Mozambique commits to work for peace

President Filipe Nyusi joined thousands of mourners who flocked to Beira to pay their respects to Dhlakama

Mozambique's president set political differences aside to pay tribute to his archrival Afonso Dhlakama and pledged to continue the fragile peace talks he had been holding with the former rebel supremo-turned-opposition politician.

Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. File picture
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama. File picture
Image: Reuters

President Filipe Nyusi joined thousands of mourners who flocked to Beira yesterday to pay their respects to Dhlakama, who died last week.

“We’re here to pay homage to the man who I’ve been talking to in recent days in search of lasting peace,” Nyusi said at a memorial service for Dhlakama.

“I will continue the walk we started together for peace. I’m available to do this,” said Nyusi, urging cooperation from the new Renamo leadership.

“We can’t have democracy without a strong opposition.”

Ossufo Momade, Renamo’s interim leader until the next party congress – whose date has not yet been fixed – vowed to carry the baton from Dhlakama.
“We will continue your struggle. You, father, taught us how to sacrifice ourselves to fight for the country,” Momade said.

“You did everything for this country. Now is our time to take forward your struggle,” he said.

Dhlakama led Renamo for nearly 40 years before his unexpected death at the age of 65. He played a central role in Mozambique after it gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

Dhlakama led Renamo, created in 1976, through a deadly civil war against the Marxist Frelimo government until the conflict ended in 1992.

He then gradually transformed Renamo into an opposition party, which failed to take power from Frelimo in elections and again took up arms between 2013 and 2016.

In December 2016, Dhlakama announced a surprise truce.

He will be buried today in his home village of Mangunde, southwest of Beira.