Mozambique: Renamo Dissidents Again Demand Momade's Resignation

Maputo — Dissident guerrillas from Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, have once again demanded the resignation of Renamo leader Ossufo Momade, according to a Thursday report on Radio Mozambique.

Speaking to reporters at a Renamo base somewhere in the central district of Gorongosa, the spokesperson for the dissidents, Mariano Nhongo, repeated his allegations that Momade is persecuting and murdering members of the Renamo military wing who were close to his predecessor, Afonso Dhlakama.

Momade's supporters write off Nhongo and his group as "deserters", but Nhongo held the rank of Major-General in Renamo, and was a senior figure in the Renamo general staff in January, when a Renamo congress elected Momade the party's leader.

Nhongo said the Renamo guerrillas will only hand over their guns if Momade ceases to be the Renamo President. He said that the fighters are quite willing to disarm and demobilise - but only if the process is done "transparently".

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has been negotiating a demilitarisation package with Momade, under which the Renamo militia will be demobilised and disarmed, and its members given positions in the government's defence and security forces, or reintegrated into civilian society. But this package cannot be implemented, if Renamo is split into two warring factions.

"Each Renamo soldier wants to be demobilised, wants to be integrated, wants to hand over his weapons", said Nhongo. "But we don't want the President we have. We deny him. He's a traitor".

He insisted that Momade had ordered the execution of three Renamo officers whom he named as Jossefa (Brig. Jossefa de Sousa), Ntayo and Mponha. "These three officers used to work directly with Dhlakama", said Nhongo. "Ossufo detained them and sent them to small units. Up until today we have no information about them. They were killed! If they are alive, why are they hiding them? We soldiers want our officers, they worked with us, they suffered with us, why are they hidden?"

Last week Renamo General Secretary Andre Majibire promised that Jossefa de Sousa was still alive, and said Renamo would show him in public so that journalists can speak to him. But so far there has been no sign of him.

Nhongo demanded that, if Sousa and the others are indeed alive, Momade must produce them. "The families want to speak with them, and we also want to salute them", he said.

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