Maputo — Ossufo Momade, the leader of Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, declared on Wednesday that the demobilisation of the members of the Renamo militia is one of his main priorities, but this process should allow the beneficiaries to return to their homes with some dignity.
According to a report in Thursday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", Momade was speaking in the Dutch city of the Hague at a meeting with the Director of the Dutch Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD), Thijs Berman, as part of a working visit to Holland that he began on Monday.
"The demobilisation of the soldiers is a priority for Renamo", Momade said. "But our soldiers are still in our bases because this is a process which should unfold in a decent fashion. Our demobilised soldiers should go home with dignity".
He said demobilisation requires a great deal of patience and attention, and so Renamo is insisting that its men should be recruited into all branches of the defence and security forces, including the State Intelligence and Security Service (SISE).
The demobilisation and disarming of the Renamo militia should have been completed by now - but there has been little visible progress since Momade signed a peace agreement with President Filipe Nyusi on 6 August. Even the dismantling of Renamo military bases, which should have happened by 21 August, appears to have stalled - there has been no announcement that a single base has been dismantled,
Momade also reiterated that Renamo has nothing to do with the recent ambushes on the main roads in the central provinces of Manica and Sofala.
"The attacks occurring in the country, particularly in the central region, have nothing to do with Renamo", he insisted. "They (the attackers) say they don't agree with Ossufo, and they attack the public, vehicles and even institutions. What have these targets got to do with opposition to Ossufo Momade?"
It is widely believed that the dissident group calling itself the "Renamo Military Junta" has carried out the attacks. The Junta denounces Momade as "a traitor" and claims that its leader, Mariano Nhongo, is the true President of Renamo.
"These people (the Junta) are acting on their own account", said Momade. "Renamo remains focused on the demobilisation, disarming, and reinsertion into society of our forces".
He explained that his visit to Holland is intended to seek out partnerships that will contribute to the construction of a "more consistent" democracy, which guarantees the welfare of Mozambicans.
"We want our party to grow and become even stronger", Momade said. "And in the municipalities that we are running, we want to set an example of good governance, through transparency, and through improving the quality of life of the population".
Renamo, he added, "will continue to work so that the people feel they own their country, and there is no harassment or limitation of opportunities because of political party allegiance, the province where people live, their religion or their skin colour".
On Wednesday, Momade also visited the Dutch parliament. He is scheduled to meet with representatives of the Foreign Ministry, and of Dutch political parties, as well as with municipal managers and academics.