Maputo — Chimoio (Mozambique) 26 May (AIM) - Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, on Tuesday denied claims made by a group of its members in the central province of Manica that the current Renamo leadership is responsible for mismanaging the party and creating a bad internal environment.
This group, which has kept its membership anonymous, accused Renamo leader Ossufo Momade of harassing members linked to his predecessor, the late Afonso Dhlakama, and demanded his removal from the leadership. The dissidents claimed Momade had not involved Renamo's guerrillas in his negotiations with the government, which led to the signing of a peace agreement between Momade and President Filipe Nyusi in August last year.
After Momade signed the peace agreement, they claimed, in a letter which AIM has seen, "he went to Maputo and left the former guerrillas abandoned in the bush and without any logistical support. They can scarcely feed themselves, but their leader is in Maputo, living well, in a hotel, thanks to the agreements he signed with the government. We want him to leave power because our late President Afonso Dhlakama never did this".
They blamed Momade for Renamo's defeat in the October 2019 general and provincial elections, and warned that in the next elections, scheduled for 2024, "unless we organise ourselves, we run the risk of not winning a single seat in the Assembly of the Republic, in the provinces, or in the municipalities".
But a senior Renamo general, Albino Faife Muchanga, standing in for the party's Manica provincial delegate, told a press conference in the provincial capital, Chimoio, on Tuesday that the authors of the letter are "rumour mongers and criminals" who are not happy with the end of the war between Renamo and the government.
He believed this group and its letter were just the work of the "Renamo Military Junta", which was set up last year to overthrow Momade and put its own leader, Mariano Nhongo, at the head of Renamo. They had set up a breakaway group "to continue killing and destroying the country", accused Faife.
"They are opposed to the spirit of the late Afonso Dhlakama, who was in favour of the peace and development of Mozambique", he said. "We know these people. They are joining those who are attacking, killing and destabilising in some of the central provinces. They don't want peace".
Faife said there was a good atmosphere inside Renamo, "and they make false accusations against President Ossufo Momade, so that the people will not believe in him".
The Military Junta want to bring down Momade "at all costs", he accused. "They are systematically attacking Renamo and its leadership. We urge the government to start criminal proceedings against these individuals. They are here in the cities, but they identify with those who are carrying out attacks in the central provinces".
Renamo remains committed to peace, stressed Faife. "The party is doing very well", he claimed. "We don't identify with these malcontents who, instead of presenting their concerns openly, prefer to speak anonymously. If they really think they're right, then they could identify themselves and we could discuss jointly to find solutions in an atmosphere of peace".
Meanwhile, in Maputo, Momade has publicly accepted the privileges envisaged in Mozambican law for the runner-up in presidential elections (a status roughly equivalent to that of leader of the opposition).
He told reporters on Monday "these benefits are not just for Ossufo Momade, they're for the Renamo office. They're like the benefits Renamo receives through the Assembly of the Republic". He was referrring to the financial subsidy Renamo receives from the Mozambican state, based on the number of parliamentary deputies it has.
Renamo had no intention of turning down benefits envisaged in the law, he stressed. The status of leader of the opposition gives Momade the right to an official residence, an office paid for out of the state budget, means of transport, a special protection and security regime, a diplomatic passport, and their protocol niceties.
"When the Assembly of the Republic passed this law, it wasn't for Ossufo Momade. At the time I wasn't even President of Renamo", he said.