20 December 2013

Mozambique: Renamo Insists On 'nternational Mediation'

Maputo — Angelina Enoque, head of the parliamentary group of Mozambique's former rebel movement Renamo, on Friday insisted that “international mediation” is essential in what she called “negotiations” between Renamo and the Mozambican government.

The government has repeatedly rejected this demand. It also denies that anything is being negotiated. A dialogue has been under way since April, at Renamo's request, but has produced absolutely nothing. Since October Renamo has been boycotting the dialogue meetings over the question of “mediation”.

Speaking at the closing session of this year's final sitting of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Enoque claimed that the occupation by the armed forces (FADM) of the Renamo base at Satunjira, in the central province of Sofala, on 21 October, made the involvement of foreign mediators “indispensible”.

“It is necessary to recreate mutual trust, in order for the work to continue”, she said. It was thus clear that Renamo has no intention of responding favourably to the plea from the head of the Frelimo parliamentary group, Margarida Talapa, to return to the dialogue table and “stop making senseless demands”.

Despite the evidence that Satunjira was a Renamo military headquarters, Enoque described it as nothing more than the residence of the party's leader, Afonso Dhlakama. She claimed that the purpose of the FADM occupation of Satunjira was “to liquidate Renamo and its leader”.

Enoque also described Renamo members held in prisons in Nampula, Beira and Maputo as “political prisoners”, and claimed that some of them in Nampula “have disappeared, and it is presumed they were summarily executed”.

Enoque said that, at a meeting between a Renamo delegation and the Nampula provincial police commander, the latter had said the Renamo detainees would only have the right to a defence lawyer, when other Renamo gunmen still in the bush were all captured. If this is an accurate account of the conversation, then the police commander was in clear violation of the Mozambican constitution.

Lutero Simango, head of the parliamentary group of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), claimed that during the 20 November municipal elections, the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) operated “as if it were a branch of the ruling party. It was not professional, responsible or transparent in selecting and training the polling station staff”.

Among the irregularities that marred the elections, Simango stressed the use of the riot police “as a way of achieving results at any cost”, and the expulsion from the polling stations and subsequent detention of some of the MDM's polling monitors.

Despite this, the MDM had no intention of boycotting future elections. “It is only by participating in elections that we can give the people the possibility of expressing their true choices”, said Simango.

He declared that “the harassment and murder of opponents, arbitrary detentions, the violation of human rights, and the use of riot police when citizens try to express their right to vote show once again that the government of the day is not at the service of citizens, but at the service of a dictatorial agenda which is intolerable in a state ruled by law”.

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