Tag Archives: Mozambique elections

Mozambique – amnesty deal for Renamo ahead of elections


Mozambique passes amnesty law for opposition leader ahead of vote

MAPUTO Wed Aug 13, 2014 7Mozambique's opposition RENAMO Presidential candidate Afonso Dhlakama shows an ink dyed finger after voting in the country's Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial Elections in Maputo October 28, 2009.   REUTERS/Grant Lee Neuenburg

Mozambique’s opposition RENAMO Presidential candidate Afonso Dhlakama shows an ink dyed finger after voting in the country’s Presidential, Parliamentary and Provincial Elections in Maputo October 28, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Grant Lee Neuenburg

MAPUTO (Reuters) – Mozambique’s parliament has approved an amnesty law that will allow opposition Renamo party leader Afonso Dhlakama to leave his hideaway in the bush, sign a peace accord with President Armando Guebuza and run in an Oct. 15 election, lawmakers said.

The law approved late on Tuesday also applied to Dhlakama’s supporters, who had clashed with the government army since 2012. The violence raised fears for stability in the southern African nation which is developing big coal and offshore gas deposits.

The amnesty is part of a peace deal between Renamo and Guebuza’s ruling Frelimo party, old foes in a 1975-1992 civil war, and means Dhlakama will not face prosecution or arrest for the attacks carried out by his followers over the last year.

Dhlakama, whose former rebel movement has been repeatedly defeated by Frelimo in elections since the end of the war, has lived in a bush base in central Sofala province for more than a year to escape what he says is government persecution.

He is now expected to travel to the capital Maputo to sign a formal peace accord with Guebuza ahead of the Oct. 15 election, in which he has registered as Renamo’s presidential candidate.

The constitution bars Guebuza from running for a third term and former Defence Minister Filipe Nyusi will run as the Frelimo candidate.

Whoever wins the Oct. 15 vote is expected to help bring to fruition major coal and offshore natural gas investment projects that have the potential to bring billions of dollars to a nation that was in ruins two decades ago.

Mozambique’s resource-led boom involves investors including Brazil‘s Vale, London-listed Rio Tinto, Italy’s Eni and U.S. oil firm Anadarko. Reuters


Mozambique – a solution needed to Renamo’s armed attacks


Renamo’s armed activities: it’s time to find a solution
11 July 2014

Mozambique is one of the few African countries that for a long time defied the negative after-effects of a lengthy civil war. The country maintained relative peace and stability since the end of the 16-year civil war 20 years ago, and in 2013, it had posted a 7% growth in real gross domestic product (GDP). According the African Development Bank, this was still below optimum for a country bubbling with new discoveries of natural resources, including coal and gas.

However, increased armed confrontation between the government and the country’s former rebel movement, the Mozambican National Resistance (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana, or Renamo), poses a major threat to the country’s future. The activities of former Renamo rebels who occupy the central region of the country continue to disrupt the movement of goods and people between the north and south of the country, cutting off the economic port of Beira from the main coal-producing province of Tete.

The remobilisation of former Renamo rebels under their leader, Afonso Dhlakama, and the resurgence of armed activities will affect the country in two main ways: economically and politically. The economic impact will stem from the ambushes and attacks targeting the north-south highway and the railway line that link Maputo and the port of Beira respectively with the northern provinces of the country. In recent attacks, former Renamo rebels demonstrated increasing military strength to the extent where they are even able to defy government forces escorting convoys along the main highway.

The resulting situation is one where Renamo holds a ballot box in one hand and a bullet in the other

This raises several questions. For instance how is a rebel movement that renounced war 20 years ago, and underwent a reintegration process, able to remobilise and launch fresh resistance against government forces? And how is it possible that these former rebels are able to occupy a large potion of the country’s territory?

Politically, the armed activities of the former Renamo rebels threaten to derail the country’s forthcoming national elections, set for October 2014. Renamo is one of the three main political parties contesting the forthcoming elections, and it is expected that Dhlakama will beat the 21 July deadline set for the registration of presidential candidates. While registering as a presidential candidate is but one of the initial steps, the major concern is how Renamo and other parties will conduct campaigns across the country. There is little doubt that unless the parties conform to a peace deal immediately, the potential of violence during the elections remains a threat.

The situation presents an easier option for Renamo, or any of the other political parties, to invoke unfairness in elections (even where such unfairness may not exist) to declare the exercise futile and revert to use of force. After all, Renamo is armed. The resulting situation is one in which Renamo holds a ballot box in one hand and a bullet in the other.

While the government views Dhlakama as a spoiler of the peace in the country, he too has reasons for his actions. There are two main sets of grievances that Renamo holds against the government. This first is that the Frelimo government (the Mozambique Liberation Front, or Frente de Libertação de Moçambique) has continuously violated the terms of the Rome peace accords.

Dhlakama decries the failure of the government to embrace the general principles of the agreement, which set forth the formation of the Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique (FADM). According to these principles, the army, the navy and the air force were to be constituted on a 50-50 basis by both Frelimo and Renamo. Dhlakama claims that the successive governments of Frelimo have persistently short-changed him on the terms of the peace agreement. He insists that the government has failed to observe the 50-50 clause while constituting the armed forces and the police.

