Mozambique Celebrates 23 years of Peace without peace

On Sunday, 4th October 2015, Mozambicans are expected to celebrate the signing of the Peace Accord twenty three years ago. Instead they will be "celebrating" the start of a new round of hostilities between government forces and Renamo opposition fighters.

Today, 2 October, the first combats erupted at dawn in the Zipingaumwe region, district of Gondola, Manica. The rural communities in the area have taken refuge in the Gondola village. Fighting continued throughout the day, abating only at sunset.

Renamo spokesperson António Muchanga announced at a press conference that government forces had attacked and demolished several compounds around the Renamo controlled area of Chitaka, Mupindonhanga - Gondola. He claims that, following these demolitions, Renamo had attacked the government forces in defence of the local population. He appealed for peace and a return to the negotiation table.

The Mozambique government has yet to comment on the situation. Mozambican civil society fears that if the current hostilities in Manica province escalate, a spill over to the urban centres is likely to occur in the northern cities.

Political commentators in Mozambique speculate that the Frelimo government has opted for a military solution to the general opposition problem that it faces and is unlikely to engage in meaningful talks with Renamo.

A return to war is now a distinct possibility.