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Press Release of the Joint Commission: present status of the Dialogue for Peace in Mozambique (24.08.2016)

Joint Communique Mozambique Aug 2016

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A look into the recent events in Mozambique; as Renamo can’t accept Frelimo’s grip of power; while MDM stays in the shadow; the citizens and the army needs answers while refugees flee to Malawi from the violence; President Nyusi have a job to do!

12_maputo_art_wall_depicting_the_troubled_past_photo_mozambique___moments

Here I will go through the days and happenings between the Frelimo (Mozambique Liberation Front) and the Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance). This here will show the actual struggle between them as it where, day by day from the 3rd February to the 6th of March. There been a lot of actions. This is not something new as the two groups have fought against each other. They had signed a general peace agreement in Rome back in the day 4th October 1992. There been flaring clashes between the government forces under orders from Frelimo and the opposition Renamo. Even as there been steady cease-fires and battles between them, even in 2013 and the last one in October in 2014! As the last one left it peacefully enough to have campaign time during the late months of 2014. So hat President Filipe Nyuse could be sworn-in on 15th January 2015. So the flaring clashes and skirmishes between them started late 2015. But I have put the latest ones to prove that this seems more likely to systematically and that the parties involved in doing it to their own gain. As the people of Mozambique is the ones that loose on the instability and unsure environment. That cannot be seen as positive view on the latest expansion of the actions. What worries me is the Government of Mozambique claiming that it is ordinary migration that is the reason for the fleeing people from the country to Malawi, while the reports from Malawi proves the sinister and violent aggression they have seen and felt from both Frelimo and Renamo. Take a look!

Nyusi Mozambique

On the 3rd February:

“President Filipe Nyusi declared on 3 February that the heroes who fell in the struggle to liberate the country from Portuguese colonial rule “do not signify only the past, but also the present, and they will signify the future – the future that we are all building” (…)”The future that Mozambicans are building, the President said, should reflect the efforts and sacrifices made by the country’s heroes during the liberation war. He stressed that the goal of the country’s heroes, was not merely to throw out the Portuguese colonialists, but to ensure independence in the economic as well as the political sphere” (…)“While the people still do not have drinking water, electricity, sufficient schools and hospitals, we still have not competed the mission for which our heroes fell”, he declared. “This is a moment for reflection, for commitment to the development of Mozambique” (AIM, 2016).

On the 5th February:

“Six Renamo gunmen shot a community leader, Cipriano Sineque, and his son in Bebedo, Nhamatanda, Sofala, on 5 February. The head of the Bebedo locality, Bernabe Ndapitaia, who accompanied the wounded men to the Beira hospital, said that Renamo is targeting traditional chiefs and community leaders, in an attempt to weaken these authorities. This was the fourth such incident in the area. “All the community leaders in that area no longer sleep at home, because they are afraid the Renamo men will come after them”, said Ndapitaia. “The Renamo men have drawn up a list of their victims”. “Fear has spread through the area”, he added” (Hanlon, 2016).

2013-06_Mozambique-Renamo

On the 9th February:

“The Mozambican police force has promised to block any attempt by opposition movement Renamo to install checkpoints on the country’s main highways, in what Renamo is billing as an effort to protect its members from kidnap and assassination attempts” (…)”Horacio Calavete, a Renamo official in Beira, the capital of central province Sofala, told reporters on Monday 8 February that Renamo would set up road blocks at “strategic points” on the north-south EN1 highway, and the east-west EN6 that runs between Beira and the Zimbabwean border in the province of Manica” (…)”The alleged incident is the latest in a series of claims and counter-claims from both Renamo and the Frelimo-led government that each side is attacking individuals on the other side” (Zitamar, 2016).

On the 10th February:

“Asked whether South Africa would play a role in the political crisis in Mozambique, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, reportedly said that there had been no official request for South Africa to get involved. If such a request were to be made, the cabinet would first consult with the Mozambican government, she told the African News Agency during a visit to Maputo on Wednesday 10 February. ‘Mozambique has an elected government,’ she is quoted as saying” (Louw-Vaudran, 2016).