The most worrying issue is that neither side is willing to negotiate a solution

The second set of grievances relate to the electoral system, which Dhlakama claims to be skewed in favour of Frelimo. Apparently the closest that Dhlakama came to winning the country’s elections was in 1999 when he scored 47,7% of the presidential vote against Joaquim Chissano’s 52,3%. He has performed dismally in subsequent elections.

Despite these arguments, the feeling among most Mozambicans is that Renamo’s plight is self-inflicted. This section of the population questions Dhlakama’s wisdom in reserving a section of Renamo rebels in Gorongosa, the region where he was born. While the rest of the country disarmed and demobilised at the end of the civil war, the mountainous Gorongosa region remained untouched. Apparently Dhlakama’s intention was to retain a reserve force for possible war in future. This group of former Renamo rebels makes up Dhlakama’s current forces, although they have also recruited younger fighters from their communities.

However, some Mozambicans feel that the government should listen to Renamo’s demands. This section of the population argues that while Frelimo veterans are enjoying benefits from government – including pension and government housing for the disabled former Frelimo fighters – their counterparts, the Renamo ex-combatants, have been neglected. This is against the spirit of the 1992 peace agreement.

While there is clearly blame on both sides, the most worrying issue is that neither side is willing to negotiate a binding end to the problem. It is also of concern that two decades after the lengthy civil war, the government side has not been able to neutralise the risks posed by the remnants of Renamo. Instead Renamo continues to arm itself, train and maintain control of a vast territory.

Discussions with both Renamo and Frelimo former combatants point to a possibility of some FADM soldiers – who are sympathisers and/or relatives of the former Renamo combatants – diverting state-owned arms and ammunition to Renamo. These sympathisers could also be responsible for leaking information to Dhlakama whenever government troops plan an operation against the bases of former Renamo rebels.

While this ‘game’ goes on in Mozambique, the election clock ticks and opposing parties are drawing closer to the ballot box. Beyond all these troubling factors, it is crucial that Mozambique maintains political stability and and conducts successful, orderly and timeous elections in October to cement much-needed investor confidence.

Nelson Alusala, Consultant, Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, ISS Pretoria

Mozambique – 35 groups register for elections


Mozambique: Thirty Five Organisations Register for Elections

Thirty political parties, three coalitions, and two independent citizens’ groups, have registered with Mozambique’s National Elections Commission (CNE), expressing their interest in participating in the presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled for 15 October.

The CNE has approved 27 of them, and is analysing the paper work of the eight who registered on 18 May, the final day for registration.

All three parliamentary parties – the ruling Frelimo Party, Renamo and the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) – have registered and have been accepted. They intended to contest all the elections in all constituencies.

Although 35 parties have registered with the CNE, there is no guarantee that they will all stand. They must now submit provincial lists of candidates to the CNE. Each candidate must provide an authenticated copy of his identity card, or birth certificate, an authenticated copy of his voter card, to prove that he is a registered voter, a criminal record certificate, and declarations accepting nomination

For the parliamentary election, each provincial list must contain enough candidates to fill all the seats allocated to that province, plus at least three supplementary candidates. This means that any party intending to stand in all constituencies must present lists containing at least 289 names.

It may seem puzzling that so many tiny parties with no chance of winning seats are prepared to try again. The reason is financial – the Mozambican state provides money for election campaigns, and any party whose candidates are accepted by the CNE is entitled to a share of that money.

Parties have until 21 July to submit candidates to CNE.


Mozambican elections: what to make of Dhlakama’s intention to run for president


On Friday 23 May, Afonso Dhlakama – the long-time leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (Resistência Nacional Moçambicana, or Renamo) – officially announced his intention to run for president in Mozambique’s next presidential election, scheduled for 15 October this year. Renamo’s National Council is expected to meet in June to decide whether to endorse Dhlakama’s fifth bid for the presidency.

Dhlakama’s announcement came on the heels of his delayed registration on 8 May to vote in the polls – just a day before the registration deadline. The Mozambican government had extended the original 29 April deadline by 10 days after the National Electoral Commission (NEC) noted that bad weather, logistics and political reasons – particularly insecurity in the Sofala province – had hampered the voter registration process.

There are four key reasons why Dhlakama’s much-publicised registration and presidential bid announcement are truly momentous. Firstly, his registration came after he’d spent almost seven months out of the public sphere. Dhlakama had been hiding in the Gorongosa forest since 21 October 2013, when Mozambican government forces stormed Renamo’s Satunjira base camp in response to a series of military attacks, mainly in central Sofala. The rebel-group-turned-opposition-party, Renamo, responded by declaring an end to the General Peace Agreement (GPA) that it had concluded with the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, or Frelimo) on 4 October 1992, and which had ended the country’s 16-year-long civil war.

“It seems that Renamo has decided to compete against the government with ballots instead of bullets”

Secondly, the protracted and often unproductive negotiations between the Frelimo government and Renamo have taken a huge step forward. Renamo alleged that Frelimo’s political and economic governance strategy had excluded both Renamo and the country’s wider citizenry, and subsequently made three demands during the negotiations. The first was a demand for greater representation in state institutions – particularly the national security forces. The second was that the electoral system, including the NEC, be reformed on the grounds that it has allegedly manipulated past electoral processes in favour of Frelimo. The third demand was that Renamo be granted a more equitable share of the country’s natural resources, although the party did not specify how this could be achieved. In turn, the government had demanded the demilitarisation of Renamo. Since the beginning of 2013, dialogue between the government and Renamo had failed to make any progress, which resulted in Renamo boycotting the country’s municipal polls in November 2013.

