Mozambique Agrees to Provincial Devolution, Renamo Says

Updated on
  • Opposition party won six provinces in elections held in 2014
  • Country facing debt crisis and rising political tension

Mozambique’s government has agreed to make constitutional changes that will allow the main opposition party to govern in six provinces where it won more votes than the ruling party in elections in 2014, a Renamo spokesman said.

The Mozambique National Resistance, or Renamo, has been battling to win concessions on provincial devolution in central and northern regions. The ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, or Frelimo, has used its majority to defeat the proposals.

“There must be found legal mechanisms for the provisional appointment of governors of provinces coming from Renamo as soon possible,” Renamo spokesman Jose Manteigas told reporters in the capital, Maputo, reading from a statement signed by members of both parties. “The preparation of the package has to be completed before the end of November 2016.”

President Filipe Nyusi would “use his discretionary power to nominate some governors from Renamo,” said Edmundo Galiza Matos Jr, a Frelimo member of parliament and part of the government’s delegation in the talks with Renamo.

Considered a success story since a 16-year war ended in 1992 and the discovery of one of the world’s biggest gas fields, Mozambique is now struggling with a debt crisis and rising political tensions.

Frelimo and Renamo have been holding start-stop talks aimed at ending a conflict that resumed in 2013 and killed hundreds of people in the southern African nation. The violence has threatened transport links for mining companies in the coal-producing nation and slowed down trucks headed to neighboring countries hauling merchandise that’s imported through Mozambican ports.

(Updates with government’s spokesman comment in fourth paragraph.)
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