Afonso Dhlakama Campaign rally

On the 11th February:

“Five cars were fired upon on Mozambique’s main north-south highway north of the River Save today, a police spokeswoman said, blaming gunmen from opposition movement Renamo for the attacks which killed no one but left three people injured” (…)”The stretch of road where the attacks took place, between the River Save and the town of Muxungue, was the scene of repeated Renamo attacks on vehicles in 2013 and 2014, before a cease-fire was agreed in September 2014 to allow Renamo to take part in elections the following month” (Zitamar, 2016).

On the 12th February:

“The Mozambican police force has promised to block any attempt by opposition movement Renamo to install checkpoints on the country’s main highways, in what Renamo is billing as an effort to protect its members from kidnap and assassination attempts” (…)”Speaking in the capital Maputo today, police spokesman Inacio Dina told journalists any Renamo checkpoints would be illegal, and the police “will use the legitimate means it has in its mandate to restore order.”(ExxAfrica, 2016).

Renamo Ambush

On the 13th February:

“Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo, says President Jacob Zuma is favourably disposed towards mediating in the conflict between Renamo and the Mozambican government” (…)”Dhlakama nonetheless insisted that Renamo had sent a letter to Zuma via the South African High Commission in Maputo and had received an encouraging response” (ANA, 2016).

On the 14th February:

“Renamo returned to war with attacks Thursday and Friday on the N1, the main north-south road, in Sofala province. Eight cars were shot at; six people were injured but there were no fatalities” (…)”Renamo secretary general Manuel Bissopo was seriously injured and his bodyguard killed in a drive-by shooting in Beira on Wednesday 20 January. Dhlakama’s convoy was shot at on 12 and 25 September last year” (Hanlon, 2016).

Mozambique Renamo

On the 15th February:

“Policy makers increased the rate by 100 basis points to 10.75 percent, the Maputo-based institution said in an e-mailed statement on Monday” (…)“The Bank of Mozambique’s Monetary Policy Committee assessed the recent developments in the international economic context, in which the slowdown of the economic activity of developed economies, emerging markets and the Southern African Development Community region stands out,” it said. “The deceleration of the Chinese economy and the persistent decline in commodity prices are the main risk factors in the international context, with probable impacts on global growth, in a context that’s still characterized by the persistent strengthening of the U.S. dollar.” (McDonald, 2016).

On the 16th February:

“Gunmen of the former rebel movement Renamo murdered an official of the ruling Frelimo Party in Nhamatanda district, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala on Monday morning, according to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”” (…)”The Nhamatanda district administrator, Boavida Manuel, told reporters that Silva was murdered at his home shortly after midnight by a group of six Renamo gunmen. His wife, 47 year old Dorca Benjamin, was seriously injured, and is currently under medical care in Beira Central Hospital” (AllAfrica, 2016).

On the 17th February:

“The state-owned Radio Mozambique reported that the clash happened when a Renamo armed group attacked a road block early Wednesday on a tertiary road in Gorongosa district, central Mozambican province of Sofala” (…)“In an exchange of fire, a policeman was killed and a Renamo fighter also died”, said Manuel Camachu, administrator of the area, adding that the fighting lasted for 30 minutes and the Renamo men fled to the bush. Gorongosa used to be Renamo’s stronghold during the ended civil war Renamo waged against the Frelimo-led government” (News Ghana, 2016).

On the 18th February:

“At the opening session of the third ordinary session of Parliament, the parliamentary leader of Frelimo (Mozambique Liberation Front) called for negotiations and her colleague from Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance) said that her party is prepared to talk, but questioned the good faith of the other party” (…)“As for the negotiations or dialogue for peace, Renamo is ready,” said Ivone Soares, while adding that agreements signed in the past have not been implemented and questioning guarantees that “future commitments will be honoured in the spirit and in the letter” (…)“The country is experiencing a climate of tension created by Renamo, endangering development,” said Talapa, who expressed regret over the “incendiary and totally irresponsible speeches” being delivered in parliament, and for incitements to “civil disobedience, divisiveness, tribalism and war as means of coming to power” (…)”The MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique), the third-largest parliamentary force, also addressed the political and military crisis, arguing that “Mozambicans do not deserve another war” nor more violations of human rights and an autocratic state” (…) “This endemic violence must stop and give way to constructive dialogue”, Lutero Simango, parliamentary leader of the MDM, said, adding that “peace is not a matter of a party or two,” but “a national imperative” that must be everyone’s agenda” (Lusa, 2016).