In February this year, Frelimo and Renamo finally reached agreement on one of the key points on their negotiating agenda – electoral reform. The two parties agreed on the amendment of Law No. 6/2013 of 22 February 2013, which regulates the functioning, composition and organisation of the NEC. Under the reform, the central NEC was increased from 13 to 17 members, with Renamo being granted two additional commissioners, bringing its tally to four.

Frelimo retained its five-member allocation, and the Democratic Movement of Mozambique (MDM) – the third party represented in Mozambique’s Parliament – kept its solitary appointee. The remaining seven are from the forum of civil society organisations. Although Mozambique’s constitution provides that the NEC is independent and impartial, the appointment of commissioners on the basis of political party representation in Parliament lends the electoral management body to politicisation.

“There is hope in the fact that warmongering could alienate Renamo from the Mozambican electorate”

The politicisation of the electoral institutions was extended to the provincial and district levels, where the 15-member provincial and district NECs include three commissioners from Frelimo, two from Renamo and one from the MDM. In the central Technical Secretariat for Election Administration (STAE), which provides administrative support to the NEC, the parties appointed 18 members: nine from Frelimo, eight from Renamo and one from MDM. Six members compose the provincial and districts’ STAE: three from Frelimo, two from Renamo and one from MDM.

The third reason why Dhlakama’s presidential bid is so important is that it clears up any uncertainty over Renamo’s participation in the October 2014 polls; at least for the moment. Renamo’s boycott of the municipal elections risked its survival as the country’s major opposition party.

The fast-growing MDM built on its control of two of Mozambique’s largest municipalities – Beira and Quelimane – to emerge from the municipal elections as a stronger opposition force in Mozambican politics. The MDM garnered overwhelming victories in these two municipalities, as well as winning another two, Nampula and Gurué, and performing strongly in areas once regarded as Frelimo strongholds.

The party and its charismatic leader, Daviz Simango, will certainly contend strongly in the forthcoming general elections – particularly against a backdrop of a politically active urban population that holds the ruling Frelimo party in contempt. Dhlakama and Renamo have their work cut out as other leading contenders, while Filipe Nyussi of the ruling Frelimo party and Simango of the MDM will have had a head start. Dhlakama, although only just emerging from hiding, will have to hit the campaign trail soon.

Fourth, it seems that Renamo has decided to compete against the government with ballots instead of bullets. This could signal the party’s amenability to the declaration of a ceasefire. Critics believe that Renamo has used its armed cadres as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the government, and that it would be reluctant to disarm and participate in purely peaceful political activities. However, there is hope in the fact that warmongering could alienate the party from the Mozambican electorate when its parliamentarians are eager to retain their seats at the forthcoming polls. As Suzanne van Hooff, a security analyst noted, Renamo would have to make the hard choice of suppressing aspirations to gain senior positions in the army and the police force, before it can gain widespread support amongst the Mozambican people.

It is therefore vital that the Frelimo government and Renamo continue negotiations with a sincere resolve to reach agreement on fundamental outstanding issues – particularly a ceasefire and the disarmament of Renamo insurgents – to create conducive conditions for peaceful elections. The Frelimo government could effectively implement, monitor and evaluate mechanisms to address the needs and expectations of former combatants, 20 years after the war. This includes identifying and registering genuine ex-combatants, including newly disarmed and demobilised Renamo insurgents, so that they can access compensation in the form of pensions.

This could help create conditions for Mozambicans – including Dhlakama and Renamo – to participate freely in a peaceful electoral process. Encouragingly, the combination of factors that led to the parties’ consensus around electoral reform still exists. These include Renamo’s diminished capacity to wage sustained guerrilla warfare; the Frelimo government’s concern about the adverse economic consequences of continued instability; and pressure from civil society and the media. These are the factors that can truly promote the parties’ engagement in sincere peace dialogue.

Gwinyayi Dzinesa, Senior Researcher, Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division, ISS Pretoria and Paulo Wache, Head of the Department of Foreign Policy, Centro de Estudos Estratégicos e Internacionais Maputo, Mozambique.  ISS

Mozambique: Filipe Nyussi elected Frelimo presidential candidate for October vote



                  Minister of Defence Filipe Nyussi. 

Maputo — The Central Committee of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Saturday night elected Defence Minister Filipe Nyussi as the party’s candidate for the 15 October presidential election.

Since none of the five candidates won a 50 per cent majority in the first round, the voting went to a second round, and the result was not announced until around midnight.

The results from the first round were:

1.Filipe Nyussi (Defence Minister) – 91 votes (46 per cent)

2.Luisa Diogo (Former Prime Minister 2004-2010) – 46 votes (23 per cent)

3.Alberto Vaquina (current Prime Minister) – 37 votes (19 per cent)

4.Aires Ali (former Prime Minister 2010-2012) – 19 votes (10 per cent)

5.Jose Pacheco (Agriculture Minister) -3 votes (2 per cent).

In the second round, Nyussi clinched his victory, winning 135 votes (68 per cent) to 61 votes for Diogo (31 per cent). In both rounds there was one invalid vote, cast by a Central Committee member trying to vote for two candidates.

