Mozambique: Secret Renamo Document - or Forgery?

Maputo — The independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique" on Thursday published an allegedly secret document from the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, with plans to grab victory in the 15 October general elections in the southern province of Gaza, normally regarded as a Frelimo stronghold.

The document purports to be a set of instructions from Renamo General Secretary Andre Majibire in order to "ensure our victory in Gaza, electing the greatest number of deputies to the Assembly of the Republic".

To achieve this, Majibire supposedly calls for "secretive measures" to ensure that Renamo delegates from the central provinces of Sofala, Manica. Tete and Zambezia are sent southwards "to join the polling stations throughout Gaza".

"All possible measures", the document adds, should be used to allow these Renamo delegates from the centre of the country to vote in Gaza, although they were not registered as voters in the province.

Majibire also allegedly ordered "transport for some ex-guerrillas from the Funhalouro base in Inhambane, duly armed, to go to Xai-Xai (the Gaza provincial capital) to threaten members of Frelimo so that they do not go to the polling stations on 15 October".

"Friends of Renamo in some foreign embassies" are said to be willing to provide five million meticais (about 81,000 US dollars at current exchange rates) to bribe officials of STAE (Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat) in Gaza "to promote disorder among polling station staff on voting day".

There are several indications that this document is a forgery. First, although there are some Renamo ex-guerrillas in Inhambane, they seem to owe their allegiance, not to the official Renamo leadership of Ossufo Momade and Andre Majibire, but to the dissidents who call themselves the "Renamo Military Junta". The Funhalouro Renamo base was controlled by Joao Machava, who is now the de facto second-in-command of the Junta.

The idea that Frelimo members in Xai-Xai are so feeble that they would abandon their right to vote in the face of a few Renamo armed men is laughable. And even if a significant armed Renamo force were to march from Funhalouro to Xai-Xai (a distance of over 200 kilometres), they would certainly meet stiff resistance from the Mozambican defence and security forces.

The plan to infiltrate Renamo members from the central provinces would not work. Since they are not registered in Gaza, they would not have Gaza voter cards, and their names would not be on the Gaza electoral registers. They should thus be turned away from any Gaza polling station.

And since they are registered in other provinces, they would not be able to work as polling station staff in Gaza. The spokesperson for the National Elections Commission (CNE), Paulo Cuinica, told AIM on Thursday, he had no doubt that the scheme attributed to Majibire could not possibly be carried out.

This document bears some comparison with the notorious forgery published by the Sunday paper "Domingo", in November 1994, just two weeks after the first multi-party elections, claiming that Renamo was preparing to go back to war.

This document purported to be minutes of a meeting of the Renamo leadership, held to prepare for a renewed insurrection. It attempted to implicate the then US ambassador, Dennis Jett, in this plot.

"Domingo" was unable to prove the authenticity of the document, and nothing that Renamo was supposedly preparing ever happened.

The then United Nations Special Representative in Mozambique, Aldo Ajello, told AIM at the time "there seems to be a factory churning out forgeries".

Such forgeries, he said, showed that "somebody is interested in creating panic and tension in the country". These words may apply equally well to the Majibire "Instructions for Gaza" published by "Carta de Mocambique".

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