Moz agreement envisages disarmament, but gives no details

via Moz agreement envisages disarmament, but gives no details | The Zimbabwean 18 August 2014

The Memorandum of Understanding reached between the Mozambican government and the former rebel movement Renamo envisages the integration of what it calls the “residual forces of Renamo” into the army and the police, and the collection of all their weapons, but gives no details.

The Memorandum, much of which is published in the latest issue of the independent weekly “Savana”, declares that the defence and security forces “shall be republican, that is non-party, serving the Republic of Mozambique with professionalism, respecting the constitutional order based on the rule of law, democracy and social justice”.

No political party or other political force “shall use the defence and security forces, unless requested in terms of the law”. The defence and security forces “owe fidelity to the Constitution of the Republic”.

All of this simply repeats what is already in the Mozambican Constitution, although Renamo would claim that the government has not respected constitutional principles.

The memorandum calls for a spirit of reconciliation “which consists of the immediate cessation of all expressions of hostility, particularly military ones, and including in the mass media”.

The mention of the media sounds like a call for censorship, which would be a violation both of the Constitution and of the 1991 press law.

The more operational parts of the memorandum state that, once military hostilities are over, no-one from either side may be brought before the courts for actions that took place during the hostilities.

The two sides agreed that an amnesty law must be passed – and this clause in the memorandum has already been implemented. The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, passed an amnesty bill last Tuesday, and President Armando Guebuza promulgated it on Wednesday.

As for Renamo’s “residual forces”, their fate depends on the teams of government and Renamo military experts who must present a document to a plenary session of the government-Renamo dialogue concerning all the questions of integrating these Renamo fighters into the armed forces and the police.

Once these “residual forces” have been “integrated”, all their military equipment will be handed over to the defence and security forces. The memorandum declares that when these procedures are completed, “no political party should have residual armed forces”.

This “integration” and disarmament of Renamo is to be accompanied and monitored by the international observers, to be known by the acronym EMOCHM (International Observer Military Team for the Cessation of Military Hostilities). As agreed many months ago, the countries invited to send observers are Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Cape Verde, Portugal, Italy, Britain and the United States

The Terms of Reference for EMOCHM, also published by “Savana” state that there will be 23 foreign military observers, accompanied by 70 Mozambican officers, half from the government and half from Renamo. Their task will be “to observe, monitor and guarantee implementation of the cessation of military hostilities and the start of the subsequent phases, in the terms envisaged in the Memorandum of Understanding”.

EMOCHM will begin its work ten days after it has been formed – but there is not yet any firm date for the formation of the mission. It will work for 135 days, but this period may be extended. This means that the two sides fully expect the work of the observers to last well beyond the general elections scheduled for 15 October.

The EMOCM Central Command will be based in Maputo, under a brigadier from Botswana, assisted by four colonels, a Zimbabwean, an Italian and two Mozambicans (one appointed by the government and one by Renamo).

The will be EMOCHM sub-teams in four provinces – Inhambane in the south, Sofala and Tete in the centre, and Nampula in northern Mozambique.

A third document published by “Savana” concerns the “Guarantee Mechanisms”, under which the government and Renamo promise “to dedicate all their energies to complying with and respecting the content of the present understandings”.

They pledge “not to make a different interpretation of the consensualised text”, but if differences arise the parties shall meet to hammer out a joint understanding. The two sides also promise not to make any new demands “which distort the line and meaning of the current understandings”.

The guarantees also warn that any act after the amnesty which violates the agreed principles “shall be dealt with and punished under the applicable legislation”.

The clauses on the “integration” and disarmament of the Renamo residual forces mention no numbers. There is nothing said about how many men Renamo has under arms, how many of them might join the army and police and how many will be demobilised.

Although the three documents were agreed last Monday, they have not yet been confirmed by the top leaderships of the two sides. The government has repeatedly insisted that Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama should come to Maputo for a formal signing ceremony with President Armando Guebuza

But Dhlakama is refusing to leave the Renamo base somewhere in the Gorongosa mountain range, in Sofala province, where he has been living for more than nine months. The reason he gave, in a telephone interview with “Savana”, for not coming to Maputo was fear that he might be assassinated.

But until Guebuza’s and Dhlakama’s signatures are appended, the agreements are unlikely to take effect.