Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, has stated that it will refuse to take part in further dialogue with the government unless national facilitators and international observers are present.
Speaking to the press shortly after the end of the 23rd round of dialogue between the two sides, the head of the Renamo delegation, parliamentarian Saimone Macuiana, argued that these are needed to overcome the current political impasse.
After several months of dialogue, the talks have not progressed beyond the first item on the agenda, which is about the country's electoral legislation.
Renamo's main complaint is the composition of the National Elections Commission (CNE). Under the current legislation, the CNE has eight members appointed by the parliamentary parties (five by Frelimo, two by Renamo and one by the Mozambique Democratic Movement), three from civil society organisations, a judge appointed by the Higher Council of the Judicial Magistracy, and an attorney appointed by the Higher Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office.
Renamo is arguing that the CNE should have half of its members appointed by Frelimo, with the rest coming from Renamo, other opposition parties and civil society.
The government counters that Renamo has continually refused to put its proposals to the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. It argues that parliament is sovereign and is the only body capable of changing legislation.
The second item on the agenda is defence and security, where the government will call for the disarmament of Renamo. The third agenda item is Renamo's complaint of party political bias in the state apparatus, whilst the fourth covers economic questions.
However, at the moment the talks are going nowhere. Macuiana told the press that it is essential that observers such as Anglican Bishop Dinis Sengulane and the Vice-Chancellor of the Polytechnic University, Lourenco do Rosario, be at the next meeting as facilitators.
On the question of the proposed meeting between Mozambique's President, Armando Guebuza, and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, Macuiana complained that Renamo's technical team does not have written guarantees from the government that its logistical needs will be met.
This Renamo commission is supposed to travel to Maputo to meet with the military team appointed by President Armando Guebuza and led by Major General Julio Jane. The two teams are to discuss defence and security issues prior to the meeting between President Guebuza and Dhlakama.
The head of the government delegation, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, told the press that he is still waiting for Renamo to inform him of the cost of the logistics of the technical team. He stated that he is not going to write a blank cheque.
He explained, “we have said that we can contribute to expenses for transport to Maputo, food and lodgings. And for transport to and from the meetings. Renamo has to tell us what the cost of this will be and then we can decide whether to pay part or the whole amount”.