14 January 2018

Mozambique: Peace Talks Nearing Conclusion, Says Nyusi

Maputo — The process of achieving an “effective peace” in Mozambique is nearing its conclusion, declared President Filipe Nyusi on Friday.

Speaking at a ceremony in Maputo with members of the Mozambican police, Nyusi warned that the current stage is still delicate and demands “special attention”, so that it produces results favourable to all Mozambicans.

He revealed that earlier on Friday he had once again been in telephone contact with Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Renamo rebels, in order to discuss “final adjustments” in the arrangements for “effective pacification' of the country.

“When it's a question of altering the law, we must pay attention because failure could mean suffering or more conflict”, Nyusi added. “I'm not saying what is expected will be perfect, but we are almost in the conclusive phase”.

He called on Mozambicans to be calm, since putting the finishing touches on a job “always needs great delicacy” - just as, when constructing a building, the finishing was always more complicated than erecting the walls.

The country has been at peace for over a year now, since Dhlakama declared a ceasefire that took effect on 27 December 2016. The ceasefire has held and there have been no further Renamo ambushes on the roads, or clashes between Renamo and government forces.

But Renamo still maintains an illicit militia, and hence the possibility of resuming its insurrection.

Over the past year two working groups, set up between the government and Renamo have been working in near complete secrecy drawing up proposals on decentralization and military issues.

On decentralization, there is agreement on the principle of electing the provincial governors - which will require a constitutional amendment, to be submitted to the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, at its next sitting, due to begin in February.

Military questions are much more difficult, since Dhlakama is demanding senior positions in the armed forces (FADM) and police for officers in his militia.

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