Mozambique: Secret Peace Accord Signed

At the signing of the peace deal on August 7, 2019, from left, President Filipe Nyusi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Renamo leader Ossufo Momade and European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.

President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo head Ossufo Momade signed a peace accord yesterday, 6 August, in Maputo, in a public ceremony attended by various international dignitaries, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini, and the president of the African Union Commission Moussa Mahamat.

This follows the signing of a ceasefire by Nyusi and Momade on 1 August in Chitengo, in Gorongosa National Park, Sofala. Momade had remained in Satunjira, the Renamo base on the Gorongosa mountain, but as soon as he signed the ceasefire he flew to Maputo to launch his campaign for the 15 October presidential election. Nyusi has been campaigning for more than a month.

Both documents are secret and the details are not known - a point underlined today in the press. (O Pais, Carta de Mocambique) They involve integration of some Renamo fighters into the national army and police, and demobilisation of others. The first 50 Renamo fighters were formally demobilised at a ceremony in Satunjira on 29 July, although they will remain temporarily at Satunjira. At the ceremony, Momade said the deal covers 5221 Renamo fighters. (STV 29 July, AIM 30 July)

This is the third peace deal. The first was the General Peace Agreement signed in Rome on 4 October 1992, by the then Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama and President Joaquim Chissano. The second was the agreement on a cessation of hostilities signed by Dhlakama and Chissano's successor, Armando Guebuza, on 5 September 2014, which remains secret.

It appears that many issues have not been resolved in the negotiations.

Nyusi is pushing for the demobilisation to be completed before the 15 October elections, but this is impossible. Only 6 of the first 50 being demobilised handed over weapons, and it appears that as in 1992 there is a tacit agreement that Renamo can retain weapons. It is likely that Renamo will retain armed men until after the installation of new governors early next year and Renamo is convinced that some real power has been given to Renamo governors.

Two issues remain unresolved. Renamo has been demanding the integration of Renamo fighters into SISE, the security services, and Frelimo continues to resist this. The settlement is often referred to as an "elite pact" and it is clear that the Renamo leadership expects significant monetary compensation. This will probably remain secret, but at the 29 July ceremony Momade pointedly said that for reintegration "be a reality" the government and the international community must "honour the promises of support they made". The European Union's Frederica Mogherini, announced the availability of about $56 million to finance the implementation of the agreement.

Meanwhile Renamo dissidents who call themselves the "Renamo Military Junta" are rejecting the cease fire. The head of the Junta, Mariano Nhongo, who held the rank of major-general in Renamo, told reporters in Beira, via a telephone link, that his followers would not disarm for as long as Ossufo Momade remains the President of Renamo. Nhongo said he had called a conference of Renamo fighters for 17 August, in order to elect a new Renamo president. (Carta de Mocambique, 5 Aug)

One person died and one was injured in an attack by unidentified armed men against four vehicles on 31 July on the N1, the main north-south highway, in Nhamapadza in Maringue district. In an apparently separate attack, a bus from "Nagi Investments" carrying 53 passengers from Nampula to Beira was struck by bullets, but none of the passengers or crew was hit. Nhongo denied that his group had anything to do with it.

"When I want to start a war, I'll let you know," he said. (AIM, 2 & 5 Aug)

An Amnesty Law was unanimously passed by parliament (Assembleia da Republica) on 29 July. It grants amnesty for all those accused of crimes against state security or military crimes in the context of the military hostilities between the government and Renamo from 2014 to the present.

Thus it grants amnesties to members of the government hit squads to killed Renamo officials as well as to those from Renamo who attacked road traffic.

This is at least the fourth amnesty law approved by Mozambique and it is opposed by Human Rights Watch because no one is held responsible for political killings and disappearances by both sides. "The amnesty law passed this week is a betrayal of the thousands of victims of Mozambique's conflicts. Parliament ignored families long awaiting justice, as well as support and compensation from the state. Sadly, this law will do more than ensure impunity for past grave crimes. It will also likely pave the way for future abuses." uel-future-abuses

"Prospects for a Sustainable Elite Bargain in Mozambique: Third Time Lucky?" is the appropriate title of a good summary of the history of post war negotiation and conflict by Alex Vines, head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, London. The report is on

"The October elections will be the first immediate test of the August agreement. If Renamo wins at least three provincial governorships, will it be enough to seal a new sustainable elite bargain?" asks Vines.

"Corrupt elections could threaten the sustainability of the emerging elite bargain... The conduct of credible elections requires the political will of Renamo and Frelimo leaders to moderate their hard-liners and prepare for compromise. The results that emerge are unlikely to be fully democratic, but hopefully they will be partly democratic and improve political accountability and pluralism."

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