Mozambique: Renamo Dissidents Insist On Replacing Momade

Renamo faction leader Major General Mariano Nhongo (left), members of the faction at a conference in Gorongosa mountain (top right) and João Machava, spokesman for the faction (bottom right).

Maputo — The dissident group inside Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, insists that it will go ahead with a national conference next Saturday to oust Renamo leader Ossufo Momade, and appoint somebody else to head the party.

The "Voice of America" radio station interviewed Mariano Nhongo, the head of the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta", who said the conference will take place in the central district of Gorongosa. The delegates, he added, are mostly Renamo provincial commanders, and they began arriving in Gorongosa as from Monday.

Nhongo said the situation inside Renamo is "very serious", because practically all the military officers who had worked under Momade's predecessor, the late Afonso Dhlakama "have been excluded from the demobilisation procedure".

He even claimed that the great majority of the officers from Dhlakama's time have been arrested by Momade's faction - which was why the "Military Junta" had decided to dethrone Momade.

It is not known how many Renamo fighters will follow Nhongo and the "junta". The official Renamo leadership describes Nhongo and other senior dissidents as "undisciplined deserters", and insists that the demobilisation of the Renamo militia, as agreed between Momade and President Filipe Nyusi will go ahead.

Nhongo said the Junta has invited representatives of other political parties, religious organisations, civil society and the international community to attend the Saturday conference.

The only qualification needed for their attendance is that they "should be interested in supporting our project to reorganise Renamo".

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