Mozambique Liberation

On the 19th February:

“MARGARIDA TALAPA, Head of the Parliamentary Group of the ruling FRELIMO Party says the dissidents have caused tensions in the SADC country” (…)”Ms TALAPA says such people also understand perfectly well dialogue is the best option for obtaining effective peace in MOZAMBIQUE; but the supposedly reasonable wing of RENAMO is made up of cowards” (…)”She has further called on RENAMO to comply with the agreement on a cessation of military hostilities, which it signed on FIVE SEPTEMBER 2014, and call on its operatives to hand over their weapons” (…)”She claims the ruling party manipulates the defence and security forces, and attacks RENAMO forces which are awaiting reintegration” (Saba, 2016).

On the 20th February:

“Authorities in Mozambique are disputing reports that over 6,000 refugees in Malawi are fleeing skirmishes in the northern part of the Mozambique between Frelimo and Renamo” (…)”BBC on Friday quoted the Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi as saying there was no war in the country warranting the fleeing of some people, described asylum seeker in Malawi as a normal migration” (…)”Refugees interview by the BBC said they fled Frelimo brutality. Some woman claimed they were raped by government soldiers as punishment for “shielding” Renamo rebels” (Khamula, 2016).

On the 21st February:

“More than 6,000 Mozambicans have fled to neighboring Malawi since mid-December to escape clashes between government forces and armed militants of the main opposition party Renamo, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency” (…)”The number of people fleeing Mozambique has been increasing because of the clashes between Renamo and government forces,” Ghelli said. “The asylum seekers told us this.” (Odziwa, 2016).

Mozambique soldiers vs Renamo

On the 22nd February:

“The man, Domingos Jose, is a major in the Renamo militia, who was demobilized in 1994, after the end of the war of destabilization. His arrest is further evidence that Renamo is attempting to recall men who were supposed to have returned to civilian life 22 years ago” (…)”According to a report in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Jose was one of a group of five Renamo gunmen, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, who attacked the police post in an abortive attempt to seize the weapons it contained” (AllAfrica, 2016).

On the 23rd February:

“Gunmen of the Mozambican revel movement Renamo injured two policemen in an ambush on Saturday in the Mutamba region of Barue district, in the central province of Manica” (…)”The Manica provincial police commander, Armando Mude, confirmed that two policemen were slightly injured in the ambush which occurred at about 12.00” (…)”Mude said that after this incident calm returned to Mutamba. He dismissed the Renamo ambush as mere banditry, and insisted that security along the road is guaranteed” (AIM, 2016).

MDM Campaign Mozambique

On the 26th February:

“President Filipe Nyusi today reiterated his willingness to dialogue “without preconditions” with the largest opposition party in Mozambique, Renamo, appealing “to all of Mozambique’s friends” not to encourage the use of weapons” (…)”We reiterate our openness to dialogue without preconditions,” said the head of State of Mozambique, speaking at a graduation ceremony at the Police Academy of Sciences (ACIPOL) in Maputo” (…)”Mozambique is experiencing a situation of political uncertainty for several months and the leader of Renamo threatens to seize power in six northern and central provinces of the country, where the opposition movement claims victory in the general elections of October 2014” (…)”The President Filipe Nyusi has reiterated ihis willingness  to meet with the leader of Renamo, but Afonso Dhlakama believes that there is nothing to talk about,  Frelimo having rejected in parliament the timely revision of the Constitution  to give legal cover to the new administrative regions claimed by the opposition and says that dialogue will only resume after the seizure of power in the centre and north of the country” (Lusa, 2016).

