Former guerrillas from Mozambique’s main opposition party. Renamo, have accused the party’s leader, Ossufo Momade, of secretly working for the ruling Frelimo Party, and are demanding that he resign.
The Renamo dissidents claim to include generals, and other high ranking officers, founder-members of Renamo, who were close to Momade’s predecessor, the late Afonso Dhlakama.
At a press conference on Saturday, held in the central city of Beira, the dissidents’ spokesperson, Thimosse Maquinze, said the former guerrillas, demobilised under the current DDR (Demobilisation. Disarmament and Reintegration) process, are not receiving their promised pensions.
According to a report in the independent daily “O Pais”, he accused the Renamo leadership of abandoning the former fighters, who were forced “to resort to odd jobs, receiving in exchange five kilos of maize or a litre of cooking oil, so that they can feed their families. Many of them are living in the cities with children or wives, some of them in rented housing. They are waiting for reintegration and nothing is happening”.
Maquinze added that “what most concerns the military wing (of Renamo) is that several guerrillas have ben kidnapped and killed by death squads, under unclear circumstances, and Ossufo Momade always remains calm, which leads us to conclude that he is an accomplice”.
A former Renamo general, Josefo Mwera, accused Momade of not taking seriously the concerns of the Renamo demobilised and other members of the party.
“Since mid-2022, the Renamo fighters have been trying to contact the president of the party to fix a formal meeting through a national conference of the demobilised, or even a meeting between Momade and General Maquinze”, said Mwera, “but unfortunately we were treated with contempt. For us, that’s a clear demonstration that the fighters have no value in the organization”.
Momade was elected President of Renamo at a Congress held in 2019. Mwera claimed that after his election, Momade expelled officers of the Renamo General Staff, and then “detained them and placed them in various units, as if they were enemies, in a clear demonstration that he intended to introduce a Renamo different from the one which Afonso Dhlakama had led”.
Mwera claimed that, in the Renamo delegations, Momade “ordered cuts in the allowances paid to many of the party’s staff”.
He also attacked Renamo’s political work for merely following in the footsteps of events, rather than taking initiatives. This was undermining the development of democracy, he claimed, and left the grass roots of the party “moribund”.
Mwera urged the Renamo National Council to call a meeting to decide whether or not Momade should continue to lead the party.
“We, the fighters of Renamo, led by General Thimosse Maquinze, are demanding that Ossufo Momade resign”, he said. “Since the National Council is the decision making body, it should urgently call an extraordinary congress so that Renamo may peacefully find a leadership that corresponds to the longings of the Party’s members and of Mozambican society in general”.