Massive leap to everlasting peace in Mozambique

Mozambican president Fillipe Nyusi with his RENAMO leader counterpart Ossufo Momade

from ARMANDO DOMINGOS in Maputo, Mozambique
MAPUTO, (CAJ News) THE exercise has been far from smooth but the demobilisation, disarming and reintegration (DDR) of hundreds of militia from the opposition Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) is a giant step towards sustainable peace in the Southern African country.

The most recent demobilisation and disarmament has been held in the eastern Sofala province. More than 250 men were demobilised and a base belonging to the militants dismantled.

To date, around 500 militants have been demobilized under the process that is a culmination of a historic peace deal RENAMO signed last year with the government of the ruling Front for the Liberation of
Mozambique (FRELIMO).

While this represents 10 percent of the total number of individuals to be disarmed and intergrated into the national armed forces, RENAMO leader, Ossufo Momade, is satisfied with progress made.

Momade penned the peace pact with FRELIMO counterpart and head of state, Filipe Nyusi, in August 2019.

The move was hailed across the globe.

“We note with satisfaction with the implementation of DDR. It is taking place at an encouraging pace,” Momade said.

“We expect that the demobilisation and reintegration of our fighters will continue speedily, in a decent and humanised way.”

Momade was speaking in the capital, Maputo.

There are concerns among some sections that the DDR ought to have progressed faster than the current pace.

It began exactly last year in the central Gorongosa area, a region seen as a stronghold of RENAMO militants.

There, some 50 ex-combatants laid their arms.

The process went on a lull for months and only resumed in June with the disarmament of some 38 militants in Sofala Province.

A global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has not spared Mozambique, is cited as an impediment.

A sect within RENAMO, opposed to the DDR, has also been an obstruction.

Momade has condemned their “unjustifiable and senseless war.”

“I urge them to see reason and join the DDR process,” the opposition leader said.

He summed up the anticipation in Mozambique around the DDR.

“It is an indispensable condition for the consolidation of democracy and peace in our country,” Momade said.

Francisca Tomas, the governor of the central Manica, also hailed the DDR and urged the general public to embrace the ex-militia.

“We urge you to forgive these brothers who voluntarily have joined this process,” Tomas told community leaders.

The governor said the ex-combatants’ embracing DDR indicated they were committed to the rebuilding of the country after years of sporadic conflict.

Speaking at the recent integration of former RENAMO combatants in the northern city of Pemba, Police General, Bernadino Rafael, urged the new recruits to be apolitical.

“… because we are a family,” Rafael said.

One of the new recruits and ex-combatant, Lindos José, pledged to fight prevalent crimes in Sofala.

These include domestic violence.

Independent since 1975, Mozambique has endured spates of conflict between the two liberation movements, FRELIMO and RENAMO. The worst conflict ended in 1992 with over 1 million people dead, also from subsequent hunger.

The conflicts have hampered the country’s growth despite its vast economic potential and abundant mineral resource.

– CAJ News

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