Mozambique Says Deal With Opposition Was Imposed by Mediators

  • Renamo wants to govern six provinces where it won elections
  • Opposition may not run all six regions, ruling party says

The Mozambican government’s delegation at peace talks with the main opposition party said it was forced by mediators to agree to a proposal that the ruling party cedes control in provinces where its rival had won elections.

The Mozambique National Resistance, or Renamo, has been fighting to govern six provinces where it garnered more support than the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, or Frelimo, in elections in 2014. The opposition party said Wednesday it had reached a deal with the government that will lead to constitutional changes allowing it to run its strongholds.

The government’s delegation signed an agreement to create the legal mechanisms necessary for appointing governors from the opposition to rule some regions, not to actually name any for the six disputed provinces, according to Jacinto Veloso, head of the ruling party’s delegation at the talks.

“There is no decision at all, ” Veloso told reporters in Maputo Wednesday night. “If anyone says that the government has agreed to appoint governors from Renamo for the six provinces this is wrong. It is not true.”

A November deadline to create the legal mechanisms for the changes was “unrealistic” and the government would only make a decision on appointments once parliament passes pertinent constitutional changes, he said.

“There could even be zero provinces or perhaps more if it’s in national interest,” Veloso said.

Frelimo has in the past used its majority status in parliament to shoot down Renamo’s demands for power in the six provinces in central and western Mozambique. The two parties 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.