On the 1st March:

“Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo, has declared that any dialogue with the government is dependent on Renamo first taking power in the six central and northern provinces which it claims (Manica, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula and Niassa)” (…)”Dhlakama’s position is contained in a statement published in the Renamo information bulletin, which declares “Renamo is willing to hold a dialogue with Frelimo, but demands in the first place the governance of the six provinces where it won the elections. Hence any dialogue in the future should occur when Renamo is effectively governing in those provinces” (…)”As for mediators, the government has repeatedly said it sees no need for foreign mediators in a dispute between Mozambicans. At Renamo’s insistence, a group of Mozambican mediators took part in the dialogue between the government and Renamo that ran from April 2013 to August 2015, when Dhlakama unilaterally suspended it” (AIM, 2016).

1st March 2016 Renamo

Reports of actions on the 3rd March:

“Mozambique’s state media on Thursday reported that a group of armed men from the main opposition Renamo attacked four civilian vehicles on Thursday morning in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, resulting in a few injuries” (…)”Radio Mozambique spoke to the administrator of Muxungue, Domingos Fernando, who confirmed the attack on four vehicle” (…)”But he said the fourth vehicle, which was heading to the northern city of Nampula was attacked at 7 O’ Clock in the morning” (Coastweek, 2016).

“Parliamentary deputies from Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party on Thursday urged the Attorney-General’s Office to investigate crimes committed by the rebel movement Renamo, and suggested that Renamo could be outlawed as a political party” (…)”This is the only case in the world where there is a party which is in parliament and at the same time waging war in the bush”, said Frelimo spokesperson Edmundo-Galiza Matos Junior, speaking in the second day of a debate with the government on the politico-military tensions in the country”.(…)“It is time for the Attorney-General to analyse seriously the legality of Renamo in the light of the Constitution and the Penal Code, which were passed here with Renamo voting in favour”, he declared” (…)“Is Renamo a political party or a group of armed men who loot the goods of the people – in short armed bandits?”, asked Lucinda Malema, while Lutse Rumeia said “Renamo should have been banned a long time ago. It’s no more than a gang of terrorists and bandits” (…)“Emdio Xavier added a demand that the government should suspend all payments to Renamo. AS a parliamentary party, Renamo receives a monthly state subsidy in proportion to the number of seats it holds” (AllAfrica, 2016).

On 4th March:

“The Mozambican government has deployed about 2,000 soldiers to the opposition’s Gorongosa District stronghold, the media reported” (…)”The deployment, the Moçambique para todos newspaper said, was being seen as targeting the Gorongosa hill, believed to be the hideout of the main opposition Renamo leader, Mr Afonso Dhlakama” (…)”According to Mr Dhlakama, the Mozambican government had ignored calls for dialogue with the opposition, but President Filipe Nyusi insists he would settle for nothing short of direct talks with the opposition leader” (Viera, 2016).

University Eduardo Mondlane.img_assist_custom-442x318

On 5th March:

“Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi has sent a letter to Afonso Dhlakama, the leader of the country’s main opposition party and rebel militia, inviting him to urgent talks on how to restore peace to the country” (…) ”Renamo said in a statement on Friday that Dhlakama is available for talks with the Frelimo government, while condemning an alleged build-up of 4,500 troops from Mozambique’s military and police forces in preparation for a military “mega-offensive” in the central Mozambican provinces of Manica and Sofala. Daily newspaper CanalMoz said on Thursday the government has sent around 2,000 troops to Gorongosa, the district within Sofala where Dhlakama is currently based” (…)”According to a statement released late on Friday, 4 March by the President’s office, Nyusi has appointed a team of three including Jacinto Veloso, a veteran of the war of liberation and a former head of intelligence and state security, to prepare the meeting between Nyusi and Dhlakama” (Zitamar, 2016).

On the 6th March:

“Gunmen of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo on Saturday morning opened fire on a bus in the central province of Manica, killing two people and injuring a further eight” (…)”The ambush took place in the Honde area, in Barue district, on the main road from the provincial capital, Chimoio, to Tete, and on to Malawi and Zambia” (…)”Addressing a press conference in Chimoio, the Manica provincial police commander, Armando Canheze, said that because the ambush took place near a position of the defence and security forces, police were able to reach the scene before the attackers had an opportunity to loot the bus” (AllAfrica, 2016).

