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Mozambique's Dhlakama registers to vote

09 May 2014, 08:52

Maputo - Mozambique's opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama on Thursday registered to vote in the next presidential election, a pre-requisite step to contest the October polls.

The leader of the former rebel Renamo party registered the day before the deadline after the government announced a last-minute 10-day extension.

Dhlakama, who has not been seen in public for over six months, registered near his group's former headquarters of Casa Banana in Gorongosa, in central Mozambique.

In a call for peace and reconciliation in the restive country, Dhlakama told reporters after he registered that Africa needed more leaders like South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

Peace agreement

"I, Dhlakama, with my brothers [in the ruling] Frelimo, would like to be an example to the African continent since people cannot only talk about Mandela," he said.

The former rebel Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) became the official opposition after a peace treaty in 1992 ended its 16-year civil war against the ruling Mozambique National Front party (Frelimo).

Dhlakama withdrew to the bush in 2012, alleging the government had not kept the terms of the peace agreement.

Since last year gunmen reportedly from Renamo have engaged in sporadic clashes with government forces and killed scores of people - mostly civilians - in attacks on vehicles along the main north-south highway.

Dhlakama's registration is an important step in nearly year-long talks aimed at easing tensions between Renamo and the government.

Renamo had warned of consequences if its leader did not register.

"I believe we, Mozambicans can solve our own problems," said Dhlakama.



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