President Nyusi reveals peace talks with Renamo nearing conclusion

The process of achieving an “effective peace” in Mozambique is nearing its conclusion, declared President Filipe Nyusi on 12 January. Speaking at a ceremony in Maputo with members of the police, President Nyusi warned that the current stage is still delicate and demands “special attention”, so that it produces results favourable to all Mozambicans.

The President revealed that earlier in the day he had been in telephone contact with Afonso Dhlakama, leader of the opposition party Renamo, to discuss “final adjustments” in the arrangements for “effective pacification’ of the country.

“When it’s a question of altering the law, we must pay attention because failure could mean suffering or more conflict”, President Nyusi added. “I’m not saying what is expected will be perfect, but we are almost in the conclusive phase”.

He called for calm, since putting the finishing touches on a job “always needs great delicacy” – just as, when constructing a building, the finishing is always more complicated than erecting the walls.

The country has been at peace for over a year now, since Dhlakama declared a ceasefire that took effect on 27 December 2016. The ceasefire has held and there have been no further Renamo ambushes on the roads, or clashes between Renamo and government forces.

However, Renamo still maintains an illicit militia, and hence the possibility of resuming its insurrection. Over the past year, two working groups set up between the government and Renamo, have been working in near complete secrecy drawing up proposals on decentralisation and military issues.

On decentralisation, there is agreement on the principle of electing the provincial governors – which will require a constitutional amendment, to be submitted to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, at its next sitting in February. Military questions are much more difficult, since Dhlakama is demanding senior positions in the armed forces (FADM) and police for officers in his militia.