The election marks a generational shift in Frelimo, in that all of the candidates are under 60 years old and thus too young to have taken part in the independence war that freed Mozambique from Portuguese colonial rule.

Of the five, Nyussi is the one with the closest links to the liberation war, in that his parents were Frelimo veterans in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, and he was educated at the Frelimo primary school at Tunduru, in southern Tanzania, prior to Mozambican independence,

Nyussi was born on 9 February 1959, in the Cabo Delgado district of Mueda, often regarded as the cradle of the Mozambican revolution. He undertook his secondary education  at the Frelimo school at Mariri in Cabo Delgado, and then at the Samora Machel Secondary School in Beira. He took a degree in mechanical engineering at the military academy in Brno, in Czechoslovakia, completing it in 1990, just as eastern European socialism was collapsing.

Back in Mozambique, he joined the publicly owned ports and rail company, CFM, and became assistant head of maintenance in the northern branch of the company (CFM-Norte) in 1992. He was Executive Director of CFM-Norte from 1995 to 2007.

He had never held any government position until 2008, when President Armando Guebuza appointed him Defence Minister, he post he has held up until now.

He was elected to the Frelimo Central Committee at the Party’s Tenth Congress, held in the northern city of Pemba in September 2012. He is not a member of the party’s most powerful body, its Political Commission. Even if he is elected President in October, according to the Party’s statutes, he will only sit on the Political Commission as a coopted member, without the right to vote.

The obvious solution to this problem would be for the Central Committee on Sunday to elect Nyussi as the party’s General Secretary, replacing Filipe Paunde, who resigned on Thursday. The General Secretary sits ex oficio on the Political Commission.

Of the five candidates, Nyussi is the least well-known nationally. Frelimo thus faces a major task to ensure that his name and image are known and recognized throughout the country before the October election, where he will almost certainly face the two best known figures in the opposition – Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the former rebel movement Renamo, and Daviz Simango, leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).

Immediately after the announcement of Nyussi’s victory, President Armando Guebuza, who is chairing the Central Committee meeting, declared “We had to seek ways of finding the best solution, and we did it. We chose our candidate, the candidate of Frelimo, who is the candidate of all Mozambicans”.

He added that all those who stood in the election “provided an excellent service to all Mozambicans”.

Taking Nyussi by the hand, Guebuza declared “we are going to win, and this is the candidate to win. United, let us match forward to victory”. AIM/allAfrica

Mozambique: Guebuza Losing Power in Presidential Battle

Mozambique News Reports and Clippings/allAfrica

By Joseph Hanlon

Few people are willing to predict the outcome of the Frelimo Central Committee meeting, which opens tomorrow and is expected to choose Frelimo’s presidential candidate. The meeting runs until Sunday 2 March at the party school in Matola.

The constitution has a two-term limit so President Armando Guebuza cannot stand again. But he organised to have himself elected president of Frelimo in order to control the choice of his successor. Party secretary-general Filipe Paunde is a Guebuza loyalist, and at the party Congress in September 2012 a Political Commission sympathetic to Guebuza was elected. But growing opposition inside the party means Guebuza may not succeed.

Frelimo always maintains a united face to the outside and will support whomever is chosen as candidate. But there are bitter struggles inside.

The constitution at the time would have allowed Joaquim Chissano to stand again in 2004, but Guebuza organised an internal rebellion and was named the presidential candidate.

History now repeats itself, with Chissano becoming the focus of opposition to Guebuza. Graca Machel is also said to be helping organise the anti-Guebuza campaign. Chissano was replaced because it was said that under his leadership the party elite had become corrupt, self-interest dominated over national interest, and Chissano had done badly in the 1999 national election. Exactly the same is being said about Guebuza now, with people also pointing to the unexpectedly good showing of the opposition in municipal elections last November.

Guebuza’s image has also been damaged by the confrontation with Renamo.

The attempt to defeat Renamo guerrillas militarily has failed. Last week Frelimo ignominiously caved in almost completely to Renamo demands for changes to the electoral law, making concessions that could have been made a year ago.

The Guebuza faction maneuverers began with the Political Commission choice of three “pre-candidates”, all Guebuza loyalists, to be presented to the Central Committee. They are Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco and Defence Minister Filipe Nyussi.

Frelimo secretary-general Paunde then made a public statement saying there was “no space” for further names. The response was a public campaign to say the Central Committee was free to make its own decisions and could not be controlled by Paunde.

Meetings earlier this week of important party groups show the split. The Association of Veterans of the National Liberation Struggle (ACLLN) meeting last weekend called for Paunde and the entire secretariat to be replaced, and for more presidential candidates to be considered. The Veterans have a very strong role in the party – the include not only the old guard, but also the children of many of the key figures in Frelimo.

But the daily O Pais reports this morning that in its meeting yesterday, the party youth wing (OJM) remained loyal to Guebuza, backing Paunde and the three pre-candidates.

It appears that the opponents of Guebuza have chosen to start the fight by going after the party secretariat, and will try to replace Paunde – probably with their preferred presidential candidate, former prime minister Luisa Diogo. If this succeeds, she would be put forward as one of the pre-candidates.

It will be close, with both sides counting votes, and with intense internal negotiations between the party elders. Many central committee members will hope that the party “elephants” will sort this out between them. But there will probably first have to been some procedural votes over the party secretariat and number of pre-candidates, to test the strength of the two sides.

