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  • on 29.11.2013
  • at 01:04 PM
  • by Kevin Hind

Moçambique: Why has Renamo gone back to the bush? 0

Mozambique has just undergone its fourth municipal elections. With the Resistência Nacional de Moçambique (RENAMO) reiterating its strategy of not participating and its leader Alfonso Dhlakama retreating to the bush, the 20 November election preliminary results have so far given enormous advantage to the ruling party – Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) – and shown a notable expansion of the Movimento Democrático de Moçambique (MDM) influence.

Out of the 52 local municipalities in the election FRELIMO is leading in 49. Apart from Beira under its control since 2008, MDM has so far confirmed its expansion to Quelimane and Gúruè and secured its presence in all municipal assemblies. Interestingly, the difference between FRELIMO and MDM votes in urban municipalities is negligible while MDM has secured the highest number of votes ever recorded. Due to anomalies in Nampula, the counting process for the municipal assembly has been cancelled. Elections for the mayoral elections are to resume on 1 December 2013. These results are yet to be confirmed by the National Electoral Commission (CNE).

The end of the cold war in the 1990’s paved the way for Mozambique to achieve peace and democracy after 16 years of brutal civil war between the FRELIMO government and the guerrilla movement (RENAMO). FRELIMO rules the country since independence from Portugal in 1975 and RENAMO was founded by the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to fight the Zimbabwean ZANU guerrilla operatives in Mozambique, and in 1976 started fighting against the new independent government. After Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 RENAMO was funded by the apartheid regime in South Africa to destabilise Mozambique because of its support of the African National Congress (ANC).

Mozambique’s civil war claimed over one million lives, resulted in nearly two million refugees and three million internally displaced persons (in a population of a little more than fifteen million). On October 4, 1992, after two years of failed attempts, both parties finally signed a General Peace Agreement in Rome under the auspices of the Catholic organisation Saint Egídio.

In 1994 the first national elections were held in which FRELIMO won 129 of the 250 parliamentary seats. RENAMO captured the majority of votes in Nampula, Zambézia, Tete, Manica and Sofala provinces and won 112 seats in parliament. The remaining 9 seats were occupied by União Democrática (UD) [1]. The concurrent presidential elections saw Joaquim Chissano (FRELIMO) elected President with 53,3% while Afonso Dhlakama (RENAMO) obtained 33,8% of the votes.

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