Mozambique: Renamo Calls On Nhongo to Relinquish Violence

Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, has urged the breakaway faction that calls itself the "Renamo Military Junta" and its leader, Mariano Nhongo, to relinquish the use of violence, put its problems before the Renamo leadership and halt the attacks against civilians in the central provinces of Sofala and Manica.

The appeal was made by the leader of Renamo, Ossufo Momade, who on Tuesday was one of the main speakers at a meeting on Peace and National Reconciliation, organised by the Multiparty Democracy Institute (IMD), in Maputo.

"We want Mariano Nhongo and his Military Junta to come to their senses, in order to safeguard the country's interests. If he has any problems about something inside our party, he must pose them to us. We have the right bodies that can solve his claims," Momade said.

The opposition leader has categorically denied the accusations that the party has been split since he became leader, claiming that his election to succeed Afonso Dhlakama, who died in May 2018, and the signing of the peace agreement with the government were transparent processes.

He denied the narrative claiming that one wing was ostracised from the negotiation of the ongoing Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) of the Renamo militia. Everyone was involved, Momade claimed, and he therefore found it difficult to understand why Nhongo took up arms and started attacks against civilians.

"When Nhongo started his uprising, I talked to him in an attempt to find out what he claimed. He accused me of having sacked delegates but when I asked who were they, he talked about Sandura Vasco," Momade said. "I told him Sandura had never been a delegate, though he always aspired to the position."

Momade said he has been an innocent victim of baseless allegations and fallacy, citing as an example the time, in 2019, when he was falsely accused of murdering Josefa de Sousa, a Renamo general.

"To end the misunderstanding, I sent for Josefa so that he could speak to the country and the world," Momade stated. "I can call him right away. He has been demobilised under the DDR and he is now at home living peacefully with his family."

Momade said the government knows very well that the Renamo leadership has nothing to do with Nhongo and the Military Junta. Yet the government continued to associate Nhongo with Renamo in order to discredit Renamo, he claimed.

He said the 1992 peace agreement between the government and Renamo was "a seed for the democratisation of the country". But problems remained including "the politicisation of the state, the harassment and murder of opponents, journalists and academics, permanent intolerance, and the violation of human rights".

Momade warned "we shall never have peace and reconciliation while the police and other state agents remain hostage to orders given by the ruling Frelimo Party".

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