Guebuza wants one of his three pre-candidates, and probably will show no preference. His opponents want Luisa Diogo. There is palpable hostility between Guebuza on one side and Chissano and Diogo on the other. If the forces remain closely balanced, a likely compromise candidate is Eduardo Mulembwe, former speaker of parliament.

Several other possible candidates have been running campaigns, including on Facebook, including Eneas Comiche, former mayor of Maputo; Aires Ali, former prime minister; and Tomas Salomao, former finance minister and former executive secretary of SADC. They are less likely as presidential candidates, but could become speaker of parliament or prime minister as part of the negotiations, as a way of ensuring regional balance.  allAfrica

Mozambique – Frelimo resumes dialogue with government


After three months of persistent boycotts, Mozambique’s largest opposition party Renamo returned to dialogue with the government on 27 January.

For the first since October, Renamo sent a delegation led by senior parliamentary deputy Saimone Macuiana to a meeting with the government at Maputo’s Joaquim Chissano Conference Centre.

It was Renamo, back in April 2013, which requested the dialogue, but in October broke off the talks threatening that it would not return until the government accepted the presence at the table of national and international mediators and observers.

The head of the government delegation, Transport Minister Gabriel Muthisse, told reporters that the spirit of both sides was “positive”, and they had reached an understanding on “essential questions” concerning the participation of “third parties” in the dialogue.

Muthisse said he had the impression that Renamo had rejoined the dialogue in a positive spirit. “In the coming sessions we shall try to consolidate this spirit”, he added, “so that it has a positive impact on the life of our people”.

“The most important thing is the participation of third parties, of observers”, Muthisse stressed. “The two parties will sit down to define the criteria for the participation of these third parties. I think that our perspective, and I believe also that of Renamo, is not to see who has won and who has lost. Our expectation is that all Mozambicans will gain from this debate. Our focus is that Mozambicans should win so that they can produce and live in a climate of peace”.

Observers agreed

At a meeting on 1 February the government and Renamo held a further meeting and agreed on the names of five Mozambicans who will act as observers during the dialogue.

The names of the observers were not revealed. However, two of the names are already known – they are Anglican bishop Dinis Sengulane and the Vice-Chancellor of the Polytechnic University, Lourenco do Rosario, who have already been carrying messages between President Armando Guebuza and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama.

Saimone Macuiana told reporters, “during the talks the two sides decided that space is open for Mozambican citizens and institutions who want to contribute to the success of the negotiations between Renamo and the Government”.

Voter registration delayed

Following the resumption of talks, the government postponed this year’s voter registration by a fortnight, in order to facilitate participation by Renamo.

Registration was to have begun on 30 January, lasting 75 days. But at an extraordinary session on 29 January the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) decreed a delay with registration now running from 15 February until 29 April.

The Council of Ministers stated the delay was at the express request of Renamo “in the context of the dialogue under way between the government and Renamo so that this party may better prepare itself to participate in the 2014 presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections”.

The government “in the framework of promoting the spirit of peace, reconciliation, national unity and multi-party democracy agreed with the Renamo request”.  aim/allAfrica

Mozambique – Frelimo calls on Renamo to return to dialogue


Mozambique: Frelimo Urges Renamo to Return to Dialogue

Maputo — Margarida Talapa, head of the parliamentary group of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party, on Friday challenged the main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, “to return to the dialogue with the government”.

Speaking at the closing session of the final sitting this year of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Talapa urged Renamo to resume the dialogue “in an open, frank and honest way, so that its fruits result in the consolidation of peace and democracy”.

Although it was Renamo which requested the dialogue, it has been boycotting meetings since October, and says it will not return to the dialogue until “international mediators” are sitting at the table.

“We call on Renamo to take a responsible position, and stop making senseless demands”, said Talapa. “Mozambicans expect from Renamo a more dignified position, since it says it defends democracy”

“Show us this in acts, and not just words”, she urged the Renamo benches.

Talapa also demanded an end to the attacks by Renamo gunmen against civilian and military targets, and for the Renamo gangs “to be immediately and unconditionally disarmed and reintegrated into society”.

“Any party which resorts to armed force to alter the political order is operating outside the constitution and the law”, she warned.

Renamo’s excuse for taking up arms again was that it does not approve of the electoral legislation passed by the Assembly in December 2012. Talapa said that the Frelimo parliamentary group is quite willing to discuss whatever amendments to the electoral laws Renamo wishes to propose.

“Renamo should bring to this Assembly the materials it believes should be reviewed and we, as ever, will be open to debate them”, she added.

Renamo, however, has insisted on signing a “political agreement” on the electoral laws with the government, which would then be presented as a fait accompli to the Assembly. Talapa categorically rejected this approach. “It seems to us unreasonable to violate the Constitution which states that these matters are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Assembly and not of the government”, she said.

“Don’t be afraid, my dear colleagues”, she told the Renamo deputies. “It’s here that ideas are discussed and consensus is formed”.

Renamo boycotted the 20 November municipal elections, and has threatened to boycott the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 15 October 2014. “We believe that nobody in their right minds will exclude themselves from this democratic exercise”, said Talapa. “Those who want to be a political party, rather than a simple pressure group, fight for power through the ballot box, and not with guns in their hands”.

