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 VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid