(2015-12-10) Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s largest opposition party Renamo, has broken his two-month silence to say that he will re-enter pubic life after Christmas and take power in the centre and north of the country.
The president of Renamo spoke by phone during a meeting of his party’s Youth League in Maputo on November 30, and his intervention was recorded and re-broadcast in the Mozambican press and on social networks.
“We will not make war, I promise. We will go through the Christmas festivities nicely, and then we will take office,” said Dhlakama, referring to his party’s intention to govern in the central and northern regions of the country where it claims electoral victory, under a model of provincial authorities already rejected by the Frelimo (Mozambique Liberation Front) majority in parliament.
Dhlakama has said he will proceed nonetheless, and that his party will be sworn in in the six provinces it has been claiming, righting what it insists was fraud in the general elections of October 2014, officially won by Frelimo.
“If necessary we will take Maputo too,” he threatened, referring to the capital of the country, out of the list of territories that the party aims to govern.
Yesterday was the first time the Renamo leader has been heard from since defence and security forces surrounded his Beira residence on October 9 and seized weapons from his personal guard.
In his message to the Renamo Youth League meeting, the opposition leader justified his long silence and said that “the danger has passed”.
“I’m preparing myself to force the fall of the government of Frelimo, once and for all,” Dhlakama said, again appealing for the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which in 1992 sealed the end of the civil war in Mozambique, to be respected. “If the Rome agreement has expired,” he said, “democracy has expired.”
Insisting that he does not want war, the leader of the largest opposition party said that Renamo will take power in the central and northern provinces “without bloodshed”, but advised the authorities not to resist or “they will get a beating” (vão receber porrada), adding that, if they put tanks on the streets, “Renamo will destroy everything”.
There is no official information on Dhlakama’s whereabouts but the party insists their leader is “in very good health and is working for the enrichment of democracy in the country”.
Meanwhile, the Renamo leader’s office told Lusa that a Dhlakama’s press conference is being prepared, but this would not be the first time such a move has been announced without anything actually hapenning.
The police operation in Beira came a day after the opposition leader reappeared in the mountains of Gorongosa, after two weeks at large following incidents in the province of Manica involving his convoy in Chibata (September 12) and Zimpinga (September 25).
After the Beira siege, the defence and security forces launched an operation of compulsory collection of Renamo weapons which ended in clashes in some regions, but which was later suspended on the orders of President Filipe Nyusi to make room for dialogue.
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