4 June 2018

Mozambique: Renamo Decides Its Coordinator Will Live in Gorongosa

Maputo — Ossufo Momade, the interim coordinator of Mozambique's main opposition party, the rebel movement Renamo, will now live in the Renamo military base in the bush of the central district of Gorongosa, which was formerly the headquarters of the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama.

According to a report on Radio Mozambique, the decision that Momade should live at the base was taken on Sunday at a meeting of the Renamo National Political Commission held in Gorongosa.

Speaking at a Monday press conference, the spokesperson for the meeting, Alfredo Magumisse, said that while he is living in the Gorongosa base, Momade's mission will be to continue the dialogue under way with the government to ensure an effective peace.

Magumisse said that the Political Commission wanted to conclude rapidly the second item on the agenda of the dialogue, which is "military matters". This term covers the demobilisation and disarming of the Renamo militia, and the incorporation of its members into defence and security forces of the Mozambican state, or back into civilian life.

The first item on the dialogue was decentralisation, covered in a series of constitutional amendments which the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, passed unanimously in late May. These will allow, for the first time, the election of provincial governors and district administrators.

The dialogue between the government and Renamo relied heavily on direct contact between President Filipe Nyusi and Dhlakama, usually by phone, though Nyusi occasionally visited Gorongosa for face-to-face meetings with the Renamo leader.

Nyusi believed that he and Dhlakama were nearing a final agreement on the military issues, and publicly declared he wants to continue the talks with Momade.

Dhlakama had lived in the Gorongosa base since late 2015. But when he fell ill, there was no medical care at hand, and Nyusi says he was not informed of the seriousness of the Renamo leader's condition until it was too late. Dhlakama died on 3 May.

Magumisse also said that the Renamo Political Commission is urging Renamo members and sympathisers, and the public at large to remain calm, and prepare to take part in the forthcoming elections. Municipal elections are scheduled for 10 October, and presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections will be held in October 2019.

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