MAPUTO — Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party is willing to press ahead with amending the country’s Constitution but not at the price of threats, says President Filipe Nyusi.

He was speaking in his capacity as president of Frelimo at the end of a three-day meeting of the Frelimo Central Committee in the southern city of Matola, where the draft constitutional amendments had been one of the subjects for debate.

The amendments are intended to bring the Constitution into line with the consensus reached in negotiations between the government and the rebel movement, Renamo, over decentralisation.

The initial version of the amendments, as announced by Nyusi in February, was that mayors, provincial governors and district administrators will be elected, but indirectly. Members of municipal, provincial and district assemblies would be elected, and whichever party won a majority of votes in those elections would then appoint the mayor, provincial governor or district administrator.

This concentration of power in the hands of political parties caused an outcry, and Frelimo modified the proposal so that whoever headed the winning list of candidates for the Assembly would become mayor, governor or administrator.

Nyusi, summarising the Central Committee meeting, stressed that achieving effective peace could not be attained through threats, but as the fruit of a frank and permanent dialogue with all the living forces of society.

Such a dialogue should restore the confidence necessary for attaining and consolidating peace, he added.

We urge all Mozambicans to unite around this greater good, peace, regardless of the difference which characterise us and which make us great as a nation, said Nyusi.

The Central Committee, he continued, re-affirmed the determination to keep Frelimo in the vanguard of the transformation of Mozambican society, committed to serving the people, and attentive to the political, economic and social dynamics of the country and of the world.

We stressed the need to improve the relationship between the party and the government, seeking to respond to the deepest longings of citizens, and thus improving the living conditions of the people, he said.