Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s former rebel movement, Renamo, declared on Monday that he no longer wishes to be escorted by the police as he travels around the north and centre of the country, reports the independent television station STV. Dhlakama was irritated when his police escort left while he was addressing a rally in Chifunde district, in the western province of Tete, last week. He accused the police of “abandoning” him, and henceforth he could do without them. “I don’t need them any more”, Dhlakama said. “Let (President Filipe) Nyusi keep his police, and his armed forces”. From now on, he would rely for protection exclusively on Renamo’s own illegal militia. “I have my men. They are the strongest in Mozambique”, he declared. The spokesperson for the General Command of the police, Pedro Cossa, said the police had left Dhlakama in Chifunde, because of “operational problems”, and this was not the first time the Renamo leader had been left without a police escort. As for Dhlakama’s declaration that he was dispensing with police escorts altogether, Cossa shrugged this off. As a political leader, he said, Dhlakama “can take whatever decision he thinks best”. Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, who heads the government delegation in the long running dialogue between the government and Renamo, told STV that Renamo had raised the question of Dhlakama’s police escort as a “prior issue” at Monday’s dialogue session. Since Pacheco knew nothing about the matter, all that he could tell the Renamo delegation was that he would raise it with the police. Nonetheless, he thought it strange that Renao should complain about the absence of the police, when Dhlakama had already made his contempt for the police public knowledge, and had boasted, well before this incident “that he has men who are capable of guaranteeing his protection”. Dhlakama also attacked Nyusi’s appointment of the mayor of Beira, and leader of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement(MDM), Daviz Simango, a member of the Council of State, a body that advises the President, and urged Simango not to accept the position. Dhlakama claimed that Nyusi should not have appointed someone who had run against him in last October’s presidential elections. But under the Constitution, Nyusi can appoint any four people he chooses to the Council, as long as they are of “recognized merit”. Dhlakama added that Simango should not accept because the MDM, like Renamo, regarded last year’s elections as fraudulent. However, the MDM has made it repeatedly clear that it jas no intention of indulging in the politics of boycotting state institutions.Dhlakama himself is automatically a member of the Council of State, since a place is reserved for the runner-up in the presidential elections. Ever since the Council was set up, Dhlakama has been a member, but he has never attended any meetings.

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