Mozambican parties to resume talks

Filipe Nyusi

Filipe Nyusi

MAPUTO. — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi declared on Sunday that he believes the government and the former rebel movement Renamo will “very soon” resume dialogue, thus respecting the desire of Mozambicans to resolve problems through discussing them.

Nyusi was speaking at an ecumenical service held in Maputo’s “Peace Square” organised by the Christian Council of Mozambique, on the 23rd anniversary of the peace agreement between the government and the apartheid-backed rebel movement Renamo, signed in Rome on October 4, 1992.

A dialogue between the government and Renamo began, at Renamo’s request, in April 2013, following an agenda proposed by Renamo.

114 sessions of the dialogue were held, but in August this year, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama abruptly terminated the dialogue.

He also categorically rejected an invitation from President Nyusi for a face-to-face meeting in Maputo,

President Nyusi announced that, when the dialogue resumes, it will not simply be between the government and Renamo, but will be extended to other political parties, civil society organisations and religious groups.

He said his hope for renewed talks arose from the latest contacts he had been making trying to set up the conditions for further dialogue.

“From the latest developments, I am hopeful that within a very short space of time we shall be talking again”, he said, as he thanked the Christian Council for its initiative

President Nyusi stressed the need to engage in dialogue for peace, since war merely kills people and destroys roads, hospitals, schools and other infrastructures – as the war of destabilization did in the 16 years prior to the Rome Peace Agreement.

Earlier in the day, President Nyusi laid a wreath at Maputo’s Monument to the Mozambican Heroes, a ceremony that was also attended by his two predecessors, Joaquim Chissano and Armando Guebuza.

Guebuza told reporters that the recent clashes between Renamo gunmen and government forces should not dishearten the public. Undesirable though such clashes are, he said, they might end up giving the people greater determination to maintain and preserve the peace, convinced that there is no alternative to peace.

Persistence, hard work and love for the country are some of the basic pre-requisites for peace to prevail, said Guebuza.

“Mozambicans must continue to preserve peace”, he urged, “and work and struggle for more harmony in society, and for genuine peace.

“This true peace involves respect for human life, respect for human rights, and respect for our Constitution”.

Anglican bishop emeritus Dinis Sengulane stressed the need for a continual dialogue among all spheres of society.

He argued that what had failed in the 23 years since the peace agreement was dialogue, because it had not been continuous.

“Dialogue must be continuous at all levels”, he said.

“We must disarm minds, and we must disarm hands. Dialogue and the disarmament of minds and hands are the things which failed”.

The clashes between Renamo armed men and government forces, said Sengulane, are the expression that neither minds nor hands were completely disarmed, which “deafened dialogue”.

A unit of the Mozambican police clashed with gunmen of the former rebel movement Renamo in Gondola district, in the central province of Manica, last Friday morning.

The clashes, in the area of Chicata, were first announced by Renamo spokesperson Antonio Muchanga at a Maputo press conference the same day.

Journalists who visited the area, from the independent television station STV, and from the Sunday paper “Domingo”, have confirmed the shooting.

Police spokespersons told the reporters that Renamo had opened fire first. The police unit was on its way to Chicata, when it came under fire at the village of Mussatua.

Local people told the “Domingo” correspondent, Domingos Boaventura, that a number of people had died in the clash, but neither STV nor Boaventura reported seeing any bodies.

Chicata and Mussutua are near the site of the clash on 25 September on the Zimbabwe-Beira road which the police say left over 20 members of the Renamo militia dead.

“Domingo” says that Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama took refuge in Chicata after the 25 September events.

Renamo gunmen, presumably some of those who had been escorting Dhlakama on 25 September, set up base in a local primary school.

The shooting brought life in Mussatua to a standstill.

Local residents fled from the area and sought safety in urban areas such as Gondola town or the provincial capital, Chimoio. —