Maputo- The dialogue between the Mozambican government and the former rebel movement Renamo remains at an impasse due to Renamo’s demand that politicians should not do political work. 

This extraordinary demand was raised for the first time last week. It had been hoped that the two delegations would sign a document on the separation of the state apparatus from political parties – but out of the blue Renamo produced a demand that eminently political figures, such as the President of the Republic, and all the ministers whom he appoints, should be banned from carrying out party political activities during working hours inside state institutions (such as the President’s Office, and all the ministries).

 “When everything indicated that we would be able to make a declaration of principle on the separation of parties and state, we find Renamo demanding, insistently, that we include obstacles that will prevent the head of state from exercising political activities”, the head of the government delegation, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, told reporters. 

Pacheco added that Renamo was ignoring the Law on Public Probity, which it had supported in parliament, and now wanted the work of state functionaries to be governed by something completely different.  The head of the Renamo delegation, Saimone Macuiana, claimed that the Renamo demand was of extreme importance for the operation of the public service in Mozambique. “For us, it is not normal that the head of a locality or a district administrator should undertake party political activities in working hours, between 07.00 and 15.30”, he said.

 This ignored the main objection to the Renamo proposal – which is the attempt ban people who are appointed politically, such as Ministers, from acting politically.  The other major question where there is still no agreement is the extension of 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 it turned out that there was nothing to observe or monitor, since 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. On March 9, Pacheco said the two sides had reached consensus, and that the EMOCHM mission would thus be extended for just 60 days. But Macuiana said there is no consensus, and Renamo still wants an extension of 120 days.  – AIM


March 2015
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