Mozambique: Renamo Urges Government to Seek Better Strategy to Defeat Terrorists

Maputo — Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, on Thursday urged the government to identify military strategies capable of pushing the terrorists in the northern province of Cabo Delgado onto a defensive position until their final defeat by the country's defence and security forces.

The appeal was made by Renamo leader, Ossufo Momade, at a press conference in the party's Maputo headquarters, prior to the 46th anniversary of Mozambican Independence on Friday. He strongly condemned "the bellicose and murderous actions" of the Cabo Delgado terrorists and of the self-styled "Renamo Military Junta" in Sofala and Manica provinces.

"We are aware of the deep sacrifices made by the young men serving in the army and we would like to express our appreciation for the suffering they are bearing, without knowing why they are fighting," Momade said.

He also reaffirmed his party's commitment to the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) drive underway across the country. He claimed Renamo was "unreservedly" committed to the demobilisation of its "residual force", as "an unequivocal sign of its pledge to promote peace and national reconciliation."

Assessing the country's path since gaining independence in 1975, the opposition leader lamented that 46 years later, Mozambicans still lack social benefits such as decent housing, or access to clean drinking water.

"Over the last 46 years, the number of unemployed people has been growing, affecting mainly young men, who end up adopting risky means for survival because they have no other opportunities," he said. He added the manifestly untrue claim that only "the children of the nomenclatura (meaning the leaders of the ruling Frelimo party)" can obtain jobs.

Momade also regretted that, after several peace deals, Mozambicans still live in an environment of intimidation, in which business people are threatened class and are expressly ordered not to host opposition members and supporters even when they pay for the service.

Much of the speech recycled Renamo's familiar rewriting of recent Mozambican history, in which all the country's problems are blamed on the supposed "dictatorship" which Frelimo set up after independence in 1975, and nothing is said of Renamo's own role as an instrument, first of the Ian Smith regime in what was then Rhodesia, and later of apartheid South Africa.

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