Mozambique: Momade Refuses to Negotiate With 'Military Junta'

Maputo — Ossufo Momade, leader of Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, has categorically refused to negotiate with Mariano Nhongo, head of the dissident gunmen who call themselves the "Renamo Military Junta".

Interviewed in Beira by the German agency DW-Africa, Momade said that anyone who imagined that a dialogue with Nhongo would end the crisis within Renamo and bring about peace was sorely mistaken.

"Nhongo has no principles. He doesn't represent anything within our party", stressed Momade. "He's a deserter, and a person who does not keep his word. Every day he says something different from what he said in the past".

He denounced Nhongo for ambushing vehicles on the public highway and killing their occupants, "and alleging he's doing it because he doesn't agree with Ossufo. Disagreeing with me doesn't mean you have to attack vehicles and make the growth of Mozambique impossible".

If Nhongo had problems with Momade, he added, "then his duty was to express his concern within the party. There I would be available".

"He's not attacking Ossufo, he's attacking the Mozambican state", Momade insisted. "If he was against Ossufo, he would discuss it inside the party".

He said it was up to Nhongo to end the attacks made by the Military Junta, pointing out that, as leader of Renamo, he had already signed a peace and reconciliation agreement with President Filipe Nyusi (on 6 August last year). Now he was just waiting for Renamo's armed men to be demobilised and incorporated into the defence and security forces or back into civilian life.

He denied that the Military Junta was a creation of Renamo itself. "If somebody carries out attacks in the name of Renamo, but does not accept the orientations of Renamo, then that person is not from Renamo", Momade said. "We don't know where Nhongo is, he never speaks to us. How can anybody say he's Renamo's or Ossufo's responsibility?"

He also denied that Nhongo has any access to Renamo's weapons. "He has to say where he obtained the guns that he has", said Momade.

He denied that Nhongo's group is "a Renamo matter", arguing "that's a wrong interpretation, because those who desert from their base go and create a group outside. This happened in Frelimo. Weren't Uria Simango, Lazaro Nkavandame and Joana Simiao (figures accused of betraying Frelimo during the independence war) considered as deserters and runaways? So why should this Nhongo still be regarded as part of Renamo?"

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