Last week, Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi met with the main opposition leader, Ossufo Momade, to discuss the issue of holding district election in 2024, and the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programme.
The holding of district elections was agreed between President Filipe Nyusi and the late Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, which resulted in a constitutional amendment to accommodate the will of the two leaders in 2019.
Sponsored by the international community, the DDR programme is the cornerstone of the Maputo Definitive Agreement signed in August 2018 geared towards the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration of former Renamo fighters into the police and armed forces, and create conditions for the former combatants to return home. Key to this was the closing of all Renamo bases,
The two leaders were accompanied by their advisors, namely Col. Manuel Mazuze and Saimon Macuiane, for government and Renamo, respectively.
After the meeting, Nyusi and Momade gave the press two different views on the two issues: Nyusi was economical on the issue of the DDR. As for the DDR, he said that “Mozambicans will find solutions for the broadening of Mozambican democracy”.
Momade focused on the DDR and tried to dodge the issue of district elections, saying that “it’s an issue discussed with the late Renamo President Afonso Dhlakama”, lamenting that he had been blindsided by Frelimo’s posture with regards to the said elections, hoping that they would still go on in 2024.
This would suggest that Renamo seems to have come to the realisation that it has lost the battle to force the ruling Frelimo party to hold district elections in 2024.
Fast forward to 2023, Frelimo has all but made it clear that such elections should be postponed. President Nyusi suggested postponing the election of district assemblies, and, in February, the Frelimo parliamentary group blocked efforts by Renamo to debate two draft bills on district elections.
Ossufo added that ‘’right now, we’ve no response to give with regards to the district elections’’, adding that ‘’we’ll discuss in order to find a solution because we would like the district elections to be held in 2024’’.
Politically, it would seem this was a dialogue of the deaf with each party saying what mattered for its constituency: Renamo wants compensations for its former fighters and the holding of district elections, while Frelimo wants Renamo’s approval to forestall district elections in exchange for continuing to pay for the DDR.
Unfortunately for Renamo, Frelimo holds more than two-thirds of the votes in parliament to enable it to amend the constitution without Renamo.
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