15 August 2014

Mozambique: Dhlakama Still Refusing to Meet Guebuza

Photo: DW
Afonso Dhlakama

Maputo — Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique's former rebel movement Renamo, in a telephone interview with the independent weekly Savana, published on Friday, has categorically refused to come to Maputo to sign the final agreement on a cessation of hostilities with President Armando Guebuza.

Nonetheless, he announced that he would shortly be “in Nampula, in Beira, in Chimoio or even in Maputo”. The only thing missing for him to leave his hideout somewhere in the central district of Gorongosa was a formal cease-fire declaration.

“It's only that ceasefire declaration which is missing”, he insisted. “We made that very clear on Tuesday and Wednesday”.

But he would not sign the agreement. Saimone Macuiana, head of the Renamo delegation that has been negotiating with a government delegation in the dialogue under way since April 2013, “will sign in my name”.

The government, however, has insisted that, if the head of state is to sign, then the appropriate figure from the other side can only be the President of Renamo, and not a more subaltern figure.

The government has promised to provide Dhlakama with whatever transport he needs to come to Maputo, and has also guaranteed his personal safety. But in the interview with “Savana” he once again spurned this offer.

“I know that people want to see the handshake, but for reasons if security I cannot go and sign the declaration”, he said.

He knew that because of the amnesty law passed on Tuesday by the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, he could not be arrested if he set foot in Maputo, “but I can be assassinated, as happens throughout the world”.

Nonetheless, Dhlakama said “I am not afraid, but my party is advising me that this is the way I should proceed”.

However, he added that perhaps next week he could leave the Gorongosa mountain range and “hold a big party”.

He had every intention of waging an election campaign “since my nomination papers for the presidential election have been accepted, and my name is at the top of the ballot paper”. He did not explain why he feared assassination if he left his current home to meet with Guebuza, but not if he went on the campaign trail.

Dhlakama added that the documents agreed in the dialogue were in line with what he had always argued. “We have taken steps to build a true Republic, with state institutions that are not mixed up with political party matters”, he claimed. “We have got them to agree to a new defence and security policy in which the armed forces do not belong to the Frelimo Party as if the country were a monarchy”.

“It was clear that no party should use the armed forces for its own purposes”, he said, “that the armed forces owe loyalty to the law and to the Constitution, and that the President of the Republic must seek authorisation from parliament to use the armed forces in acts of war”.

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