Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, speaking in his capacity as President of the ruling Frelimo Party, declared on Monday morning that the success of Frelimo depends on support from the Mozambican people.
At the closing session of the 11th Frelimo congress, in the southern city of Matola, at around 03.00, Nyusi stressed that to attain this support, each Frelimo member must know how to identify and interpret the will and the longings of the public.
He warned that interactions between Frelimo members and the rest of the population must be regular "and not seasonal". That relationship should not just be "in response to specific challenges", but must be "effective and coordinated" with the purpose of developing the nation.
Frelimo members and sympathizers, he urged, should take the responsibility for purging what is damaging from the party - otherwise "we will become accomplices in what can damage us".
Nyusi said he was closing the congress with a sense of satisfaction and confidence in the future. "We debated ideas and opinions and we looked deeply into matters of vital importance for the party and for the entire Mozambican people", he declared. "Our centre of attention was improving the living conditions of the people".
He stressed that Frelimo is not a monolith. "In Frelimo we were never all in agreement about any matter under discussions", Nyusi said. "It is from divergent opinions and the debate of ideas that we always find consensus, moving to new victories".
As for the results of the internal elections to the Party's Central Committee and Political Commission, Nyusi warned that these should not divide Frelimo members. "On the contrary, they should increasingly unite us, because they are the expression of our collective will".
He called on all Mozambicans to contribute to the search for effective peace and national reconciliation. "This is a mission that cannot be delayed and it is a mission for all of us, regardless of our political or religious affiliations or our social position", he said. "We should all be aware that we will only have an effective peace, if we are at peace with ourselves, and if we create an environment of peace, mutual concord and tolerance with our neighbour".
The enormous vote of confidence that the Congress gave to Nyusi, re-electing him Party President with over 99 per cent of the votes, gives him a free hand to conduct negotiations with the leader of the Renamo rebels, Afonso Dhlakama, in the way that he sees fit.
This was not always the case. Nyusi told the Congress that he had kept secret his departure for the central district of Gorongosa on 6 August for a meeting with Dhlakama in his bush camp because he was afraid that other members of the party leadership might try to stop him.
The country is currently calm because Dhlakama announced a truce in late September, and subsequently extended it indefinitely. The truce has held, and there have been no more Renamo ambushes on the main roads, or clashes between Renamo gunman and the defence and security forces.
But converting the truce into a definitive cessation of hostilities will require reaching an agreement on the disarming and dismantling of the Renamo militia. Dhlakama has already made clear that his price for this will be the inclusion of more Renamo officers in senior positions in the armed forces (FADM) and the police.