Nyusi Says Pensions Nothing To Do With DDR
Maputo, 22 Dec (AIM) – Failure to fix pensions for demobilized soldiers was indeed one of the reasons for Monday’s failure to close the last military base of Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, according to a report in Thursday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax” – but President Filipe Nyusi has denied that pensions had anything to do with it.
Speaking at a Wednesday reception for representatives of Mozambican communities in the diaspora, Nyusi said his government continues to regard finalizing the Demobilisation, Disarmament and Reintegration (DDR) of former Renamo guerrillas as a priority – but Monday’s deadlock cannot be blamed on the government.
He said the issue of military pensions was not part of the agreement he had signed with Renamo leader Ossufo Momade in August 2019, and so it could not be a condition for finalizing the DDR. He did, however, recognize the importance of providing financial assistance for demobilized fighters.
The other protest raised by Renamo is the failure to include former Renamo militiamen in the defence and security forces. Nyusi blamed this on Renamo’s failure to submit lists of names of the demobilized fighters it wanted to see recruited into the army and the police. Twice Renamo had withdrawn the lists it had submitted, and the government was now working on the basis of a third list.
“We received the first list. This list was withdrawn, but not by us”, he said. “We received the second list, and it was not clear. It too was withdrawn. Another list was delivered and is currently with us”.
Furthermore, the recruitment and training of the police obeys a calendar that cannot be changed to suit Renamo’s desires. “Police training begins in January, and it begins with inspections in the provinces”, said Nyusi. “It’s better to let the police work instead of disinforming people”.
Renamo, however, has continued to insist on the issues of pensions and integration into the defence and security forces. Only 150 of the demobilized are to be recruited into the army and police, out of a total of 5,254 former guerrillas who should be demobilized. The number is small because most of the former Renamo fighters are well past the normal age for joining the defence forces.
Renamo claims the even the initial ten Renamo officers placed in the General Command of the police have not been given specific jobs to do.
The question was one of the main issues raising during Wednesday’s closing session of the end-of-year sitting of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. The deputy head of the Renamo parliamentary group, and the party’s new general secretary, Clementina Bomba, accused the government of “machiavellian silence”.
“Without any plausible explanation, our fighters are still waiting for their pensions to be fixed”, she said. “Once again, we demand that the government, in the person of the President of the Republic, carry out the agreement it signed in the presence of the international community”.
She also gratuitously attacked religious bodies and civil society organizations for failing to join this dispute on the side of Renamo.
Lutero Simango, leader of the second largest opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), said it is impossible to understand the current deadlock, and, if there is good will, pragmatic solutions to the pensions issue could be found.
“There is no reason for the question of pensions for these men and women to be a matter of secrecy”, he said. “The pensions will come from the taxes paid by Mozambicans, and so there is no reason for secrecy”.
The parliamentary group of the ruling Frelimo Party merely asked the government and Renamo to continue working on the matter, so that the DDR can be finalized as quickly as possible.