Frelimo, MPLA pledge to strengthen co-operation

Maputo – Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party and its Angolan counterpart, the MPLA, have declared their intention to strengthen co-operation.

This declaration came at the end of an audience granted by Frelimo general secretary Eliseu Machava to the MPLA deputy president Joao Lourenco, who was on a one day visit to Mozambique last week. Lourenco is also the Angolan Defence Minister, and is the MPLA’s presidential candidate in the elections scheduled for August.

Lourenco said he had brought a message from the current Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for his Mozambican counterpart, Filipe Nyusi. He also expressed the MPLA’s solidarity with the victims of Cyclone Dineo, which struck the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane in mid-February.

But the most extraordinary aspect of Lourenco’s declarations was an outburst against what he called “scoundrels” (“malandros”, in Portuguese), by which he appeared to mean the opposition parties in the two countries.

“If we are not united, the scoundrels will beat us. The scoundrels are united, those inside the country, and those outside. They are united and they do not sleep,” he said. “Day and night they are thinking about how to steal from Frelimo and the MPLA. We must not allow the gains we have made with great sacrifice to be lost. So we have to consolidate them”.

Lourenco added that Angola has followed Nyusi’s attempts to secure effective peace in Mozambique. “We are convinced that with the wisdom of Frelimo, the people will find the right path to attain this desired goal”.

“Mozambique and Angola have the common mission to maintain the sovereignty and stability of the two countries,” he continued. “We regret that Mozambique is experiencing some instability, but we think that, with wisdom, it will achieve the peace and stability necessary for the development and well-being of the people.”

Machava declared that Frelimo and the MPLA were brothers, working to ensure the welfare of their respective peoples.  “Together we have to find the path to attain our objectives,” he said.

Machava assured Lourenco of Frelimo’s support in the forthcoming elections. “It is in the interests of both the Mozambican and the Angolan people that the MPLA should continue to direct the destiny of the Angolan people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nyusi told reporters on Friday that he has once again been in telephone contact with the leader of the Renamo rebels, Afonso Dhlakama, this time in order to clarify an incident which had supposedly taken place in Murrupula district, in the northern province of Nampula.

Last week, the Mozambican media had reported the kidnapping of a teacher in Morrupula by Renamo gunmen, and claimed that this was a violation of the truce that Dhlakama had declared in late December, and subsequently extended until May.  So Nyusi decided to look into the matter on Tuesday by asking Dhlakama for his version of events.

Speaking to reporters who were attending the National Forum on Agricultural Marketing, held on Friday in Mocuba, in the central province of Zambezia, Nyusi said he had ascertained that the teacher had simply removed tree trunks on a path that led to a Renamo military base.

The teacher was merely seeking to ensure normal freedom of movement in that part of Murrupula. But he had not informed the local Renamo commander, and so members of the Renamo militia imagined that he was working for the government defence and security forces.

The teacher, who is a local village headman, was released after the Renamo gunmen concluded that his motive was indeed to ensure freedom of movement.  “He has now left captivity, and the people who had fled from their homes have returned to their normal lives”, said Nyusi.   

By and large the truce, arranged in the earlier phone contacts between Nyusi and Dhlakama, is holding. Since it took effect, on 27 December, no further Renamo ambushes of vehicles on the country’s roads have been reported, and there have been no clashes between Renamo and the defence and security forces. – AIM

April 2017
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