Dhlakama softens stance

Maputo – Former guerilla commander-turned-opposition chief, Afonso Dhlakama, says he is talking to President Armando Guebuza to end political hostilities as tensions start easing in Mozambique.

Dhlakama has engaged in sabre rattling and made veiled threats to re-start a civil war that claimed more than a million lives between 1975 and 1992.
Several people died in clashes between former rebel Renamo troops and government security personnel.
However, last week Dhlakama’s delegation met government officials and indicated they could be willing to sit down for negotiations on contentious issues such as the electoral law.
At a media conference at his heavily defended bush camp in central Mozambique last week, he admitted to ordering an attack on a police station that left four officers dead.
“I knew, and I authorised it and I told my supporters to (attack). There will never be a war, only these types of misunderstandings could continue,” he said.
Dhlakama returned to the bush with a few hundred men in October 2012 citing dissatisfaction with the electoral law and distribution of the proceeds from Mozambique’s vast natural resources.
He claimed at the media conference that President Guebuza sent him a conciliatory text message.
His delegation for the meeting with government officials was headed by Simon Macuana, and they presented a document highlighting their grievances.
“We have to find a law that allows all a level playing field because the current electoral law does not benefit  all political forces,” Macuana said.
Renamo has threatened to disrupt local government elections set for November if electoral laws are not ammended.
Dhlakama has said that he is open to a ceasefire as long as the government pulls back its security forces from the perimeter of his bush camp in the Gorongosa Mountains and releases 15 detained supporters.


April 2013
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