Mozambique: Renamo Urges Junta Members to Defect

Maputo — The leader of Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, Ossufo Momade, has urged all members of the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta" to follow the example of Andre Matsangaissa Junior and join in the demobilisation and disarming of the Renamo militia, and the reintegration of its members into Mozambican society.

Matsangaissa Junior is the nephew of Andre Matade Matsangaissa, the man chosen by the Ian Smith regime in what was then Rhodesia to head the newly formed "Mozambique National Resistance" (RNM, later Renamo) in 1977.

When the Military Junta was formed in mid-2019, Matsangaissa Junior became one of its leaders, in charge of operations in the southern part of Sofala province. But last week, he surrendered to the Mozambican defence and security forces, and was granted an audience in Maputo by President Filipe Nyusi.

According to a report in Friday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", Matsangaissa also met with Ossufo Momade, who praised him for abandoning the Junta and opting for demobilisation. He invited Matsangaissa to join "the noble mission of pacifying the country".

Accompanying Matasangaissa were four members of his family, and Mirko Manzoni, the personal envoy to Mozambique of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Manzoni seems to have played a key role in persuading Matsangaissa to leave the junta.

At the meeting with Momade, Matsangaissa claimed that the Junta's armed men are all willing to join the demobilisation. He urged Mozambicans not to take a hostile attitude towards the Junta, since this might make Junta members afraid to leave the bush.

Momade claimed that Renamo has always been committed to peace, and he praised Manzoni for his involvement in the search for peace.

Both the Junta and Renamo may regard Matsangaissa as of symbolic importance because of his name - although he could never have known Matsangaissa senior who died in October 1979, before his nephew was born. He was too young to have played any role in the war of destabilisation, but he was active in Renamo after the 1992 peace agreement.

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