Mozambique: Renamo Urges 'Military Junta' to Refrain From Violence

Mariano Nhongo threatens to attack any party that begins campaigning.

Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, has urged the self-proclaimed "Renamo Military Junta" not to resort to violence to achieve its aims.

In an exclusive interview with the German Agency DW Africa, published on Monday, the leader of the Junta, Mariano Nhongo, who now calls himself President of Renamo, denounced Renamo leader Ossufo Momade as "a traitor", and threatened that, if the government does not negotiate with him, the junta will make it impossible to hold the general elections scheduled for 15 October.

DW Africa has now sought a response from Renamo spokesperson Jose Manteigas who warned that threats to disrupt the elections constitute a crime.

Mantigas stressed that the real Renamo is the one led by Ossudo Momade, and, despite Nhongo's threat, it fully intended to participate in the elections, in every constituency. "That's the challenge we have ahead of us", he said. "We are focused on the elections".

Asked about Nhongo's threat to ambush and kill people campaigning for the elections, Mantigas said "It's worrying. Attacking defenceless people and public bodies is a crime. If Mariano Nhongo has some claim to make, we think it should not be by means of guns, since this is an affront to the democratic rule of law".

Manteigas added that this was a matter which the Mozambican state should deal with. "It's the state that has to guarantee defence, security and tranquillity in the country". He was optimistic that "the Defence and Security Forces will know what position to take, faced with this situation".

He categorically denied Nhongo's claim that the Renamo military were not involved in the election of Momade as the party's leader, at the Congress held in January. Members of the Renamo militia not only voted at the Congress, but were elected to positions in the Renamo bodies, including its Political Committee.

"The party met in Gorongosa district between 15 and 17 January at its sixth congress, where it elected Ossufo Momade as President of the Party, and the other party bodies", stressed Manteigas. "Any act practiced outside of these bodies is not the work of the party, and the authors of such acts are not part of Renamo".

Nhongo had said he intended to meet with Renamo parliamentary deputies, to set up a commission to embark on new negotiations with the government, but, when asked about this, Manteigas denied that the Renamo parliamentary group is in league with the Junta.

"I don't know what deputies he's dealing with, or what he is negotiating", said Manteigas. "What I can tell you is that the Renamo parliamentary group is directed by the President of the Party, and receives orientations from Renamo. So I know nothing about these negotiations".

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