Tag Archives: Mozambique elections

Mozambique – President Guebuza and Renamo’s Dhlakama sign peace deal

Al Jazeera

Mozambique rivals sign peace deal

President Armand Guebuza and ex-rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama bring an end to two-year conflict ahead of October poll.

 05 Sep 2014

Afonso Dhlakama, who came out of hiding on September 4, returned to Maputo for the peace accord [EPA]
Mozambique’s president and the leader of the former rebel group Renamo have signed a landmark peace deal in Maputo, ending a two-year conflict that has rekindled memories of a brutal civil war.

President Armando Guebuza and Afonso Dhlakama, who came out of hiding on Thursday, signed the deal on Friday in front of about 100 diplomats and dignitaries.

The two leaders embraced prompting jubilant cries and clapping from those gathered, the AFP news agency reported.

For two years government forces and fighters loyal to Dhlakama have clashed, with the rebel leader accusing the state of reneging on a peace deal that ended Mozambique’s brutal civil war.

Mozambique rebel leader returns to capital

Around one million died as a result of the 15-year conflict, which ended in 1992.

In the recent clashes, Dhlakama’s supporters attacked buses and cars on the country’s main north-south highway, while government forces raided his bush hideout.

Dhlakama hailed the deal on Friday as an “important step forward,” but also accused the government of “intolerance”.

“After the beautiful dream of two decades ago when peace seemed to be for always, we saw a systematic concentration of power in the hands of those in power … many are in this room,” Dhlakama said.

He added that he “hoped today’s accord can bring to an end the one-party state”.

Mozambique has been ruled by civil war victors Frelimo since independence.

The party is expected to handily win upcoming elections in October. There were fears that the polls could be marred by violence.

Dhlakama has lost every presidential election since 1994 and Renamo is struggling to retain its status as the biggest opposition party.

The peace deal will see Renamo fighters integrated into the military and the party given a greater say in election oversight bodies.  al jazeera

Mozambique – Renamo signs peace deal as elections loom


Mozambique rivals agree ceasefire ahead of elections

Fighters of the former rebel movement Renamo receive military training in Mozambique's Gorongosa's mountains (November 2012) Renamo is thought to have retained about 1,000 armed men

The government of Mozambique has signed a ceasefire with the Renamo opposition party in a bid to end hostilities ahead of elections in October.

The deal follows two years of low-level clashes between armed members of Renamo and government forces.

In 2013 Renamo withdrew from a peace deal signed more than 20 years earlier which had ended a protracted civil war.

Last week, as part of the negotiations, the government began releasing Renamo prisoners captured in recent fighting.

The ceasefire was signed on Sunday night in the capital Maputo between Renamo’s chief negotiator Saimon Macuiane and the government after almost a year of negotiations.

Mr Macuiane told the AFP news agency that the “definitive agreement” came into operation as of 22:00 local time (2000 GMT) on Sunday.

“We have begun a new era for the country,” Mr Macuiane said, describing the ceasefire as an “important step towards national reconciliation… and a durable peace”.

Correspondents say that Renamo has been fighting a low-level insurgency since party leader Afonso Dhlakama returned to the bush in 2012, two decades after he agreed a peace deal with the governing Frelimo party.

Sunday’s late night agreement follows a general peace agreement between the two sides a week ago – including a deal over the integration of Renamo’s remaining members into the Mozambique security forces.

After winning independence Mozambique's Frelimo fighters became the governing party but were soon pitched into a civil war against rebels backed by neighbouring South Africa.After winning independence Mozambique’s Frelimo fighters became the governing party but were soon pitched into a civil war against rebels backed by neighbouring South Africa
People crossing a tea plantation in Gurue province.  Mozambique agriculture remains underdeveloped. It is hoped that any peace deal may improve Mozambique’s economy – the country’s agriculture sector remains seriously underdeveloped

Renamo officials say that Mr Dhlakama – who has been under cover in the remote Gorongosa mountains in central Sofala province for nearly a year – did not travel to the capital to sign the ceasefire himself, even though he pledged earlier that he would commit to doing so once his party reached a final agreement with the government.

“He mandated me to declare it,” Mr Macuiane said, at the same time indicating that Mr Dhlakama would meet Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza at a later date.

“It is obvious that there will be a high level, symbolic meeting later on,” he told AFP.

Parliament is expected to start the process of implementing the peace agreement over the next week.

Presidential and national polls are due to be held on 15 October, Mr Macuiane said.  BBC

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