Maputo — Mozambican Defence Minister, Atanasio M'tumuke, said on Thursday that the agreement reached between Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, and the leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, shortly before the latter's death in May, envisaged the appointment of three officers from Renamo to senior positions in the general staff of the armed forces (FADM), and not 14 as Renamo had claimed the previous day.
M'tumuke was speaking after swearing into office several military officials including the three Renamo figures. They are Brigadier Xavier Antonio as Director of the Department of Operations in the General Staff, Commodore Inacio Luis Vaz as Director of the Department of Military Information , and Brigadier Araujo Andeiro Maciacona as Director of the Department of Communications.
"The late President of Renamo indicated the three members who should occupy the departments to which these people have been appointed. So we are complying with the understanding between the parties", sad M'tumuke.
"There are just three vacancies, and not 14. That's an invention", he declared. "What we now expect is the list of ten members from Renamo who will form part of the police. The person who chose these departments was the late President of Renamo".
M'tumuke was thus directly contradicting Renamo spokesperson Jose Manteigas who, at a Maputo press conference on Wednesday. claimed that the inclusion into the military leadership of 14 high ranking officers from Renamo was part of the agreement reached by Nyusi, not with Dhlakama but with Ossufo Momade, the interim coordinator of the Renamo Political Commission.
Manteigas also complained that the three Renamo officers were appointed on an interim rather than a definitive basis. M'tumuke shrugged this off. "The others can carry on talking. That's very normal. Being ínterim doesn't mean you stop being an officer".
Manteigas had called on Nyusi to "respect scrupulously" the agreement with Momade and to transform the ínterim appointments into definitive ones.
As for the numbers, the disagreement may be a matter of interpretation. For Manteigas and M'tumuke did agree that only three senior Renamo officers were to be appointed to the FADM General Staff.
The other 11, according to Manteigas, should become commanders of a brigade, and two independent battalions, heads of four departments of the army, and members of the general staff of two brigades and two independent battalions.