Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, has declared that Brigadier Josefa de Sousa, a member of the Renamo general staff, is alive and well.
At a press conference last week, a Renamo dissident, Mariano Nhungo Chissinga, who held the rank of Major-General in the Renamo militia, claimed that Sousa had been executed on the orders of Renamo leader Ossufo Momade.
Interviewed by the independent television station STV, after a rally he chaired in Beira on Saturday, the Renamo General Secretary, Andre Majibire, said that Sousa is currently living in a Renamo base in Cheringoma district, in the central province of Sofala, and would shortly be shown to the media.
"Brigadier Josefa is alive and well in one of our bases", said Majibire. "Shortly, perhaps this week, you will have the opportunity to confirm that he is alive and you will be able to talk to him".
Ossufo Momade "is not an assassin", stressed Majibire. "Renamo is a party of peace".
He also claimed that Renamo "is united, contrary to what has been spread about by some commentators". Reports to the contrary, he said, "seek to distract our electorate and Mozambicans in general from the main objectives of Renamo, which seek to carry Ossufo Momade to Ponta Vermelha (the presidential palace in Maputo) and to win the elections in all provinces".
Majbire added that the demobilisation and disarming of the Renamo militia, and the integration of its members into the defence and security forces, or back into civilian society, is going ahead smoothly (although to date not a single Renamo gunman has been disarmed or demobilised).
He said that the Commission on Military Matters, set up between the government and Renamo, is currently checking all Renamo bases, and delivering forms to all Renamo guerrillas so that they can indicate how they would like to be integrated into society. It was thus untrue to say, as Chissinga had alleged, that anybody was being "excluded".
The memorandum of understanding, signed by Momade and President Filipe Nyusi, Majibire added, envisaged setting up assembly points, where the Renamo fighters would gather, and then a selection would be made. "Some will go into the police while others will be demobilised", he said. "This cantonment has not yet begun. So how is there any exclusion?"
According to a report in Monday's issue of the independent newssheet "Mediafax", Majibire also asked the defence and security forces to disarm Chissinga and the other Renamo dissidents, whom he described as "deserters".
The "deserters" should not be allowed to disturb the peace process now under way, he said, but disarming them was the responsibility of the government's forces and not of Renamo.
Majibire claimed there was "no obstacle" to the disarming and social reintegration of Renamo's armed men, but the defence and security forces "should neutralise the deserters who wander around with guns".