Afterthought:

(From what I found) Numbers
Deaths 4
Injured 21
Total 25

This numbers are surely small and might be even bigger as some reports are vague about the amount of people injured at an attack from Renamo as the score is not set. Also the witness report from the people of Malawi does not specify the actual numbers that has been hit. The numbers I have contained is the numbers that are specific in the reports I have collected.  So my numbers can only give an indication and not be the actual number of people hurt/injured or dead by the Renamo, army or the police in these skirmishes.

What is very obvious is that Renamo men work in one way and have two main tactics. Going in 6 man groups to houses of governmental leaders or Frelimo leaders to injure or kill them a as a tactically spreading fear, also ambushing main roads to make daily-life into a dangerous journey and show the weakness of the government forces.

What is also very clear is that Frelimo have not delivered everything promised earlier for certain reasons, as the army and police work against the Renamo, and who answered who on at this stage is hard to say. As the 1992 peace agreement promised either guerrillas or armies to become political actors, so both Frelimo and Renamo have arms and now how to use arms. Though at any point Frelimo always have the upper-hand as a government entity and the rule of power. As this also open the questions if they as a longstanding ruling party have used the government facilities, institutions, funds and armies to secure the role of government, yet again as they have been the main party since in independence in Mozambique. And because of this divide a newly formed party has surfaced called MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique) they can bring some form civility between Frelimo and Renamo as they have both new and old wounds.

The most astonishing thing for me is that the government and the President Nyusi together with fellow party fellows claiming that the people fleeing the skirmishes and battles between the government forces and the Renamo army is ordinary migration. When the amount of the people who flees at once it is not ordinary migration, as the 6,000 people deserves better and be taken serious by a President, not only by the authorities of Malawi, but also the Mozambique government as they have been responsible for this people and still are as they are initially their citizens and had homes in districts close to Malawi and areas that was under control of Renamo. Renamo is responsible as well, as they are part of parliament and lawful created party who supposed to generate peace after recent agreements, but this here seem like a long-serving power-struggle that seems to last a bit longer.

The once that is hurt is not the elite of Renamo and Frelimo, but the stakes of Mozambique’s citizens and their businesses. The altercations and implications of this can weaken the economy and not get the best deals as certain business and operations will shun the country as they will not be associated with the armies and violence. But it is never easy to say and predict, but the parties of Renamo and Frelimo; need to get a genuine peace-deal and a agreement that actually stick since they have gone back and forth; and doesn’t seem to stop unless their leaders dies. That is the President Nyusi and Afonso Dhlakama! I don’t wish anybody death, but seem that none of them will ever back-down and the President Nyusi will not give in, as the ruling party will stay there by any means, the same for Renamo’s leader Dhlakama. Even if Dhlakama want to have mediation with ANCs leader and South African President Zuma does not validate the ambushes and trying to attempt killings at government officials. To an outsider does sound like mixed messages. While progression from Nyusi is not strengthen him or his government; as the weaken routes and heavy deployment does on escalate the battles between the parties and their armed armies as they currently fight for supremacy and legitimacy. I feel sorry for the once that are in the middle the battles between the parties and the citizens who are targeted by the armies or used for political gain. Peace.

Reference:

AIM – ‘Dhlakama puts conditions on dialogue’ (01.03.2016) link: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/2016/03/dhlakama-puts-conditions-on-dialogue/

AIM – ‘Renamo gunmen ambush police in Barue’ (23.02.2016) link: http://www.thezimbabwean.co/2016/02/renamo-gunmen-ambush-police-in-barue/

AIM – ‘President Nyusi lays wreath at Heroes’ Monument’ (04.02.2016) link: http://www.manicapost.com/president-nyusi-lays-wreath-at-heroes-monument/

