Mozambique: Catandica Residents Call for Guebuza-Dhlakama Meeting

Maputo — Residents in the central Mozambican town of Catandica, capital of Barue district, on Thursday demanded that a date be fixed as soon as possible for the long awaited meeting between President Armando Guebuza, and Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, in order to bring an end to the politico-military tensions in the country

The sense of urgency was expressed at a rally in Catandica, chaired by Guebuza, on the second day of his “open and inclusive presidency” in Manica province.

Among those who spoke at the rally, a man named Alexandre Americo called for a rapid solution to the current crisis. He wanted to know what conditions needed to be met before there could be a face-to-face meeting between Guebuza and Dhlakama. As long as that meeting did not happen, he said, innocent lives were paying the bill for the current hostilities in the repeated ambushes on the country's main north-south road.

Renamo attacks have also severely affected Gorongosa district. Americo and other Catandica residents said they are no longer able to visit relatives in Gorongosa because they fear they will come under attack,

Citizens still remember the deep scars left in the country's socio-economic fabric by the 16 year war of destabilisation, and so they believe there is an urgent need for the President to meet with the Renamo leader.

Guebuza said that at no time has he ever refused to hold talks with Dhlakama. However, the Renamo leader promised to attend meetings, but at the moment of truth did not show up, thus giving the impression that there was no will on his part to end the political tension.

But, because the government wanted peace, “we shall continue to insist”, Guebuza stressed. “Mozambicans are continuing to build and he (Dhlakama) is continuing to destroy, and that is why we are insisting on dialogue, because only thus will our peace be consolidated, and will we advance towards development'.

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