Joe Hanlon National Elections 15-16

24 April 2014
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Renamo military presence accepted to permit 9 registration posts to open and Dhlakama to register

Nine registration posts are opening in Gorongosa district under the protection of the Renamo military, with no Mozambican police presence, the National Elections Commission confirmed at a press conference this morning (Thursday 24). This follows an agreement last night between Renamo and the government, which will also permit the registration of Renamo president Afonso Dhlakama and of Renamo soldiers.

This also confirms the very usual position of Renamo, which is the main opposition party in parliament and is participating in the electoral process, while having an armed force which controls part of a district and will only allow registration if there are no government police present.

The nine registration posts in Gorongosa district, Sofala, had never opened because of on-going fighting between Renamo and the government. CNE spokesman Paulo Cuinica this morning said members of the National Elections Commission (in pairs of Renamo and Frelimo) are today going to Sofala to go with the registration teams, and that they would not be accompanied by members of the Mozambican police (PRM).

The nine registration brigades will be in Casa Banana, Vunduzi, Nhataca, Chionde, Tsikiri, Mussikazi, Piro and Mukodza. Cuinica also confirmed that the brigades would not stay overnight in these places, but would return to more secure areas each night.

Cuinica also confirmed that Renamo had made a request to delay the end of registration, now scheduled for Tuesday 29 April. Renamo alleges that there are regions where registration started late because of rains and others where there were constant breakdowns of equipment including generators and computers. Cuinca said that CNE and STAE had reinforced the capacity of brigades in problem locations and thus there was no need to an extension, but the request is being considered by the CNE. Any delay of more than a few days would create serious problems, because registration data is needed for subsequent processes, including party selection of candidates.

With just 6 days to go, registration under 78%

CNE announced this morning that 6,424,570 voters have been registered this year in Mozambique, 70.3% of the 9,143,923 unregistered voting age adults. Registration ends on Tuesday 29 April.

To this must be added the 3,059,804 voters registered last year for 2013 local elections, who need not register again. Thus total registration is 9,484,374, which is 77,7% of the estimated 12,203,727 people who will be over 18 years old on voting day, 15 October.

For the 2009 election, registration was over 90%.

AllAfrica: Government Rejects „Parity“ With Renamo in Army

Maputo — The Mozambican government on Wednesday reiterated that it will not grant the demand by the former rebel movement Renamo for “parity” in the armed forces and the police as a condition for disarming and demobilising the remaining units of Renamo gunmen.

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Deutsche Welle: Dhlakama ainda não se recenseou devido a dispersão de postos, diz porta-voz

17.4.14 RENAMO critica „dispersão propositada“ de postos de recenseamento. A cerca de duas semanas do final do processo de registo, o líder e possível candidato presidencial do partido, Afonso Dhlakama, ainda não se inscreveu.

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Deutsche Welle: Armando Guebuza insiste em fazer propaganda política ilegal

10.4.14 Presidente de Moçambique faz ouvidos de mercador às críticas da sociedade civil e da oposição. Guebuza continua a apresentar o candidato da FRELIMO às presidenciais à custa do dinheiro público na sua presidência aberta.

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AllAfrica: Renamo Will Hand Over Weapons, but Not Demilitarise

Maputo — Mozambique’s former rebel movement Renamo has agreed to hand over its weapons to the government, and for its men to join the defence and security forces, but it still refuses to demilitarise and become a normal political party, according to Transport Minister Gabriel Muthisse, the deputy head of the government delegation to the long running dialogue between the government and Renamo.

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Joe Hanlon 251: Talks deadlocked

15 April 2014
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Editor: Joseph Hanlon ( j.hanlon@open.ac.uk)
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Talks deadlocked again as Renamo demands „parity“ of police and army commanders

The 53rd round of talks Monday ended in deadlock, after Renamo said it would disarm only if all senior levels of the military and police had equal numbers of Frelimo and Renamo officers. The head of the Renamo negotiating team, Saimone Macuiane MP, said that the senior leadership of the army are all from the old People’s Liberation Army (Forcas Populares de Libertacao de Mocambique, FLPM) of more than 20 years ago, which was the army that fought Renamo, and that it was time to have equal number of Renamo officers. Renamo officers integrated into the army after the peace accord were turned in „advisors“, retired, or marginalised, leaving only the old FPLM in charge. And this must be reversed. „We don’t want our soldiers to just be cooks and ‚advisors‘ to Frelimo; we want them to be real military men in the army,“ Macuiane added.

Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, the head of the government negotiating team, dismissed the demand as an „aberration.“  (AIM 14 April) Noticias this morning (15 April) reports that Renamo demands that the head of the general staff (Chefe do Estado-Maior) of the army and commander of the police be named by Renamo, and only their deputies named by the government.