She noted that on Thursday, when delivering his annual state of the nation address, President Armando Guebuza had reaffirmed his willingness to meet at any time with Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. She believed that Dhlakama would eventually emerge from his hiding place and come to Maputo to meet Guebuza

She urged the Renamo parliamentarians “don’t pass disinformation to your leader. You are well off here in Maputo”.

Talapa also had harsh words for “anti-democratic and riotous attitudes adopted by sympathizers of some political parties and some of their leaders, which have been expressed in scenes of vandalism”.

She mentioned no party in particular, but her remarks were clearly directed at the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). Frelimo has accused the MDM of responsibility for clashes which took place during the municipal elections, a charge the MDM strongly denies.

“It was sad to see young people, under the effect of alcohol, and obeying the irresponsible commands of leaders of a certain opposition committing unworthy acts, alongside tribalist and divisive speeches which clash with the principles of a plural and inclusive society”, she added.

“Democracy should not be confused with anarchy”, declared Talapa. “Nobody can, in the name of democracy, endanger the constitutional rights, freedoms and guarantees of other citizens”.

Talapa struck a more ominous note when she claimed that “the forces contrary to the freedom and sovereignty of the Mozambican people are investing in new and sophisticated forms of subversion and political and social destabilisation”.

She alleged that “rumour, disinformation, information and communication technologies and some of the media are used to launch attacks against the prestige and honour of the state and its leaders, in a clear violation of the press law and the limits of the freedom of expression, meaning that in practice the crime of the abuse of press freedom is being repeatedly committed”.

A week ago, the editors of two papers, the independent daily newsheet “Mediafax”, and the weekly “Canal de Mocambique”, were summoned before Maputo prosecutors after they had published an open letter to Guebuza from prominent academic Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco, which was said to insult the President (Castel-Branco – who did not receive a summons – denied any intention to insult Guebuza).

Strangely enough the editor of the Sunday paper “Domingo” has not been summoned for questioning even though his paper has repeatedly publishing pseudonymous articles insulting, in a racist and defamatory manner, prominent figures in the Mozambican liberation struggle such as Marcelino dos Santos, Jorge Rebelo and Sergio Vieira, who were all ministers in the governments of the country’s first President, Samora Machel.  AIM/allAfrica

Mozambique – was the peace process incomplete?

Institute for Security Studies

Mozambique: an incomplete peacebuilding process?
10 December 2013

Mozambique’s transition to democracy after the signing of the 1992 General Peace Agreement (GPA) has been hailed as a positive example of conflict management.Relatively peaceful democratic elections have taken place since 1994 and Renamo, the rebel group that fought the government during the civil war, has been transformed into a political party.

In addition, high economic growth rates and investment have helped to classify Mozambique as a successful peacebuilding story. It is important to consider, however, what is meant by success. The concept of success implies that an established objective has been met; and judging not only by current events in Mozambique but also what has taken place since its transition to democracy, the Mozambique peacebuilding process may be considered progressive but not entirely successful.

According to BBC News, a force of approximately 300 Renamo members have remained armed since the peace accord was signed, after efforts to integrate them into the army and police force, as set out in the GPA and implemented through a disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) process, failed. Although without the capacity it had during the civil war, Renamo has been able to incite sporadic violence in the north of Mozambique. Its leader, Afonso Dhlakama, is now claiming that ‘peace is over in the country’, just before the elections.

Analysts monitoring the Mozambique situation have noted that the violence is unsurprising, given that there has been a tendency to overestimate Mozambique’s democratic advances, despite the deterioration of domestic politics.

The country’s first democratic setback took place in the 1998 election, when the opposition boycotted elections and 85% of the electorate abstained from voting. In November 2000 Renamo held nationwide demonstrations, with the violent clashes erupting between its members and the police resulting in over 40 deaths.

The Mozambique national road, the EN-1, has become deserted, reminiscent of the days of the civil war, and the violence currently taking place has claimed a number of civilian lives. Renamo has also threatened to attack a critical rail transport link that runs from Zimbabwe to the port of Beira – a key line that now cannot run without military security. This has been a matter of concern for those foreign companies with oil, gas and mining operations in the country.

Among its demands, Renamo has called for a revision of the electoral law, full military integration of its forces, and the equitable division of natural resources, specifically oil and gas. The economic disparities in Mozambique have grown to an extent unimagined at the time the GPA was signed and Renamo wants a piece of the wealth. The BBC has noted that the gas that has been discovered is estimated to be worth $350 billion, and according to projections the country could be just outside the top 10 producers of gas in the world by 2015. It is to be expected that not only Renamo but also the civilian population of Mozambique would want to benefit from these financial gains.

The Mozambican situation demonstrates some of the many root problems causing ‘post-conflict’ states to revert to conflict, namely a fragile and imperfect peacebuilding and democratisation process coupled with unequal economic development. To illustrate, the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index value for 2012 ranks Mozambique at 185 out of 187 countries and 54% of its population live below the poverty line. In addition, Renamo’s actions suggested a desperate attempt to gain power through a negotiated settlement following its failure to do so through elections.

Although Renamo has been portrayed as the sole cause of the current conflict, the government does need to acknowledge some of the grievances put forward by the opposition. The presidential system lacks adequate checks and balances and the decentralisation of state institutions has been timidly implemented. The judicial system is not fully independent and remains vulnerable to political influence and corruption. In the absence of an efficient legal framework, court rulings can be arbitrary and inconsistent.