AllAfrica – ‘Mozambique: Frelimo Deputies Suggest Outlawing Renamo’ (03.03.2016) link:

http://allafrica.com/stories/201603040268.html

AllAfrica – ‘Mozambique: Renamo Major Captured’ (22.02.2016) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201602230158.html

AllAfrica – ‘Mozambique: Renamo Murders Frelimo Official in Sofala’ (16.02.2016) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201602170089.html

AllAfrica – ‘Mozambique: Renamo Gunmen Murder Two in Attack On Bus’ (06.03.2016) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201603060317.html

Africa News Agency – ‘Renamo leader wants Zuma to mediate in Mozambique’ (13.02.2016) link: https://www.enca.com/africa/renamo-leader-wants-zuma-mediate

Coastweek – ‘Armed Renamo men said to attack vehicles in central Mozambique’ (05.03.2016) link: http://www.coastweek.com/3907-Armed-Renamo-men-reportedly-attack-vehicles-in-central-Mozambique.htm

ExxAfrica – ‘MOZAMBIQUE POLICE VOW TO BLOCK RENAMO CHECKPOINT PLAN’ (12.02.2016) link: http://www.exxafrica.com/mozambique-police-vow-to-block-renamo-checkpoint-plan/

Hanlon, Joseph – ‘Mozambique: Back to War – New Renamo Attacks On N1’ (14.02.2016) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201602140334.html

Khamula, Owen – ‘Mozambique disown refugees in Malawi’ (20.02.2016) link: http://www.nyasatimes.com/2016/02/20/mozambique-disowns-refugees-in-malawi/

Louw-Vaudran – ‘Mozambique’s success story under threat’ (19.02.2016) link: https://www.issafrica.org/iss-today/mozambiques-success-story-under-threat

Lusa – ‘Mozambican PR reiterates readiness to dialogue “without preconditions” with  Renamo’ (26.02.2016) link: http://clubofmozambique.com/news/mozambican-pr-reiterates-readiness-to-dialogue-without-preconditions-with-renamo/

Lusa – ‘Frelimo and Renamo blame each other for instability in Mozambique’ (18.02.2016) link: http://clubofmozambique.com/news/frelimo-and-renamo-blame-each-other-for-instability-in-mozambique/

McDonald – Daniel – ‘Mozambique Raises Interest Rates as Inflation Pressures Mount’ (15.02.2016) link: http://www.dailynewsx.com/news/business-news/mozambique-raises-interest-rates-as-inflation-pressures-mount-27281.html

News Ghana – ‘Two die in clashes in central Mozambique’ (17.02.2016) link: http://www.newsghana.com.gh/two-die-in-clashes-in-central-mozambique/

Odziwa, James – ‘HAS SENT AN INFLUX OF REFUGEES INTO MALAWI’ (21.02.2016) link: http://www.maravipost.com/life-and-style/badnews/10508-clashes-between-mozambican-government-forces-and-renamo-in-tete-has-sent-an-influx-of-refugees-into-malawi.html

Saba – ‘MP ACCUSES RENAMO LAWMAKERS OF CONDONING ARMED VIOLENCE’ (19.02.2016) link: http://www.sabaorg.com/mp-accuses-renamo-lawmakers-of-condoning-armed-violence/

Viera, Arnaldo – ‘Mozambican government deploys troops ‘to hunt’ for opposition leader’ (04.03.2016) link: http://www.africareview.com/News/Mozambican-government-deploys-troop-to-opposition-stronghold/-/979180/3103114/-/1261vys/-/index.html

Zitamar – ‘Renamo accused of attacking cars on Mozambique highway’ (11.02.2016) link: http://zitamar.com/renamo-accused-of-attacking-cars-on-mozambique-highway/

Zitamar – ‘ozambique police vow to block Renamo checkpoint plan’ (09.02.2016) link: http://zitamar.com/mozambique-police-vow-to-block-renamo-checkpoint-plan/

Zitamar – ‘Nyusi invites Dhlakama for Mozambique peace talks’ (05.03.2016) link: http://zitamar.com/nyusi-invites-dhlakama-mozambique-peace-talks/

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