Maputo — An official of the former rebel movement Renamo in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula has thrown some light on the current talks between Renamo and the ruling Frelimo Party, revealing that one of Renamo's demands is the abolition of the Rapid Intervention Force (FIR) - the Mozambican riot police.
Cited in Tuesday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais", Antonio Nihorue, the Renamo head of mobilization and propaganda in Nampula, claimed that the existence of the riot police violates the 1992 peace agreement between the government and Renamo.
He alleged that the FIR is a partisan force and that dissolving it would be "a solution for maintaining peace and guaranteeing the future of democracy".
It is true that the riot police are not mentioned in the peace accord - neither are the traffic police, the transport police, the frontier guard or any other specific police unit. In the late 1990s, the government offered police training to members of Renamo's "Presidential Guard", which, in defiance of the peace accord, was never demobilised, and still exists in camps in the central districts of Maringue and Cheringoma.
After complaining that Renamo was excluded from the police force, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama then repeatedly turned down the government offer of police training.
Nihorue also announced that Renamo has put on the table questions such as illicit enrichment, the alleged partisan nature of the police and the state, and the fight against electoral fraud.
He said Renamo has designed a strategy on how to avoid fraud in future elections, and mechanisms for recruitment and promotion in the police force.
Nihorue said there were other points on the agenda, but it was "not opportune" to reveal them, since Renamo regarded them as "strategic questions".
He also announced the names of the three members of the Frelimo delegation to the talks as Rufino Nombora, Afonso Camba and Manuela Mapunge. When AIM contacted the Frelimo Central Committee Secretary for Mobilisation and Propaganda, Edson Macuacua, he confirmed that this is indeed the composition of the delegation.
Nombora is a prominent jurist. He is a former secretary of state for justice, and served on the first National Elections Commission (CNE), which supervised the 1994 general elections. He is currently a member of the Higher Council of the Administrative Magistracy. The other two members of the delegation are not well known.
Macuacua thought it was "unethical" of Renamo to make public claims about discussions that are still under way. He pointed out that it was Renamo that had asked Frelimo for the talks, Frelimo had agreed, but now, after just one meeting, Renamo was putting its version of the dialogue into the press.
He accused Renamo of "a lack of seriousness", and said "Frelimo will not allow itself to be dragged down to this level. We have ethics and principles that we obey".
The first meeting between the two delegations took place, without any publicity, in early February, and the second is scheduled for early April.
SOURCE: ALLAFRICA NEWS