from ARIMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) – THE resumption of contacts between the Mozambican government and the main opposition party has set the tone for the official commencement of President Filipe Nyusi’s second term, which will prioritise peace in a country whose potential has been hindered by tensions.
Nyusi will be sworn-in on Wednesday (January 15) exactly three months after his re-election on a landslide (73 percent) ahead of his main rival, Ossufo Momade (21 percent).
The resumption of contacts between the two men also dispels fears the historic peace accord they signed on behalf of the governing Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) and opposition Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) last August was in danger of collapse in the wake of the disputed October elections.
RENAMO had contested the outcome, citing irregularities but the country’s top court rejected the challenge in November.
Addressing supporters in the southern Matola recently, Nyusi confirmed talks with Momade, which he said were centred on the situation in the central parts of Mozambique where militants have been carrying out some attacks.
Some die-hards from REMAMO, opposed to the peace accord, are alleged to be behind the attacks.
“I spoke with the President of Renamo, Ossufo Momade, on his initiative, to look at the situation in the centre of the country,” Nyusi confirmed during his address in Matola.
“He (Momade) promised to work to understand what is going on and what the essence of the matter is,” the president added.
Former Defence Minister Nyusi, who was first elected in 2015, reiterated his administration would build on the accord with RENAMO to enhance peace.
“We will prove to the world that we are all concentrated on the same agenda, which is to develop the country. We shall remain focused on the agenda of Mozambicans, regardless of adversities that may appear,” he said.
However, the biggest threat to peace has emerged in the northern parts of the country where suspected Islamists, belonging to the so-called Ansar al-Sunna sect, have been waging a deadly spate of terror attacks.
It is estimated 300 people have been killed since the armed violence began in late 2017.
“More disturbingly, the insurgency in the northern Cabo Delgado province shows no sign of slowing down – even though the exact identity of the insurgents remains murky,” Simon Allison, consultant for the South African-based Institute for Security Studies, stated.
Nyusi assured his administration would ensure justice for victims.
“We are working to identify these people (perpetrators),” the president said.
In the coming cycle of governance, FRELIMO will hold 184 of the 250 seats in Parliament. RENAMO will have 60 seats. The Mozambique Democratic Movement, led by Daviz Simango, will occupy the remaining six seats.
Experts point out that peace and political stability will be crucial for the country of an estimated 30 million people to make the most of its natural resources and the expected economic activity resulting from vast liquefied natural gas finds in Cabo Delgado.
Some billions of dollars in revenue are expected from the resource.
At the conclusion of a visit to Mozambique in November, International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff projected the outlook for 2020 was for a strong rebound in economic activity and low inflation in Mozambique.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is projected to reach 5,5 percent in the year, from 2,1 percent projected for 2019.
Post-cyclones reconstruction efforts, a recovery in agriculture and economic stimulus as well as investments in the liquefied natural gas megaprojects support the forecast growth.
– CAJ News