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Catholic Bishop officiates at the memorial service of Dhlakama in Beira, capital of the Province of Sofala. Catholic Bishop officiates at the memorial service of Dhlakama in Beira, capital of the Province of Sofala.  (AFP or licensors)

Church in Mozambique says the search for lasting peace must continue

The Catholic Church in Mozambique has urged politicians not to give up on political dialogue as the country continues its search for an effective and lasting peace settlement.

Paul Samasumo – Vatican City

Bishop João Carlos wants the country to build upon gains made so far

 

The Church’s affirmation is contained in a report filed by Vatican News’ Maputo-based correspondent, Hermínio José who quotes the Bishop of Chimoio Diocese, João Carlos Hatoa Nunes, the spokesperson of Conferência Episcopal de Moçambique (CEM). 

According to Bishop João Carlos, the Catholic Church in Mozambique will remain engaged and involved with the political dialogue to ensure that political actors deliver on their promises for peace. He said though the dialogue has experienced moments of progress and setbacks, the Church welcomes and wants gains made so far, in discussions, between the President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi and the recently deceased Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama to be cemented.

Death of Dhlakama should not derail peace talks

Mozambicans and the international community have been wondering what bearing the demise of Afonso Dhlakama would have on the nations’ peace process. Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s main opposition party and the former rebel group, the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) died on 3 May, of a heart attack. He was 65 years old.

Some agreement was reached between President Nyusi and Dhlakama over the appointment of governorships in provinces; decentralisation of power and the integration of Renamo fighters into the regular Mozambican army. What is not clear, however, is to what extent agreements reached and if the implementation can proceed without further negotiation. 

Both Frelimo and Renamo have their share of hardliners. Some in Frelimo do not like the idea of decentralisation while some in Renamo fear complete demobilisation. After 39 years as leader of Renamo, Dhlakama did not groom any heir apparent. In the meantime, Renamo has chosen Ossufo Momade, as its interim leader until a party congress anoints a new leader.

Invoking the 1992 Rome Accord

Mozambican academic, Brazão Mazula, has also weighed in saying that the goodwill and spirit of the Rome talks which led to the signing of the General Peace Agreement needs to be cultivated by the rivals. He says politicians on both sides need to regain each other’s confidence and trust.  The General Peace Accord, in 1992, put an end to Mozambique’s bitter Civil War between Frelimo (government) and Renamo.

Mozambicans long for a lasting peace settlement

Mozambicans who have lived with insecurity and uncertainty since independence in 1975 will be watching with bated breath to see if their leaders make good on talks. President Nyusi, speaking at Dhlakama’s burial, expressed his government’s commitment to peace and a lasting settlement.

16 May 2018, 14:27