Maputo — “Only in effective peace and true reconciliation will we be able to make the nation stronger and more cohesive”, declared Margarida Talapa, head of the parliamentary group of the ruling Frelimo Party, on Thursday at the closing session of the end-of-year sitting of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.
She pledged that Frelimo parliamentarians “are willing to receive, debate and, in respect for the highest interests of the nation, approve the legal instruments pertinent for making viable the understandings resulting from the dialogue under way, as soon as they are sent to the Assembly”.
She was referring to the dialogue between the government and the rebel movement Renamo, including the establishment of two working groups, with members appointed by President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, which have been discussing decentralisation and military issues.
Their work may be nearing its conclusion - in his State of the Nation address on Wednesday, Nyusi said the working groups “have achieved consensus about the road map to achieve effective peace”.
Talapa praised Nyusi for his personal contacts with Dhlakama, including two visits to the central district of Gorongosa where Dhlakama is currently living in a Renamo camp. She cited Nyusi's Wednesday address which spoke of “building bridges which lead us to discover that we have more reason to promote peace than to resume war”.
Talapa even had friendly words for Dhlakama, “It is fair that we recognise the involvement and collaboration of Afonso Dhlakama in the good progress made in the pacification of the country, and we urge him to remain faithful to the commitments made, since Mozambicans deserve to live in an effective and definitive peace”.
Nyusi, she continued, “continually teaches us that only with citizens capable of respecting different ways of thinking, of accepting the good ideas of others, who are tolerant and truly devoted to hard work, will we become a peaceful country, where it is pleasant to live and to invest, and we will once again become a reference point in the region and in the world”.
Talapa stressed that “cultural, ethnic, linguistic, political and ideological diversity enriches our Mozambican nature, and must never be a source of conflicts or discrimination”.
The head of the Renamo parliamentary group, Ivone Soares, agreed with Talapa that “the great expectation of the people concerns peace”.
Mozambicans, she said, “are awaiting the deposit, here in the assembly, of the package on decentralisation, a factor which will strengthen democracy. A timetable for the steps to take until implementation of the package on decentralisation and military questions will ease the tensions and apprehension among Mozambicans”.
She stressed that Dhlakama (who is her uncle) is “unequivocally committed” to “redeeming peace and social stability”.
The third party represented in the Assembly, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) struck a dissonant note. The head of the MDM parliamentary group, Lutero Simango, said the people had expected the dialogue between the government and Renamo to result in an effective peace this year, but those expectations “were defrauded”.
He insisted that the talks should not be restricted just to the government and Renamo. Instead the MDM wanted “a more inclusive dialogue, which will allow all of us to march in the same direction, converging on the same point”.
“Nobody is more Mozambican than anybody else”, said Simango. “Our ideological perceptions should not be an obstacle to developing a true platform of inclusive national dialogue”.