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Monday, 7 April 2014

Instability in Mozambique...Questions being asked? Part 2

As a continuation of my previous blog, below are the outcomes of the peace initiatives between the Government of Mozambique and the main opposition party RENAMO.

Agreement between Renamo and Mozambique government reduces risks of attacks on security forces and cargo.
•             The Mozambican government and main opposition party Mozambican National Resistance (Resistência Nacional de Moçambique: Renamo) agreed on the implementation and supervision of a 'ceasefire' on 31 March 2014, by creating a joint supervision command. An agreement had been reached on 10 February for a more 'balanced' composition of the National Electoral Commission (Comissão Nacional de Eleições: CNE) and the creation of well-paid positions for Renamo.

•             However, Renamo fighters continued to attack government troops, police outposts, and road cargo in central Mozambique, raising risks to road cargo along the main north-south EN1 motorway.  Most recently, on 31 March, 17 government soldiers were killed in an ambush in Mucoza, 7 kilometres outside Gorongosa, in Sofala province.

•             Significance
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has been in hiding since a government attack on his headquarters in Gorongosa in October 2013, and Renamo negotiators alleged that the government was intent on assassinating their leader; this has until now been the main justification to continue the attacks. The joint central command, which will now monitor the ceasefire and "ensure the safety" of Dhlakama and Renamo fighters dispersed across the country, will comprise 70 national observers (35 Renamo and 35 government), 23 international observers.

•             Although some minor details still need to be finalised, the agreement is expected to come into effect from 2 April 2014 and observers will be deployed across the country subsequently. Due to the dispersed and incoherent nature of the remaining small bands of Renamo fighters, the ceasefire is likely to be implemented gradually, but will significantly reduce the risk of armed attacks on government units, road cargo, and travellers in central Mozambique, from northern Inhambane province to Nampula from mid-April onwards.

We hope these and other initiatives yield lasting peace, especially now that the country is on a path of economic growth on the back of significant developments in its extractive industries.