Editorials 5.5.2017 06:01 am

Beginning of the end of war in Mozambique

Afonso Dhlakama during a press conference on October 18, 2014 in Maputo, Mozambique. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave

Afonso Dhlakama during a press conference on October 18, 2014 in Maputo, Mozambique. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave

Any move to end war must be seen as a step in the right direction for any country.

Yesterday’s announcement from Mozambique’s opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama extending a unilateral truce without setting a deadline is wonderful news in the bid to end the lengthy war between his rebels and the government.

Any move to end war must be seen as a step in the right direction for any country. You can’t start rebuilding a country and finding peace until the fighting has stopped.

Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s Renamo party and the main opposition in the country, called it the “beginning of the end” to the violence that has plagued South Africa’s neighbour since a disputed 2014 election.

Dhlakama first declared a ceasefire in December, and renewed it twice for two months in January and in March to allow for peace negotiations with the government.

Between 1976 and 1992, Renamo and the ruling Frelimo party fought on opposing sides of a civil war. A million people lost their lives before a peace accord ended it, but constant skirmishes since Dhlakama’s Renamo challenged results of the 2014 elections has stalled peace in the country.

“Today I announce an indefinite truce. This truce will be different from those we announced in the past. I am now declaring a truce without deadline. It is not the end of the war, but it is the beginning of the end,” Dhlakama said yesterday.

Renamo wants governors to be elected in 2019, seeing it as a chance to rule areas where it has popular backing.

While there are a number of issues that still need to be cleared up, including constitutional reforms, reintergrating Renamo’s staff into the police and army, and decentralising powers, it certainly is a step in the right direction.

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