Mozambique's opposition Renamo to elect leader in January

Sunday December 2 2018

Mozambique opposition Renamo leader Afonso

Mozambique opposition Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama addressing a rally in Matola near Maputo, on October 25, 2009. He died on May 3, 2018. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By ARNALDO VIEIRA
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Mozambique's main opposition party Renamo will elect its leader at a congress next January, official confirmed.

The VOA Radio quoted the party’s spokesman, Mr José Manteigas, as saying the decision was made on Friday after the Renamo gathering in Gorongosa in central Mozambique.

“Renamo’s National Congress has deliberated on the creation of an electoral office to receive candidates,” VOA Radio quoted Mr Manteigas as saying.

The Renamo National Congress, Mr Manteigas further said, would be held between 15-17.

Renamo’s founder Afonso Dhlakama died last May 3, with his party saying he succumbed to an unconfirmed heart attack.

Guerrilla warfare

Mr Dhlakama, who mixed guerrilla warfare with opposition politics, died aged 65.

For 39 years, Mr Dhlakama led Renamo, which fought a 16-year war against the ruling Frelimo party until 1992 and then emerged as an opposition party that still retained armed fighters.

Mr Dhlakama had since 2013 been in hiding in the remote Gorongosa mountains, as sporadic conflict again erupted in Mozambique.

But he later held meetings with President Felipe Nyusi, and he was seen as playing a key role in the country's developing peace process.

President Nyusi and Mr Dhlakama met in February in Gorongosa to discuss disarmament and reintegration, after earlier agreeing on constitutional reforms that would decentralise power.

War veteran

Last month, the Renamo parliamentary group leader, Ms Ivone Soares, told the STV channel that the determination of her party’s leader was urgent as Mozambique would hold a presidential election in 2019.

Mr Ossufo Momade took over the Renamo leadership on an interim basis following Mr Dhlakama’s death.

Though no official candidates' list has been unveiled, the VOA Radio suggested Mr Momade, Mr Manuel Bissopo and Mr Elias Dhlakama were in the run.

Mr Elias Dhlakama is Mr Afonso Dhlakama's brother and an army general war veteran.

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