Mozambique “is Going to be Different” – Dhlakama

The late Opposition Renamo Leader Afonso Dhlakama.

The president of the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo), Afonso Dhlakama, says in an interview with Lusa that, thanks to the agreement on decentralisation reached with the President Filipe Nyusi, Mozambique will in future be different to what it is today.

“Other things may be corrected in the future, but surely Mozambique will be different from what it is today, ” he said in a telephone interview yesterday from Gorongosa, where he has taken refuge.

President Nyusi announced on Wednesday that he would send a proposal to the Assembly of the Republic to revise the Constitution on the basis of the consensus reached in the peace talks with Dhlakama.

The proposed revision provides that provincial governors and district administrators are no longer appointed by central power but will be proposed by the party that wins elections to the provincial and district assemblies.

“Even if there is a party which fails to achieve central power, this will allow for cohabitation,” Dhlakama said, adding that “a democracy” that was not expected had been achieved.

“I confess that these were tough negotiations,” he said about the way the government “talked about decentralisation”. The novelty of elected district administrators – only the negotiation of the election of provincial governors had previously been announced – is seen as an important achievement, even if it is only planned for the general elections of 2024.

“It’s a negotiation, that’s what we got,” he said of the deadline.

“Until six months ago, it was impossible to think that the government could accept this demand or Renamo’s proposal to elect provincial governors. They would cry out loud that it was about dividing the country. We insisted. In fact the government gave in, that the governors would be elected was accepted, and also the administrators, although only in 2024. That is already a step in the negotiations,” he said.

Dhlakama says he felt that the talks with Nyusi had been “a work of sacrifice, of understanding, of understanding each other’s difficulties”.

“If Frelimo said no, we would be in confrontation now, so I want to say: nobody won 100 percent, neither Frelimo nor Nyusi nor Dhlakama, but the people,” he said.

It was a commitment in which the “fundamental goal is to deepen democracy, peace development, reconciliation and free and transparent elections in the country,” ensuring conditions for foreign investment, Dhlakama said.

The Renamo leader hopes that by the end of March, consensus will also be reached in the other commission set up with Filipe Nyusi in the framework of the peace talks, which is dedicated to the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of Renamo troops in the armed forces.

One of the things the main opposition party is demanding “is the integration of Renamo’s military cadres to run battalions, brigades, bureaus, departments, to prevent future Frelimo commandos planning acts or conspiring against the opposition without our command structures knowing or noticing,” he said.

Dhlakama recalled ambushes which targeted him in 2015 and said: “Once this dossier is complete, I will certainly be able to leave Gorongosa and live in the cities again, like a normal person.”

“I believe that if we get the most difficult job done – the revision of the Constitution for the election of the governors, why shouldn’t the integration of Renamo’s military staff be achieved too?” he concluded.