Mozambique in crisis 20 days into elections

Guebuza and Dhlakama

Guebuza and Dhlakama

Beira, Mozambique – African union and SADC countries have been slow in responding to the escalating violence in Mozambique. The crisis ended the peace pact that was signed after the brutal 1975-1992 civil war between the ruling party Frelimo and the main opposition party Renamo.

The Renamo base, which has existed since the signing of the Rome General Peace Accord came under attack on Tuesday morning by government allied forces. The attack claimed the lives of 17 government soldiers and 58 civilians according to unconfirmed report from an eyewitness.

Mozambique’s Government controlled media claims only six members of government soldiers were injured during the Tuesday operation and are recuperating in Vunduzi.

The accords was signed on 4 October 1992 and was negotiated by the Community of Sant’Egidio with the support of the United Nations in Rome.

According to Renamo, a contingent of government soldiers commenced into the village of Maringue but Renamo forces were not on site after been tipped off. However Renamo was able to exchange fire with the soldiers. Renamo claims it has authority of its base in Maringue and refuted reports that the Mozambique government forces have taken control of the base as mere propaganda.

Renamo spokesman Fernando Mazanga accused the government that the assaults are aimed at killing and eliminating it’s main opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama.

The Renamo leader is currently in hiding at an undisclosed location.

Although the two leaders, Mozambique President Armando Emílio Guebuza and Renamo leader Mr Afonso Dhlakama have both called for a peacefully resolution, attacks have been escalating in the central region of Mozambique and so far peace seems to be getting elusive 20 days into elections.

The municipal election are scheduled for November 20 of this year and the presidential elections are scheduled for 2014. Renamo has so far refused to register for an upcoming local vote on November 20. The main contender is likely going to be the Democratic Movement of Mozambique led by Daviz Simango, who is the mayor of Beira which is the second largest city in the county.

During an exclusive interview with Agence France Presse, Mozambican president Guebuza reiterated his willingness to meet with Dhlakama, the leader of the main opposition party Renamo, insisting the country was not in a situation of instability. On his part the leader of Renamo insisted the path of weapons will not solve the conflict and called for peaceful dialogue.

The clashes are restricted in central areas with strong indications they might be spreading north of the country. These areas are viewed as opposition strongholds and if the conflicts continues into the election day, some specialist believe it will favor the ruling party Frelimo at the polls.

An accurate number of those affected so far by the conflict is still unknown due to the strict restrictions of media freedom in the country. However businesses have been at a standstill in the affected areas with reports of looting.

Also during the interview with Agence France Presse, president Guebuza denied claims that he was involved in the endemic corruption affecting the country even though all of his four children are involved in lucrative businesses, and his daughter Valentina is an especially influential entrepreneur.

“It is not correct… that I am using the resources of the state for my own benefit,” said Guebuza.

The United States has voiced its concern over the conflict which has been simmering since early this year but leaders of African union and SADC member countries have tip toed in the condemnation of the conflict.

Former Prime Minister and MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai stated the Mozambican conflict was an internal matter and Zimbabwe was in no capacity to launch another military intervention in its neighboring country to the east. There is growing concern that the conflict might impact economic interests of Zimbabwe and other neighboring countries.

By staff reporter