There is growing discontent with the hegemonic status of the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) throughout Mozambique, with claims of corruption the main grievance. The state apparatus has been largely politicised and the electoral system gives advantages to Frelimo.

However, Renamo has failed to capitalise on these issues, with Dhlakama instead choosing to shy away from public life. The government has previously tried to negotiate with Renamo, with more than 20 rounds of peace talks over the past 11 months having failed. While this is partly due to non-cooperation by Renamo, it is also indicative of the fragility of Mozambique’s state institutions as they lack the ability to successfully arbitrate between themselves and the opposition.

Most civil wars do not end deftly, and although Mozambique is unlikely to revert to war, it should still be considered a fragile post-conflict state.

Current events in Mozambique show the importance of bridging the gap between peacebuilding, democracy and economic development for all citizens. One of the key tenets of democracy is a willingness to compromise, while the main aim of peacebuilding is to create a sustainable peace that addresses the root causes of conflict and therefore deters a return to violence. It seems that Mozambique is failing on both counts.

Peacebuilding incorporates the creation of a stable state with restored institutions that address socioeconomic problems. As it stands, Mozambique cannot be considered stable. Some state institutions such as the judiciary still need further decentralisation. Provincial governments have no real autonomy but are dependent on the national government politically and financially, even though the majority of the population live in the country’s 10 provinces outside the capital city of Maputo.

Renamo’s repeated attempts to destabilise Mozambique and boycott elections show that politics in Mozambique still do not function according to accepted democratic norms. One of the roots of political unease is social inequality, and when economic growth is disproportionate, conflict is bound to take place. Once inequality is politicised it becomes the driving force in conflict. The government thus needs to provide goods and services in a manner considered fair by the whole population.

Real political decentralisation is needed to assist in providing a level playing field and inclusiveness of opposition parties. Frelimo needs to consider seriously the electoral reforms put forward by Renamo and come to some kind of compromise. It may be that the two parties will need an impartial mediator such as the Southern African Development Community to provide the stimulus needed to push ahead on reforms. Moreover, these reforms need to address socioeconomic problems in a fair and equitable manner.

Sibongile Gida, Intern and Amanda Lucey, Researcher, Conflict Management and Peacebuilding Division, ISS Pretoria  – ISS

Mozambique – will the real Renamo please stand up

Good Governance in Africa

by Richard Poplak

Richard is an award-winning freelance journalist and author who has worked extensively in Africa and the Middle East. He is currently writing a book and starring in a documentary series on Africa rising, called “Continental Shift”.

Will the real Renamo please stand up?Renamo’s area of operation

For decades, it seemed as if the Mozambican civil war, which raged from 1977 to 1992, was resolutely over. While the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) enjoyed a lock on power, its arch-rival, the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), was not disbanded in bloody recrimination following defeat. Rather, Renamo has enjoyed official opposition status in the capital, Maputo, many thousands of kilometres from its Gorongosa game park stronghold in the country’s distant hinterland.

Recently, however, the group has scraped away the veneer of legitimacy and found its rebel army roots, facing down the government on a host of issues, most notably electoral reform and the 
uneven distribution of the spoils from a
re sources boom. From rebel group to
political party and back again, Renamo
is an example of the recidivism that the
 new found “Africa rising” narrative
 finds difficult to incorporate into its 
sunny prognostications.

The situation hit its inevitable nadir on October 21st 2013: following an army raid on their base, Renamo pulled out of the 1992 Rome General Peace Accords that marked the end of a civil war that killed a reported million people. While Renamo forces staged a retaliatory attack on a police station in the central town of Maringue, none of its 51 representatives resigned from the unicameral Assembly of the Republic—a case of mixed messages if ever there was. No one was killed in the station raid, but it nonetheless ignited fears that Mozambique, currently boasting one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, would slip back into conflict, undoing a steady decade’s worth of near 7% GDP growth.

Of all southern Africa’s liberation-era movements, Renamo’s history may be the most compromised. Famously, it is the offspring of Ian Smith’s white supremacist Rhodesian regime. When Mozambique declared independence from Portugal in 1975, Mr Smith understood that communist Frelimo presented an existential threat to his tentative hold on power. The new country had become a haven for Zimbabwe African National Union forces. As a countermeasure, Rhodesia’s notorious Central Intelligence Organisation sponsored an ex-Frelimo commander, named André Matsangaissa, in a nominal anti-communist campaign against his former party. The US Central Intelligence Agency cheered on from the sidelines.

A 1989 research report titled “The Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) as Described by Ex-participants” written by a Georgetown University doctoral graduate named William Minter, summed up the group’s thorny etymology, and thus its place in the larger Mozambican cultural continuum:

“The Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Mozambican National Resistance [or MNR]) is the name used by the organisation itself. The Portuguese-language acronym Renamo was adopted by the organisation in 1983, and is now more widely used than the English-language acronym MNR. The Mozambican government and Mozambicans when speaking Portuguese generally refer to the group as ‘bandidos armados’ (armed bandits), ‘bandidos,’ or, sometimes, ‘bandos armados’ (armed bands). This is often abbreviated in popular speech to ‘BAs’. The most common term used in local languages, and often in Portuguese as well, is ‘matsangas,’ after the first

Renamo commander, André Matsangaiza [sic].”
Mr Minter describes a group that press-ganged young men into service, and one that ran less on single-minded anti-communism and more on floggings and solitary confinement. Nonetheless, Ian Smith’s mélange of ideological outrage and expediency was picked up by South Africa’s apartheid regime after Zimbabwe emerged from the wreckage of the bush war in 1980. Mozambique became an exilic hotspot for members of the African National Congress (ANC) in their fight against white rule, and Pretoria kept stoking a full-blown conflagration.

