the three provinces affected by armed violence – Cabo Delgado, Manica and Sofala – in the near future.

The delegation, from the Assembly’s working commission on constitutional and legal affairs and human rights, will gather information on the situation on the ground in the three provinces, to be included in a report that should be submitted by 30 October.

At a Maputo press conference on Wednesday, the Renamo General Secretary, Andre Majibire, claimed that the delegation “will just be a tourist trip to let people think that the Assembly is involved in solving the problem”.

Renamo’s boycott was a reaction to its failure to persuade the Assembly’s governing board, its Standing Commission, to set up a Commission of Inquiry to look into alleged human rights abuses in the three provinces plus Niassa.

Parliamentary Commissions of Inquiry are set up by the Assembly plenary, the next session of which does not begin until 15 October. The last meeting of the Standing Commission, held on 2 October, threw out a Renamo attempt to put a resolution establishing a Commission of Inquiry onto the agenda for the plenary.

So, in a fit of pique, Renamo is boycotting the delegation from the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Commission, even though it will cover much the same ground as the Commission of Inquiry would have done.

Since the ruling Frelimo Party has an overwhelming majority in the Assembly, both the delegation and the commission of inquiry would have a majority of Frelimo members. By boycotting the delegation, Renamo guarantees that its voice will not be heard at all.

Asked about the declared intention of Elias Dhlakama, the brother of the late Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, to run for the presidency of the party at the next Renamo Congress, Majibire simply replied “we are living in an age of democracy”.

Meanwhile, Renamo leader Ossufo Momade, continuing a tour of the southern province of Inhambane, has criticised the resort to violence as a means of solving differences of opinion. Speaking in the town of Massinga, he declared that war merely holds back the progress of the country.

Cited in Thursday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Momade said armed violence is an obstacle to poverty reduction, and dialogue should be prioritised as the means to solve disputes.

His remarks were clearly aimed at the breakaway “Renamo Military Junta”, which rejects the peace agreement he signed with President Filipe Nyusi in August 2019, and has continued to stage lethal ambushes against vehicles on the main roads through Manica and Sofala.

“The resources in the country, and particularly in Inhambane province should be duly shared by all”, said Momade. But while war is raging “there will be no time or calm to share the fruits of exploiting our resources”.

Momade has also complained that Frelimo is sabotaging his political work in Inhambane. Cited by the German agency DW Africa, he said he has been forced to meet with Renamo members and supporters in inadequate places, because Renamo has been barred from using hotel rooms.

On Wednesday, he said, Renamo had paid to hire a room in the town of Maxixe. Party members went to the room, but were then forced to abandon it. Renamo believes the owner had come under pressure to cancel the booking.

One of the managers of this room, who would not give his name, told DW Africa that the person who signed the receipt for the Renamo money, did not understand that the room was being hired for a political event, an extraordinary excuse, given that Renamo is a political party.

Momade said he had faced the same sabotage in Massinga and Vilanculo, because local Frelimo officials “have manipulated business people not to receive Renamo in their establishments”.

“Where are we going with this sort of behaviour?”, he asked.

Momade said he intends to call a meeting with the international contact group that has been facilitating the dialogue between the government and Renamo, and also intended to raise the matter personally with President Nyusi.

“We are complying in full with our obligations”, said the Renamo leader, “but what we are finding on the ground is an anomalous situation”.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique