Maputo – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi has said that the demobilisation and disarming of the militia of the former rebel movement Renamo will be completed on time, according to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.
He was speaking in Rome, Italy, after a meeting with the founder of the Catholic association, the Sant’Egidio community, Andrea Riccardi. The community played an important role in mediating the negotiations between the government and Renamo, which led to the signing of the General Peace Agreement in October 1992, and the first multi-party elections two years later.
Nyusi said that the current talks between the government and Renamo are making progress, leading him to believe that the demilitarisation of Renamo, and the integration of members of the Renamo militia into the defence and security forces, or back into civilian life, will be concluded on schedule – that is, by the end of August.
This would allow the general elections scheduled for 15 October to take place without the presence of any private army.
Nyusi told Riccardo that he hoped representatives of Sant’Egidio would attend the event marking the formal start of the Renamo demobilisation, although no date for this has yet been set.
He also thanked Riccardi for the humanitarian support provided by Sant’Egidio for the victims of the two cyclones that hit Mozambique in March and April.
Sant’Egidio also collaborates with the Mozambican health services, particularly in the fight against HIV and Aids, and has set up a reference laboratory in the outer Maputo neighbourhood of Zimpeto. Riccardi told Nyusi that the community intends to improve the services provided in Zimpeto, and expand them to the central city of Beira.
On Monday, Nyusi met with representatives of Rome-based international bodies, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
At the end of the day, Nyusi met with the Mozambican community resident in Italy who lamented that Mozambicans living in Italy cannot vote in Mozambican elections. Polling stations for Mozambicans in the diaspora will be set up in nine countries, and these do not include Italy. The only European countries where Mozambicans can vote are Portugal and Germany.
The Mozambicans at this meeting also protested at the difficulties in obtaining Mozambican passports and other identification documents.
Nyusi recognised the legitimacy of these concerns. He said that everything is being done to make it easier for Mozambicans abroad to obtain the documents to which they are entitled. However, he added, the country lacks the resources to make identification documents available to everybody who needs them at the same time.
Nyusi urged his audience to help promote the image of Mozambique, so as to contribute to attracting the investment necessary for developing the country.