The signing of the Nkomati Accord in 1984 was meant to stem the regime’s support for Renamo in exchange for the expulsion of all ANC members from Mozambique. Frelimo balked, however, and it was eight long years before the Rome Accords paved the way for peace. By 1994, Renamo’s leader Afonso Dhlakama had flipped the switch from rebel group to political party, and in 2004 he won over 30% of the popular vote.

In April 2012, when relations between Frelimo and Renamo were at their lowest ebb in decades, Renamo sent a letter to the Mozambican cabinet, bemoaning that it has been denied the windfall produced by Mozambique’s natural bounty. The letter was not a policy document, but rather a demand for Frelimo to explain “why [Renamo] remains excluded from enjoying the wealth which resulted from the peace it helped to achieve and maintain during the past 20 years”. It is still unclear precisely what Mr Dhlakama and company were asking
for, but the party did make the
point that more “access to wealth”
would allow the remaining rebels in
central Mozambique to be properly
 transitioned into the national armed
forces—a claim that the government

In October 2012 Mr
 Dhlakama, along with 800 erstwhile members of his guerrilla force, returned to Gorongosa from his northern redoubt in Nampula province, because his men there “were feeling ignored”, as he put it. In many respects, this manoeuvre was made out of longstanding exasperation: Frelimo holds 191 of 250 seats in parliament, and Renamo has long claimed that they were won fraudulently. With elections looming in 2014, Renamo wanted political parties to be granted more oversight of the National Electoral Commission (CNE). Renamo claims Frelimo’s heavy hand guides the commission. But according to the law, parties with more representatives in parliament are granted more seats on the CNE. Renamo threatened to skip municipal elections on November 20th 2013 and federal elections on October 20th 2014, should their demands be ignored.

In one important aspect, Renamo’s grievances are very clear: Mozambique, like Canada, partially funds political parties based on representation in parliament. Renamo has bled badly due to an intra-party split that saw the formation of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), which won eight seats in the 2009 legislative elections, and saw Renamo lose 39 of the 90 seats that it had previously held. With funding from the government slashed almost in half, Renamo has felt increasingly marginalised. This has certainly motivated the move back into central Mozambique and the sense of déjà vu that has pervaded events over the course of 2013.

On April 4th 2013, the government hit Renamo headquarters in Muxúnguè, central Mozambique, to disrupt and disperse Renamo forces performing military manoeuvres. Swiftly thereafter, the bloodshed began in earnest, when Renamo attacked the police base in which its members were being detained. Four were killed and eight injured.

The international community started paying attention in June 2013, when Renamo established a blockade on a key road in the country’s middle belt and also threatened to block rail cars with bellyfuls of coal from reaching the port in Beira. This spooked international investors and inspired Markus Weimer, an analyst at Control Risks Group, a consultancy, to tell CNBC Africa that “the impact of this situation is much greater when it comes to the reputation of Mozambique as a business destination. This sort of thing raises doubts in investors’ minds whether this is the right country to invest in. I believe that it is the right country to invest in—it will be overcome, it can be overcome—but investors who look at this case really and thoroughly might be put off by this.” In early November 2013, London-based mining company Rio Tinto said it was withdrawing expatriate employees’ families from Mozambique for their safety in response to the upsurge in kidnappings and violence, according to Reuters.

This, no doubt, is part of Renamo’s intention. And it leaves President Armando Guebuza’s administration straddling a difficult line. On the one hand, it has committed the army to breaking blockades and military activities in the north. On the other, it has made conciliatory noises to Renamo parliamentarians in Maputo. Mr Dhlakama will not negotiate face to face, because he says that he fears for his safety. And without the tether of the Rome Accords, there is nothing currently binding the two enemies from returning to a state of open conflict.

It might also be said that the era of a southern African country descending into out-and-out civil warfare is perhaps behind us. Zimbabwe has no desire to see the conflict resume, nor does South Africa. No longer functioning as a proxy to outside players, Renamo finds its war chest far barer than it did 20 years ago. While it certainly could recruit based on the anger many Mozambicans carry regarding Maputo’s tardiness in raising basic living standards, recruiting an army of 20,000 seems virtually impossible. But a status quo involving small skirmishes, railroad ambushes and disrupted coal shipments is not in the country’s best interests.

“Peace is over in the country,” Renamo spokesman Fernando Mazanga told Reuters. “The responsibility lies with the Frelimo government because they didn’t want to listen to Renamo’s grievances.”

Whether or not Frelimo starts listening is based on how seriously it takes the threat to Mozambique’s stability as an investment destination. It is a bitter irony: just as the country was taking flight, old ghosts have emerged from the killing fields of the civil war. The ruling party will need to appease Renamo without appearing to buckle to their tactics, a virtually impossible task. Mozambicans desperately need to find that balance if the country hopes to grow and flourish. GGA