Former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza said that Mozambicans should hope that all clauses of the recently signed peace agreement between President Filipe Nyusi and the leader of the Renamo opposition party, Ossufo Momade, are complied with.
But Guebuza recalled that successive Mozambican governments signed successive peace agreements with Renamo, and “in some cases, definitive (peace agreements) but still the conflict raged on.”
“This is a moment in which we hope that peace is indeed definitive and that there’s no longer among Mozambicans the will to wield weapons to settle conflicts,” said Guebuza.
Guebuza was reacting to the “Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration – DDR” process in the country, marked by the dismantling of Renamo’s military bases which was agreed under a peace agreement signed by Nyusi and Momade in August 2019.
Contrary to the official euphoria and that of the parties involved (government, Renamo and the mediators), Renamo’s history of non-compliance has led to scepticism within the circles that observe and follow the process the Mozambican peace process.
This is because after the 1992 Rome Peace Accord and in successive understandings with the government – 1994 (Military Club between former President Joaquim Chissano and the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama); 2014 (Presidency of the Republic between Guebuza and Dlhakama); 2017 (Chitengo, Gorongosa National Park, Peace Square, Maputo between Ossufo Momade and Nyusi); 2023 (Vundúzi, Sofala, CICJC, Maputo between Nyusi and Momade) – Renamo has followed its pattern of non-compliance although its material (money) and political (political accommodation) demands have always been met with.
What might also be fuelling the scepticism was the handover of obsolete weapons (no uniforms are handed in) and the youthfulness of the personnel integrated into each process – it seems as if Renamo rejuvenates itself with each cycle of talks with the government.
Guebuza’s scepticism about another understanding with a defaulter by tendency like Renamo is to some extent expectable and understandable. Politicians, military experts and other observers share also Guebuza’s scepticism.
Historian Rafael Shikhani told Mozambique Insights that the Renamo strategy of keeping its military wing active (through the hiding weapons and continuing its recruitment drive), might be explained by two factors: the first being its assessment that it was never defeated militarily and the second being its belief that it can do harm to the country’s development, as seen by the 2013 crisis affecting the provinces of Manica and Sofala that lead to an agreement between Guebuza and Dlhakama in 2014.
“In the country’s pacification process, the slow integration of Renamo’s men into the Defence and Security Forces (FDS) should also be considered, which somehow makes Renamo distrust the intentions of successive Frelimo governments,” Shikhani said.
Which begs the question of why it would be different this time around.
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