Mozambique peace pledge lifts gloom amid pandemic

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi (left) and opposition RENAMO leader Ossufo Momade pose for a photo after signing peace deal

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi (left) and opposition RENAMO leader Ossufo Momade pose for a photo after signing peace deal. File photo

from ARIMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) AMID the doom and gloom afflicting the African continent following a major health crisis, there are renewed hopes for everlasting peace in Mozambique after the country’s leaders made the most of their newly-found comradeship to tackle prevailing social and political problems.

The meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and main opposition leader, Ossufo Momade, the first high-profile interaction between the duo this year rekindles the spirit of the historic peace deal signed last year by the major political players in the Southern African country.

The ruling party, Nyusi’s Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), and the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), led by Momade, penned the deal in August last year.

It ended long-running tensions, dating from independence in 1975, between the two liberation parties in the former Portuguese colony.

However, there were some sticking issues that remained unresolved, particularly the disarmament of combatants from RENAMO and their integration into the national army.

RENAMO had earlier launched a legal challenge against Nyusi’s election last year but the verdict by the court affirming the incumbent as duly elected had been received by the opposition.

Therefore the process of disarming some elements within the opposition remained a deterrent towards the full implementation of the peace pact.

Hence, it is obvious the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process featured high on the agenda of the meeting between Nyusi and Momade.

“Regarding the DDR process, it was agreed that it should be resumed according to the previously approved road-map, taking into account all preventative measures within the scope of COVID-19,” the Presidency stated.

COVID-19, the antonym of the coronavirus, is the newest challenge facing Mozambique. The country, at the time of publication, had 39 cases of the virus. The first cases were recorded on March 22.

Unlike the other prevailing issues, COVID-19 is an imported problem, traced to a 75-year-old man who had travelled to the United Kingdom (UK).

Blamed on militants opposed to RENAMO entering a peace pact with the governing party, the attacks in the central region of the country also featured in Nyusi and Momade’s meeting.

The political leaders also pledged urgency in addressing the insurgent attacks in the resources-rich northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Islamist groups are blamed for the terror.

The National Institute for Disaster Management reported that 162 000 civilians were affected by the insurgency.

It is estimated 600 people, including state security personnel, have been killed.

A journalist recently went missing in the volatile region.

There is urgent need for humanitarian assistance to the thousands affected by the banditry.

Almiro Marcelino, a local political commentator, said the renewed cordial relations between the former political rivals augured well for the future of the country.

“From the decades-old attacks by militants to the latest crisis around COVID-19, the country faces numerous challenges. Only through unity can these problems be conquered and Mozambique fulfills its true potential,” he said.

The Presidency concluded the meeting between Nyusi and Momade had been held “in an environment of harmony and cordiality, with both parties reinforcing their sense of mutual trust and welcoming the meeting, committing themselves to continue the dialogue on matters of national interest.”

– CAJ News

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