Maputo – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Monday met with the leader of the Renamo rebels, Afonso Dhlakama, in the central district of Gorongosa, where Dhlakama has been living since late 2015, to discuss military questions.
According to a press release from Nyusi’s office, the meeting took place at Namadjiwa, 40 kilometres from Gorongosa town.
The two men discussed “military matters, specifically disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration” (of the members of Renamo’s militia).
The release added “we praised the report from the Military Affairs Commission and clarified the steps to be taken in the incorporation of the Renamo officers.”
That incorporation, together with the disarming and demobilisation of the Renamo militia “will allow an end to military hostilities and will open a new era for an effective and lasting peace”.
Nyusi did not specifically mention Dhlakama’s demand that leadership positions in the armed forces (FADM) and in the police should be given to Renamo officers. But he promised that the detailed conclusions on the progress so far will be made public “at an opportune moment”.
The statement concluded with the reaffirmation that Nyusi and Dhlakama are working closely “to put an end to the armed conflict forever, and to lay the bases for a prosperous and secure Mozambique for all Mozambicans”.
This is the second face-to-face contact between Nyusi and Dhlakama since the Renamo leader declared a truce on 27 December 2016. The first such meeting was in August 2017. Most of the discussions between the two leaders have been by phone.
In early 2017, two working groups were set up between the government and Renamo – one on decentralisation and one on military questions. The discussions on decentralisation, held secretively and with no input from other political and social forces, led to a series of constitutional amendments, which Nyusi has tabled before the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.
Dhlakama had always focused on the election, rather than appointment, of provincial governors as the key aspect of decentralisation. It was therefore a surprise when the constitutional amendments also proposed the abolition of directly elected mayors of municipalities, and the creation of district assemblies that would choose district administrators. Neither of these points had even been mentioned in public before.
The amendments, if passed, will strengthen the power of political party machines. Assemblies will be elected in the municipalities, provinces and districts, and whichever party or group that wins the most votes in these elections will choose the mayor, provincial governor or district administrator. - AIM.