31 August 2014

Mozambique: Renamo Meets to Discuss Campaign Discipline

Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
Election posters

Maputo — Delegates from Mozambique's former rebel movement Renamo Maputo on Saturday to discuss the best ways of maintaining discipline during the official election campaign that begins on Sunday.

Senior Renamo official Eduardo Namburete, one of the members of the Renamo delegation that has been in dialogue with the government since April 2013, confirmed that his party will launch its campaign in the central province of Zambezia, at a rally to be addressed by Renamo general secretary, Manuel Bissopo.

"We are meeting with delegates from all the districts and all the urban neighbourhoods so that they can receive from the party leadership recommendations as to how we should behave during the campaign", he told reporters.

But Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, who has not been seen in public since May, is taking no part in the launch of the campaign. The only comment Namburete would make about his leader's absence is that Dhlakama would appear "in due time".

"Renamo President Afonso Dhlakama will appear and will campaign at an opportune moment, and the media will be informed as to when and where the president will appear on the ground to contact his people", Namburete pledged.

Dhlakama has been living in a Renamo base somewhere in the central district of Gorongosa since October 2013, communicating with other Renamo leaders, and sporadically with journalists, by mobile phone.

His excuse for not appearing at the launch of the Renamo campaign is that he does not wish to

start campaigning until the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, passes a law to ratify the cessation of hostilities signed between the government and Renamo a week ago.

His spokesperson, Antonio Muchanga, told a Friday press conference that Dhlakama "will only be personally available when security conditions have been created - when the Assembly of the Republic approves the documents resulting from the negotiations and transforms them into a law, and the government activates the mechanisms to place international military observers on Mozambican soil".

But so far no date has been fixed for an extraordinary sitting of the Assembly that will discuss Renamo's proposal. The ruling Frelimo Party has reluctantly gone along with the Renamo demand, although it believes there is nothing in the agreement on cessation of hostilities that requires parliamentary approval.

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