Mozambique, a Bomb Waiting to Explode


History repeats itself. It can repeat itself in the same place or in a different one but with almost the same characteristics. Currently, Mozambique is under siege. Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO) is in the woods fighting to topple the ruling Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO).

The Frelimo-Renamo-bad blood goes back to 1975 the year it was formed by its founder, the late Andre Matsangaissa, who was killed by the Mozambican Army on October 17, 1979, and was succeeded by Afonso Dhlakama. RENAMO subsequently embarked on guerrilla wars from 1975 to 1992.

RENAMO was found after Mozambique attained her independence under the leadership of FRELIMO that trounced RENAMO in the election prior to freedom. After the reluctant and defeated Portuguese colonialists handed freedom to FRELIMO, RENAMO decided to go to the bush to topple the legitimate government under FRELIMO. Sadly, for RENAMO, its goals were not achieved. Thus, in 1992 the peace accord between the duo was reached under the supervision of the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) until 1994.

After putting guns down, it was agreed that RENAMO should metamorphosise into a political party and participate in political activities legally. In 1994, RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama faced former president Joachim Chissano, who trounced him by 52.3 percent to 47.7 percent in elections, and conceded defeat.

Dhlakama didn’t throw in the towel.  In 2004, he tried again, this time against a new candidate, Armando Guebuza, who once again trounced him by 63.7 percent against 31.7 percent.

Dhlakama, once again in 2009 faced the incumbent President, Comrade Guebuza, who carried the day. This became the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

In October 2012, Dhlakama decided to quit democratic competition and resort to guerrilla war. Dhlakama called his supporters back to their old military base close to the Gorongosa Game Park where they are currently wagging war against their old enemy-cum-political competitor, FRELIMO.

Looking at RENAMO’S nativity and trajectory, something similar appears as far as União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) is concerned. UNITA entered the game in 1992 after signing the Bicesse Accords, also known as the Estoril Accords in 1990. As it was for Dhlakama, UNITA’s candidate Jonas Savimbi, who faced Angolan long-time President Eduardo Jose Dos Santos, lost by 19 percent to 72 percent.

Once again, in 1998, UNITA under its leader Savimbi participated in the general election in which it lost by the bigger margin of 85 percent by 10 percent. After noticing that the ballot box offered less expectations to win the presidency than the barrel of the gun, Savimbi resorted to the bush, where he was killed on February 22, 2002. This marked the end of his era.

Going back to RENAMO and Dhlakama, will history repeat itself? After RENAMO won international support that convinced the Mozambican government to negotiate with them and abused it, will there be another chance? Will Mozambique ape Angola by killing Dhlakama so as to enjoy everlasting peace or go back to the drawing board?

Sadly, though, as the impasse in Mozambique grows bigger and bigger, the international community is little moved. Should we allow another 20 years of carnage and suffering in Mozambique or step in to avoid it? Where is the UN? Why is it becoming harder for the human race to learn from its history?

Despite the fact that the war between Mozambique and RENAMO has been kept from the mainstream media, destruction is going on in the ground. Maybe, it has been put in the back burner in favour of mega crises in the Central Africa Republic (CAR), South Sudan, Mali and Syria.

Dhlakama is likely to end up like Savimbi. This is especially possible when comparing the duo’s trajectory and how busier the international community is without cold war that used to feed Savimbi and Dhlakama. Ironically, the African Union (AU), which is in charge of the continent seems to miss a point just like it happened recently in South Sudan. Should Africa wait to blame somebody for not intervening? – The African Executive –

February 2014
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