After another fruitless round of dialogue between the Mozambican government and the former rebel movement Renamo on Monday, the country is no nearer to disarming and demobilising the Renamo militia.The head of the government delegation to the talks, Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, played down the deadlock, telling reporters that there were merely “problems of interpretation” of how to integrate the “residual forces” of Renamo into the armed forces (FADM) and police.He insisted that integration depends on Renamo delivering a list of names of all its fighters it wishes to include in the defence and security forces, with an indication of their current ranks.Renamo is refusing to hand over such a list. Instead the head of the Renamo delegation, Saimone Macuiana, revived a demand for a shareout of the top positions in the FADM and police – a demand which the government believed had been dropped months ago, and which does not feature anywhere in the agreement on cessation of hostilities, agreed between the two sides in August, and signed by President Armando Guebuza and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama on 5 September.Macuiana told journalists that Renamo wants a division of top responsibilities. “That means that when the commander comes from the government, his deputy should come from Renamo and vice versa”, he said. “The same is true for the police”.In two para-military police units, the riot police (FIR) and the Frontier Guard, Renamo is demanding a 50-50 shareout of the entire force. Pacheco, however, said that during the meeting (which was the 85th round in the dialogue) the two sides analysed the work undertaken by their military experts during the week. He claimed there had been “advances in seeking ways to comfort Renamo”, and that the work “is proceeding at a good pace”.The meeting also analysed a document presented by the international military observers on their rights and duties. This envisages situations of conflict and emergency which might involve the foreign observers.The observer mission, known by the acronym EMOHCM is supposed to monitor the agreement on cessation of hostilities and the subsequent steps, including the disarming of the Renamo militia. EMOHCM consists of 93 officers – 23 foreign observers, and 70 Mozambicans, half appointed by the government and half by Renamo. The mission has its headquarters in Maputo, and delegations in Sofala, Tete, Nampula and Inhambane provinces. So far, with Renamo refusing to deliver the list of members of its militia, there is little for the observers to observe.Pacheco also gave details about the allowance which the government is paying the Renamo delegation. The allowance is 3,000 meticais (just short of 100 dollars) per Renamo member per dialogue session. By way of comparison, the statutory minimum wage ranges from 2,500 meticais a month for agricultural workers, to 6,817 meticais a month for workers in financial services.According to Pacheco, the total cost of the allowance, paid since the signing of the agreement on cessation of hostilities is 90,000 meticais a month. He said that Renamo had imposed these payments, hinting they would attend no further meetings unless they received an allowance. Pacheco said Renamo wants to extend the payment to the Mozambican observers attending the dialogue sessions. The members of the government delegation receive no allowance, he added, since the meetings are regarded as part of their normal jobs. Renamo, however, denied that the allowance is being paid, and Macuiana demanded that Pacheco provide evidence.
Renamo also accused the government of violating the cessation of hostilities through the visit which Deputy Interior Minister Jose Mandra made last week to the former Renamo military headquarters at Satunjira, in the central district of Gorongosa.The FADM occupied Satunjira on 21 October 2013, and since that date military and police units have been permanently stationed there. Mandra visited the former Renamo base, including the house where Dhlakama had once lived, and guaranteed that the troops stationed here will “remain ready to defend territorial integrity”.Although not a shot was fired, Macuiana claimed this was a violation of the spirit of the agreement. He said Mandra should not have visited Satunjira without the participation of joint supervisory teams from the government and Renamo.Pacheco replied that there was no violation. This was a normal visit by a high ranking state leader, he said. The Deputy Interior Minister had the right and the duty to visit places where police units were stationed. A reading of the agreement on cessation of hostilities shows that it places no limits on which parts of the country members of the government, or of Renamo, may visit.