No advance in government/Renamo talks

Maputo (AIM) – Negotiations between the Mozambican government and the rebel movement Renamo will be suspended on Saturday, and will only resume on 7 November, the coordinator of the international mediating team, the Italian Mario Raffaelli told reporters on Tuesday.

Source: No advance in government/Renamo talks – The Zimbabwean 27.10.2016

“This round will finish on Friday, and then we shall issue a press release”, promised Raffaelli. But he declined to reveal anything about what had been discussed on Tuesday.

The current round began on 18 October, but during this period the Joint Commission set up between the government and Renamo has not met. Instead, the mediators have held separate discussions with each of the two delegations.

Because of this, Raffaelli said, the mediators could not speak to the media about the content of these meetings. He said the government and Renamo delegation and the mediators had all agreed to this vow of silence.

The Joint Commission was set up to prepare a meeting between President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. But there is still no date for any such meeting, and in a recent interview Dhlakama categorically ruled out a meeting with Nyusi before there is full agreement on everything under discussion at the Joint Commission.

So far nothing has been agreed. Renamo has repeated its demand to govern the six central and northern provinces where it claims to have won the 2014 general elections. It has rejected all calls for a cessation of hostilities or ceasefire, and Renamo gangs are continuing to mount ambushes on roads, mostly in the central provinces, and to attack health posts and police stations. There is no sign that the Renamo leadership has any intention of disarming and demobilizing its illicit militia.

Raffaelli categorically denied a story circulating in social media, according to which a group of the mediators went to Sofala province in an attempt to meet Dhlakama at his base in Gorongosa district, but came under attack, supposedly from government forces, and were obliged to return to Maputo.

Raffaelli made it clear that this was entirely fictional. He described it as a rumour spread by people perhaps opposed to achieving peace. The source for the story appears to be a notorious disinformation artist who calls himself “Unay Cambuma”. Although he portrays himself as a militant supporter of Renamo, Renamo itself has disowned him.

Although the story of the mediators’ aborted trip to Gorongosa is entirely untrue, it is the front page story in the latest issue of the anti-government weekly “Canal de Mocambique”, and was cited as if fact by a Renamo deputy, Alfredo Magumisse, in Wednesday’s sitting of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.