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Mozambique: Analyst proposes unity government

04 July 2016, 19:12Brian Ligomeka, News24 Correspondent

Blantyre - A political analyst based in Malawi has said the easiest strategy to end the emerging conflict in Mozambique is through the formation of unity government.

The analyst Humphrey Mvula told News24 that by appointing Renamo rebel leader Alfonso Dhlakama as a second vice president in a unity government "the conflict will immediately end".

He said authorities in Mozambique should realise that armed attacks are a tactic Dhlakama is using to get some form of power after defeat in elections.

“There is no better strategy to an end the war than through the formation of a government of national unity which would entail appointing Dhlakama as a second vice president,” said Mvula.

He added: “It is a strategy of sharing the national cake equitably, as part of peace-building process.” 

According to Mvula, for a warlord who spent about 20 years in the bush, there is nothing else he expects but to share in the rewards of power.

Besides Mvula, who was a senior political advisor of Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi, another analyst who believes Dhlakama is seeking some form of power is British social scientist Joseph Hanlon.

Growing economic imbalances

Hanlon, a journalist and a social scientist who has been writing about Mozambique since 1978 recently observed that Dhlakama’s own pronouncement shows that he needs some power.

According to Hanlon, author of a book Mozambique Under Fire, at the moment the Renamo leader feels that his party “is politically marginalised and affected by growing economic imbalances”.

True to Hanlon’s observation, Dhlakama himself recently told the media that would rather live in the city than in the bus.

“We want to negotiate seriously. I wasn't born to stay in the bush, to be bombed and hunted like an animal. I have a family, I have children, I have grandchildren. I want to be in the city playing with my grandchildren. I want to drive a car and go to the beach at the weekends,” he said.

Besides seeking a position for himself, Dhlakama also wants his political and military lieutenants to be incorporated in the government, the military and the police.

That ambition is clear in his declaration of his plans to take over the six provinces of Manica, Sofala, Tete, Zambezia, Nampula and Niassa.

“These provinces will be governed by Renamo, by the policy of Renamo, by Mozambicans who, although they might not be members of Renamo, are appointed because they enjoy our technical and professional trust, who are not thieves, drug addict or bandits,” said Dhlakama last year.

Old strategy

When the ruling Frelimo rejected the opposition group’s proposals, Renamo simply opted for its old trick of using the bullet to force negotiations with the government.

By destablising the transport sector through attacks on local and foreign trucks, Renamo succeeded in creating a regional crisis as that has affected landlocked Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The threat by the landlocked countries to use alternative routes has economic impact on Maputo which generates some revenue from its sea ports.

The attacks have forced Mozambican leader Filipe Nyusi to make concessions on some of Renamo demands.

Nyusi first concession is that mediators can intervene in the talks between the two sides.

“If the problem is to have somebody else present while we are discussing, then let Dhlakama come with whoever he likes, and we will talk so that he ends the attacks”, he said adding: “Let him come with these people, and we shall see what will happen. I am ready”.

Nyusi explained that Mozambicans should not be killed just because somebody is putting conditions on talks aimed at achieving peace.

Renamo wants the European Union representatives, the Catholic Church and South African President Jacob Zuma to mediate in talks.
While Renamo’s is demanding positions in the government, the military and the police,  the government is pressing for an immediate end of all armed attacks and complete disarmament of the rebel group.


A recent paper released by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) attributes the crisis in Mozambique to incomplete peace building process following the end of the civil war in 1992.

ISS says Mozambique's peace building plans can be categorised according to five interlinked areas: security, economic foundations, inclusive politics, justice, and revenues and services. 

The think-tank says political violence in recent years confirms that Mozambique's peace-building process is still incomplete. 

“Notably, the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of ex-combatants has been a critical challenge since Mozambique's transition from conflict. Recent violence may, in part be traced to a lack of a comprehensive and consistent support for this process,” ISS says in its analysis. 

- News24


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