te detainees are ‘political prisoners’ — Renamo

Speaking at a Maputo Press conference, the Renamo national spokesperson, Fernando Mazanga, alleged that the police had arrested Renamo members “at random” after a clash on 31 May between groups of supporters of Renamo and of the ruling Frelimo Party.

This incident occurred during a visit to Mutarara by the Renamo General Secretary, Ossufo Momade. Mazanga claimed that the Renamo convoy of vehicles came under attack from Frelimo supporters using sticks and stones.

Renamo supporters retaliated, said Mazanga, and the result was that nine people were injured ‘ one of them on the Renamo side, and eight on the Frelimo side, six of the latter seriously.

Given that Mazanga freely admits that the great majority of those hurt were from Frelimo, it seems strange that he blames the violence exclusively on Frelimo, and describes the Remamo members arrested in connection with the clash as “political prisoners”. Asked to justify his use of this term, Mazanga replied “They are political prisoners because they were involved in political activities”.

Mazanga claimed that the “manhunt” against Renamo members in Mutarara has led several of them to abandon their homes, fleeing to the neighbouring provinces of Zambezia and Sofala, or crossing the border into Malawi.

Renamo offices in the area were being destroyed, he said, while the homes of Renamo militants were looted and burnt down.

This fate, Mazanga said, had overtaken the home of Caelmane Madane, Renamo’s local head of mobilisation in the Mutarara locality of Gregorio, while he was absent in Zambezia.

Noting that these incidents occurred just a week after a visit to Tete, and to Mutarara, by Eduardo Mulembue, chairperson of the Mozambican parliament, and a member of the Frelimo Political Commission, Mazanga said “this leads us to believe that these operations were planned and guided by the Frelimo Central Committee”.

“With this political terrorism, Frelimo wants to privatise Tete politically, so that it can manage as it likes the economic interests of the Zambezi Valley and the Cahora Bassa dam”, he accused.

Mazanga also deliberately misrepresented the Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Mobilisation and Propaganda, Edson Macuacua, claiming that he had said Frelimo would use “the law of force” against Renamo.

In fact, what Macuacua had said, in an interview published by the daily paper “Noticias” on 3 June, was that Renamo had chosen “the law of force”, while Frelimo would react by calling upon “the force of the law”.

Mazanga repeated a familiar Renamo claim ‘ that it was only restraint urged by the party’s leader, Afonso Dhlakama that was preventing further violence.

Ordinary Renamo members, he claimed, wanted retaliation, but Dhlakama had so far successfully calmed them down. However, Dhlakama was “aghast at the situation”, and “fears that at any moment, he might lose control of the emotions of the victims of these terrorist acts”.

If that were to happen, Mazanga claimed, it would be the fault of President Armando Guebuza “for doing nothing to halt this wave of political violence”. ‘ AIM.

June 2006
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