Hermínio José - Maputo, Mozambique and Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.
In an interview with Vatican News, a representative of the Sant’Egidio Community in Mozambique, Fr. Giorgio Ferreti, said that 29 years of peace is a great gift for Mozambique and Mozambicans. However, Father Ferreti warned that Mozambicans must continue to build consensus and strive for national reconciliation.
Community of Sant’Egidio and the peace accords
On 4 October 1992, Mozambique’s ruling party, the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), and the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) signed the peace treaty in Rome that ended the country’s civil war that broke out immediately after independence from Portugal in 1975. The peace agreement was reached thanks to the mediation of Italy’s-based Community of Sant’Egidio; then Archbishop of Beira, Jaime Pedro Gonçalves Jaime Gonçalves and the representative of the Italian government, Mario Raffaelli. There were also others whose efforts were significant and led to the truce.
Signs of hope in Cabo Delgado
Today Mozambique is still struggling with the full implementation of the Rome accords and the jihadist violence in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Fortunately, the security situation in Cabo Delgado has recently significantly improved. Rwandan forces have helped secure much of northern Mozambique, destroyed by a brutal Islamist insurgency since 2017.
As some Mozambicans began returning to their destroyed and burnt homes in Cabo Delgado’s troubled Province, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc, this week, also extended the deployment of a standby force to Mozambique.
Pope Francis visited Mozambique to encourage peace
Peace in Mozambique has been close to Pope Francis’ heart. In September 2019, the Holy Father visited the country’s capital to encourage Mozambicans to stay the course of peace. Speaking at a Mass to wrap up his Apostolic visit to the country, Pope Francis told Mozambicans at an open-air Mass held at Maputo’s Zimpeto Stadium to forego conflicts and embrace a future marked by reconciliation. The Pope said it was not possible to build a nation or a future based on violence.
A daily commitment to treat everyone with mercy and goodness
“Overcoming times of division and violence calls not only for an act of reconciliation or peace, in the sense of an absence of conflict. It also calls for daily commitment on the part of everyone to an attentive and active concern that makes us treat others with the same mercy and goodness with which we ourselves want to be treated. An attitude of mercy and goodness above all towards those who, by their place in society, quickly encounter rejection and exclusion,” Pope Francis told Mozambicans.