Mozambique: Nyusi Urges Renamo to Speed Up Demobilisation

As Mozambique reeled from the consequences of one tropical storm, the powerful Cyclone Kenneth slammed Cabo Delgado province last April, affecting at least 200 thousand people, many already displaced by conflict.

Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Friday urged the country's main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, to speed up the demobilization and disarming of its militia.

Speaking to members of the diplomatic corps, who visited the Presidential Palace in Maputo to greet Nyusi on the occasion of the New Year and the start of his second term of office, the President said the government is committed to implementing the demobilization and disarming of the Renamo armed force, and integrating its members either into the defence and security forces or back into civilian life, "but the speed is not that which marked the start of the process".

Nyusi signed a general peace agreement with Renamo leader Ossufo Momade on 6 August last year, but there has been precious little progress since then. Although Renamo claimed in June that it was registering former guerrillas for demobilization, only a handful were publicly demobilised, and not all of them handed in their weapons.

Just ten Renamo militiamen were recruited into the police and, as far as is known, not a single Renamo military base has been dismantled - although, under the terms of the peace agreement, all the bases should have been dismantled by 21 August.

Nyusi told the diplomats that the observers in the international Contact Group, which was set up to assist in the demobilization, have followed events "and they know where things have run aground".

He stressed that disarming the Renamo militia does not mean incorporating all its members into the defence and security forces. Rather, it means "handing over the guns and taking the people out of the bush so that we can help reinsert them into society".

International projects for assisting Renamo members in agriculture exist in the former Renamo stronghold of Gorongosa, in Sofala province and elsewhere, said Nyusi, "But while we do not know who to support in Renamo, we are causing difficulties even for our friends who want to support the process".

"We want this process to occur with maximum transparency", he continued, "so that supporters know who they are supporting. We don't want the matter to be politicized".

Nyusi was referring to the split within Renamo between those loyal to Momade and the dissident "Renamo Military Junta", responsible for ambushing vehicles on the main roads of Manica and Sofala provinces.

"We are demanding greater collaboration from the Renamo leadership", he said. That some people, supposedly from Renamo, were killing members of the public was undoubtedly true. "Some of them were captured just yesterday, and we shall display them publicly", he added.

It would help if there were a strong dialogue inside Renamo, said Nyusi, but the government could not just stand by and watch more Mozambicans die. "We are not going to allow people to die, just because of disagreements within one family", he warned.

He also asked the international community to distance itself definitively from those who are killing. "We talk a lot about human rights, and taking someone's life is denying his rights", Nyusi said. "Those who kill should not be nurtured. Killing is not democracy".

He urged international actors "to nurture dialogue, coexistence and reconciliation, because killing is no way of struggling for a cause. There is no cause that requires the killing of another human being".

Nyusi also called for unity of forces between Mozambique and friendly countries across the entire globe to fight against the terrorists who are murdering innocent people and destroying property in parts of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

In today's globalized world, he said, international problems such as terrorism know no borders, hence the need for a concerted effort by all countries.

"Together we shall have to work to discover who is giving the instructions to these criminals", he urged. "Today they are in Mozambique, yesterday they were in another country, and tomorrow they will set up somewhere else".

There have already been some offers of assistance, but Nyusi wanted this support to be "objective and specific".

"Everybody says they want to support us, but when we ask how they want to support, they don't say anything. So there's nothing concrete", he said.

The President said he felt very sad when he visited Cabo Delgado earlier in the week, and found that people living in the affected regions cannot produce because of the terrorist attacks.

"These are regions where the people don't like to live on the basis of outside support. They like to live from their own sweat, but they are unable to produce because of the attacks", Nyusi added.

He said that the experience of Mozambique shows that the great adversities a people may suffer, including acts of terrorism, "can only be solved through concerted actions and a global approach".

"The Mozambican people need the support of all, just as we are unconditionally willing to offer you our support", he declared. "Let us join our forces between nations so that we create a peaceful and fruitful coexistence in our global village that is the world".

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