Maputo — The current political situation in Mozambique is a test to see whether Mozambicans “really want peace”, declared President Armando Guebuza on Wednesday.
Speaking at a rally in Metuchira, in Nhamatanda district, as part of his “open and inclusive presidency” in the central province of Sofala, Guebuza recognised that Mozambique is currently living through “moments in which peace is under threat”.
“This moment is a test, an examination of our convIction as to whether we really want peace. We have to show that we want peace, we don't want upheavals, and we want to continue to develop”.
The weak-hearted might fail this test, he said, “but Mozambicans are not weak. They won national independence and they won peace, and that's why, in this testing moment, we shall have a solution”.
Sofala has been the scene of repeated attacks by gangs of armed members of the former rebel movement Renamo, which began in April with an attack on a police position in Muxungue in the south of the province, in which seven members of the riot police were murdered.
The situation deteriorated over the past week with Renamo ambushes of patrols by the armed forces (FADM) near Satunjira, the camp in Gorongosa district where Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama had been living for the previous month.
In what the military described as a response to provocation, FADM units occupied the Satunjira base on Monday afternoon. The operation was bloodless and Dhlakama had already fled. His whereabouts are not known.
Renamo retaliated with an attack against the police command in Maringue district in the small hours of Tuesday morning.
In his rallies so far in Sofala, Guebuza has found local residents calling for a definitive solution to the problem which they believe can only be found through a face-to-face meeting between Guebuza and Dhlakama.
At the Metuchira rally, Guebuza repeated that “the solution to this lies in dialogue. We should all continue to engage in dialogue. If we hold a dialogue with conviction, we shall cease to be weak. We shall be strong and continue to develop”.