News / Africa

Mozambique Leaders Set to Ratify Peace Deal

FILE - Afonso Dhlakama gives a press conference, Gorongosa mountains, Mozambique, April 10, 2013.
FILE - Afonso Dhlakama gives a press conference, Gorongosa mountains, Mozambique, April 10, 2013.
Anita Powell

After two years in hiding, Mozambique opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama arrived in Maputo on Thursday to "ratify a pact between his Renamo party and the government ending hostilities ahead of an Oct. 15 election," according to reports by Reuters.

If ratified, the peace deal between the government of President Armando Guebuza and its longtime opposition Renamo party, also known as the Mozambique National Resistance Army, could finally clear a major political obstacle in the southern African nation.

Guebuza and Dhlakama are set to meet on Friday in to cement the arrangement that would allow Renamo followers to come out of hiding and participate in politics.

Although Guebuza's longtime ruling Frelimo party, Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, is predicted to maintain the presidency, University of South Africa analyst Shadrack Gutto says the prospective deal has major implications. 

“It is important that they are meeting now for the first time after those two years ... because Mozambique does not need another war or conflict," said Gutto, referring to a 17-year civil war between Frelimo and Renamo forces that ended with a 1992 peace agreement, which fell apart after government forces attacked a Renamo base in October 2013, forcing Dhlakama into hiding.

"They need to really focus on participating in elections and let the people decide.”

Renamo has long expressed frustration at being considered an opposition party in the coastal African nation, which discovered massive deposits of natural gas in the last 10 years. The country has "plans to open a liquefied natural gas terminal in 2018 that will be the second-largest export site in the world after Ras Laffan in Qatar," according to Bloomberg News.

Once the deal is ratified, upcoming elections could give Renamo a much-needed chance to win parliamentary seats, giving it more say over the country’s economic future. The former anti-communist rebel group has claimed Frelimo rigged elections and marginalized the opposition.

Dhlakama has run on the Renamo ticket unsuccessfully in every presidential poll since 1994. President Guebuza is constitutionally barred from running again after serving two terms.

Analyst Dimpho Motsamai of the Pretoria-based Institute of Security Studies says the timing of the agreement is key.

“The point is really to create a conducive environment for peaceful elections by giving Renamo some kind of assurance that [its] demands, which are longstanding, are going to be respected," she said. "It is a strategy to prevent them from disturbing the elections as well. It is also a strategy to try to establish some kind of fraternity in the political environment of the country, which is hardly the case, because you never knew when Renamo would come out of the bush and disrupt political balances or everyday life."

Since its brutal civil war concluded in 1992, Mozambique wrote a constitution and held several elections, becoming a well-known tourist haven that is now poised to reap the economic gains of massive natural gas repositories.

But Motsamai warns a peace deal alone does no guarantee long-term stability.

“Politicians can blame the agreement for their election loss, and on that basis cause post-electoral violence, but that is not the scenario that they would like to see," she said. "Or they could just accept the outcome of elections and they have a reduced majority, and they can use the agreement as the bargaining tool to get more positions and a slice of the economic pie from government.”

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs