20 December 2012

Mozambique: Renamo Boycotts State of Nation Address

Maputo — The entire parliamentary group of Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Friday walked out of the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, rather than listen to President Armando Guebuza give his annual State of the Nation address.

The Renamo deputies turned up and took their seats. They even showed some respect for the Head of State by standing up when he entered the parliamentary chamber (but, unlike the deputies of the ruling Frelimo Party, they did not applaud him).

They listened as parliamentary chairperson Veronica Macamo gave her introductory remarks, but as soon as Guebuza went to the rostrum and began to read his speech all the Renamo deputies trooped out of the chamber and left the building.

Clearly the only reason they bothered to show up at all was financial. For when Macamo took the quorum at the start of the session, they were registered as present. So they will still be paid a day’s wages, even though they missed most of the business.

Renamo thus did not hear Guebuza’s conciliatory remarks about the meetings held earlier this month between government and Renamo delegations. Guebuza placed this dialogue in the context of building “a constructive environment, conducive to greater participation and involvement of ever larger numbers of Mozambicans in the national agenda of the fight against poverty”.

Although Renamo General Secretary Manuel Bissopo declared on Monday that the dialogue was over and there would be no further meetings, Guebuza held the door open for further talks.

“We hope that, in the spirit of good faith, Renamo will present concerns that are in the national interest and contribute to the maintenance of peace and national reconciliation”, he said. “The government will continue to ensure that the dialogue, based on the highest values enshrined in the Mozambican constitution, expresses the deepest longings of all Mozambicans”.

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