21 May 2018

Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Dodges the Renamo Threat Question

Photo: The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).

President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday avoided dwelling much on the security threat posed by the RENAMO rebel forces, whose leader, Alfonso Dhlakama, died a fortnight ago, leaving thousands of residents along the Manica area, on the Eastern Zimbabwe-Mozambique border in fear of an attack.

Dhlakama led The Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) for nearly 40 years, including during a 16-year war against the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (FRELIMO) that ended in 1992.

RENAMO rebels have been known to frequently cross into Eastern Zimbabwe as visitors and travelers.

While officiating at the renaming of 3 Infantry Brigade Barracks to Herbert Chitepo Barracks in Mutare, Mnangagwa made reference to how the 3 Infantry Brigade was instrumental in the carrying out offensive operations against the RENAMO during the Mozambican Campaign.

Mnangagwa did not however shed light on whether the country was ready for any form of offensive from the rebels as fears are arising that the group could be on the loose, amid power struggles within the troubled group.

In 2017, Zimbabwe military forces ordered local residents living along border areas to move deeper inside Zimbabwe to create a buffer zone to counter the fighters who were causing a menace.

Since the death of Dhlakama, there has been uncertainty over the security of people who live in the Manica Province which shares its vicinity with some parts of Zimbabwe.

The Renamo leader's death could affect the progress made in negotiations to end hostilities between Renamo and the Frelimo government.

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