Moza dialogue hits fresh impasse
The dialogue between the Mozambican government and the former rebel movement Renamo ground to a halt again this week, when Renamo threw in a new demand.
It had been expected that the two sides would wind up their discussion on separating the state from political parties with a consensual document.
Instead Renamo raised an issue which had never been discussed before. It proposed that all members of the government, including the President of the Republic, should be banned from undertaking political activities inside state institutions.
Speaking at a press conference at the end of the meeting, the head of the government delegation, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, thought it made no sense that eminent political figures, such as the President, should be barred from political activities.
“When the Head of State appoints a minister, that’s a political activity, even though he is a servant of the state,” he said.
It would be a complete distortion of the Mozambican state to decree that politicians could not engage in politics, Pacheco added, and there was no way the government could accept such a demand.
But the head of the Renamo delegation, Saimone Macuiana, was not budging. He declared that, as far as Renamo was concerned, from 07.30 to 15.00 (the working hours in much of the state apparatus), “ministers and other state office holders cannot undertake political party activities”.
The deadlock also continued on the question of extending the mission of the observer team monitoring the September agreement on cessation of hostilities, known by the acronym EMOCHM. EMOCHM consists of 23 military experts from nine countries (Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Cape Verde, Italy, Portugal, Britain and the United States), plus 70 Mozambican officers, half appointed by the government and half by Renamo. EMOCHM was to monitor the 5 September agreement signed by the then President, Armando Guebuza, and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, which brought to an end Renamo’s low level insurgency in the centre of the country.
Crucially, EMOHCM was to monitor the demobilization and disarming of the Renamo militia, known politely as Renamo’s “residual forces”, and their integration into the armed forces (FADM) and police, or back into civilian life. But Renamo refused to hand over the list of names of the people it wished to recruit into the army and police. So for months EMOCHM has had nothing to do.
The government had initially wanted to wind EMOCHM up, but was persuaded that its mission should be extended. The government is proposing an extension of no more than 60 days, but Renamo wants 120 days. – AIM