Although the two sides have agreed that there should be international monitors, there is no agreement on their role. The government says they should monitor the cease fire and the disarmament and demobilisation of Renamo fighters. Renamo wants them to monitor the entire reorganisation of the military and police.

The next round of talks is tomorrow, Wednesday. Meanwhile, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama must register to vote in the next two weeks if he expects to stand for President.

Joe Hanlon 250: Renamo can keep army

4 April 2014
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Renamo allowed to keep an army until after elections plus new attack in Tete
Demobilisation will be spread over 135 days and this can be extended, Renamo and the government agreed at talks on Friday. With no agreement yet on demobilisation, this ensures that Renamo will still have an armed military force after the 15 October presidential and parliamentary elections.

But as talks continue, the small war also continues. There was a Renamo attack on a police car in Tete on 2 April. (see below)

Renamo had wanted 180 days with possible extension, while government had pushed for a single 90 day period. It was agreed that observers would be asked to be in Mozambique 10 days after discussions end, but there is no date for that. The observer team will have 70 national and 23 international observers from Botswana (chair), Zimbabwe, South Africa, Cape Verde, Kenya, Italy, Portugal, Britain and the United States.

The head of the Renamo delegation, Saimone Macuiana, told reporters that „no agreement has been reached about the function and tasks of the observers. In our understanding, the observers, in addition to supervising and observing the ceasefire, also have the task of verifying and accompanying the implementation of the decisions we may take on the dialogue agenda point concerning the defence and security forces”. He made it clear that Renamo has no intention of starting to disarm. “Now we are solving the question concerning the ceasefire, and not disarmament”, he said. “We are dealing with a prior question to do with a ceasefire, and this does not annul point two on the agenda, which is on defence and security”. 
(AIM 5 April)

Other small war news

A group of Renamo guerrillas has been active in Tsangano, Tete since late March, particularly in the area of Moniqujeira, according to district administrator Ana Beressone. They have burned houses and stolen property, she said. On 2 April they attacked a police vehicle. One attacker was killed and two police people injured. (Noticias 5 April)  Unay Cambuma on his Facebook page, reprinted by Macua.blogs, claims there was a military confrontations between Renamo guerrillas and the army on Friday 4 April. Both reports are unconfirmed by other sources. Tsangano is a district on the Malawi border south of Angonia and north of Moatize districts. There have been reports since the start of the year about an armed Renamo group near Nkondedzi, Moatize district and Noticias reported that 2000 people had fled over the border to Malawi. (Noticias 26 February; News Reports & Clippings 239, 240)

Human Right League Head Alice Mabota says armed guerrillas represent her and have a right to armed action. Speaking on Thursday 3 April and quoted by @Verdade, she said the armed confrontation is the result of intransigence by the government. „Those who are in the bush … represent the anxiety of all persons who are not at war. They represent ‚my‘ interest, I would like to be included, I would like to pursue my political freely and am forbidden.“ Mabota is president of the Liga Mocambicana dos Direitos Humanos (LDH), and she continued: „There is political and economic exclusion in this country. Excluded people are not cattle or chickens; they know what they have to do.“ http://www.verdade.co.mz/destaques/democracia/45297

Renamo denies that it was responsible for the attack on the Vale coal train last week. And there is no confirmation of the CanalMoz claim of an attack on a second CFM train.

Four more civil society people have been named to the CNE, the National Elections Commission. The civil society representatives are chosen by parliament, and the choice was therefor political – one Frelimo, one MDM, and two Renamo. The new members are:
Jeremias Timana, general secretary of the National Confederation of Free and Independent Unions (CONSILMO), who sat on the CNE which organized the 2008 municipal and 2009 general elections. Supported by Frelimo.
Jose Belmiro, a prominent journalist working for the independent television station, STV, supported by the MDM.
Apolinario Joao, proposed by the Youth Association for Community and Development (a previously unknown NGO), supported by Renamo.
Salomao Moyana, one of the country’s best known journalists and is now director of Magazine Independent, supported by Renamo.
All MPs voted for Timana, but around 70 did not vote for the others. AIM says „These were clearly ballots cast by Frelimo deputies who could not stomach the thought of voting for people effectively nominated by Renamo. This was a silent revolt against the string of concessions which Frelimo and the government have been making to Renamo since the beginning of the year.“ (AIM 4 April)

Will Afonso Dhlakama register to vote by the end of the month? He must do so in order to stand for election as Renamo candidate for President. He has not appeared in public since the attack on Satunjira on 21 October last year.