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Signature of a fragile peace agreement in Mozambique

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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi (left) and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade at the signing of the peace agreement on August 6 in Maputo. Ferhat Momade / AP

Will the third attempt be the right one? By signing a peace agreement on Tuesday 6 August, with Ossufo Momade, the leader of Renamo (the former historical rebellion, returned to the maquis), the president of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi, has promised to return  "unreal reversible © » a long process, bringing the veterans of the long Mozambican civil war (1977-1992) to give up their weapons one last time, after having taken them back in 2013.

A few days earlier, in Sathundjira, the bastion of the Renamo (Mozambican National Resistance) in Gorongosa Park (center), the cessation of hostilities had already been formalized between the Head of State – which is also that of the party in power since independence, the Frelimo (Mozambique Liberation Front) – and Ossufo Momade.

Then the rebel leader, who took the lead of the movement after the death in May 2018 of its historical leader, Afonso Dhlakama, came out of the impregnable region where is concentrated some of his forces to win Maputo and to sign the agreement of August 6th.

Read also Mozambique: signing of a final peace agreement between the government and Renamo

"Electoral Agreement and Teatro"

Direct negotiations, started by Dhlakama, had been on the phone for more than a year. The confidentiality of the negotiation phase continues now in the secrecy surrounding the content of the agreement. It was signed for the October 15 general elections. Even if, at short notice, the obstacles are not lacking. The country, which is trying to restore its reputation with donors, is facing an Islamist insurgency in the north of the country. An analyst who wishes to remain anonymous speaks, in raw terms, of an agreement "Electoral and Teatro" and adds that the latter "Was done running, to respect the date of August 6 which had been fixed previously for the invitations of foreign dignitaries". Side power like rebel side, the urgency of this peace does not make unanimity.

Ossufo Momade, in particular, is in the grip of a slingshot movement within Renamo. Led by general Mariana Nhongo, dissidents say they have formed a group, "the military junta," and continue the fight. Is the new leader of Renamo outmatched by the military wing, or is it a tactic to keep a return to arms option if the promises of power are not kept? Both hypotheses are considered valid by some observers.

The scope of the peace plan, however, exceeds these calculations. For the occasion, Heads of State and Government of the continent (including those from Rwanda and South Africa) made the trip to Maputo, together with the President of the Commission of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat. This commitment marks the solemnity of the event and reminds us that the challenge is not only national. The little that has been revealed in the agreement is in two weak points: integration of 5,200 members of Renamo in the army and the police (but not in the intelligence services, as requested by the rebels); Constitutional change allowing the governors of the ten regions to be elected by universal suffrage, opening to Renamo's leaders the prospect of access to resources.