Maputo — The leader of Mozambique's main opposition party. Renamo, Ossufo Momade, says that he will continue to engage the Mozambican government in dialogue, although he does not recognise Filipe Nyusi as the country's legitimate President.
Interviewed in Beira by the German agency, DW Africa, Momade confirmed that he had been invited to the investiture of Nyusi on Wednesday to mark the start of his second five year term of office, but had refused to go.
Indeed, all the parliamentary deputies from Renamo and from the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) boycotted the investiture ceremony, held in Maputo's Independence Square.
Of the presidential candidates defeated in the 15 October elections, the only one who put in an appearance was the least significant, Mario Albino, leader of AMUSI (Action of the United Movement for All-Round Salvation) who won just 0.7 per cent of the vote.
Momade told DW Africa it would have been "scandalous", if he had attended the investiture, and "the people would have been confused".
He declined to describe this attitude as a boycott, and said he had taken the decision "so that the people know I am not allied with him (i.e. with Nyusi). I have already received many messages saying that Ossufo has been bought".
"If I had participated in those ceremonies, it would have been a scandal, because I cannot separate myself from my people", he stressed.
Nonetheless, he would continue talking to Nyusi's government, because "I must respect the principles of my President, the late President Afonso Dhlakama (Momade's predecessor, who died in May 2018)".
He remained interested in the search for peace. "We have to put an end to the anxiety of the people, so that we may have peace in Mozambique".
Momade said that he would not accept any ministerial post or other job offered by Nyusi. "That is not my ambition", he told DW Africa. "My ambition is to work for the Mozambican people, and to continue complying with the Renamo election manifesto".
As for allowing anyone else in Renamo to accept a government position, Momade said "We would like our provinces to be given to us, so that they can be run by our leaders, those whom the Mozambican people would like to lead them".
"If the President of Frelimo (i.e. Nyusi) appoints them to run those provinces, which is the feeling of the Mozambican people, we would be very, very free", he declared.
Momade must know that this is impossible. Although Renamo regards the elections as a "mega-fraud", Frelimo won majorities in all ten of the provincial assemblies, which means that the heads of the Frelimo lists for those assemblies will become the new provincial governors, and will be sworn in on Friday.
Momade, as the runner-up in the presidential election, is entitled to a seat on the Council of State, a body that advises the President. "That's not an offer by Frelimo, it's what the law envisages", he said. "As for whether I accept it or not, that will depend on my party".
Momade regarded himself, not as the runner-up, but as the winner. "It is the will of the Mozambican people to see Ossufo Momade govern the country", he claimed.
He insisted that Renamo will organise nationwide demonstrations in protest against the election results, but no date for these had yet been fixed. "We are working with society, and when the time comes, we will be able to inform the entire world of the interest of Mozambicans", he said.
"This is a democracy, the people have to be organised, the people have to be informed, to say that they are with Renamo, and we still have their support", he concluded.