Verdade (Maputo)

Mozambique: 'No Guarantee I Will Not Be Arrested When I Come to Maputo' - Afonso Dhlakama

Afonso Dhlakama, the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) president, described the recent arrest of his spokesman Antonio Muchanga as a provocation by President Armando Guebuza but even so, he promised that he will not retaliate by force.

Dhlakama believes that the government talks about his meeting with Guebuza, using as propaganda, but "there are no guarantees that I will not be arrested when I come to Maputo". This means that the war and political tension is likely to persist in Mozambique when the general election is a little over three months away.

During a telephone interview with journalists who were in Maputo, Dhlakama said that Muchanga's arrest was a violation of the constitution and he described the State Council meeting after which Muchanga was arrested as a "disgrace".

Dhlakama believes that Muchanga committed no crime but s! imply conveyed what he was told to. "Even if an agreement is not reached, let there be a truce to stop the shooting. The election must not be affected," Dhlakama said, in sisting on the "reunification of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS), because as he sees it a ceasefire can only be achieved with his men's integration into the FDS.

Dhlakama said that he did not understand why Muchanga had been arrested when leaving the Presidency because it is known that he is a State Council member. "Following the election result, Muchanga became a State Council member. This is different from being a member appointed by Guebuza. It is an abuse of power to lift my spokesman's immunity," he said.

After Muchanga's arrest, Dhlakama said that he did not plan to appoint a new spokesman quickly, but he promised that he will keep the Mozambican people informed of everything.

The leader of the largest opposition party stressed that because of Muchanga's arrest, he will not travel to Maputo to meet Guebuza due to a lack of t rust. "The government talks about the meeting, using it as propaganda; it always talks about receiving me but it arrested Muchanga recently for speaking on behalf of the party. Therefore there are no guarantees that I will not be arrested when I come to Maputo," he said.

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