AIM/allAfrica

Photo:  Aly Ramji / Mediapix               

 President Armando Emilio Guebuza  of Mozambique (file photo).     

Maputo — Mozambique’s largest opposition party, Renamo, has rejected the invitation issued by President Armando Guebuza for Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama to meet with him face to face on Friday.

Although Guebuza’s spokesperson, Edson Macuacua, told reporters on Monday night that the invitation had been made “through the normal channels”, Renamo said that no such invitation had been received by Dhlakama’s office, “or any other place of contact of the Renamo presidency”.

Reading out a statement at a Maputo press conference on Tuesday, the Renamo national spokesperson, Fernando Mazanga, said the invitation “sounds cynical to us, because we don’t believe that President Guebuza is unaware of the conditions facing Afonso Dhlakama after the attack and occupation of his residence in Satunjira, and the recent attack and occupation of his residence in Beira by government forces”.

Mazanga was referring to the taking of Dhlakama’s headquarters at Satunjira, in the central district of Gorongosa, on 21 October. But Dhlakama was no longer there. He and other Renamo leaders had left the base before the FADM moved in. Since that date he has not been seen in public, and his current whereabouts are unknown.

On Friday, the police raided Dhlakama’s house in Beira, claiming they had a court order to do so. Dhlakama has not set foot in Beira for several years.

Mazanga described Guebuza’s invitation as a “poisoned chalice”, which could not be taken seriously. “This is not the time for jokes”, he said. “The country is in a climate of tension which demands wisdom and seriousness and not games of political propaganda”.

If Guebuza was really interested in meeting with Dhlakama, he added, “then he should immediately order a halt to the attacks and harassment that the army is waging against President Dhlakama and the Renamo security” (he was referring to the Renamo gunmen, known as Dhlakama’s “Presidential Guard”, who have clashed repeatedly with the army and police over the past month).

Mazanga alleged that “tonnes and tonnes of military equipment” are being unloaded in Gorongosa for a military operation. He claimed this involved “the mobilization of foreign forces”, but did not specify which country these would come from.

The purpose of the operation, he alleged, was “to massacre Mozambicans who do not belong to the Frelimo Party, particularly those who live in the centre of the country”.

In any case, Mazanga claimed, the Renamo Maputo office did not know the whereabouts of the party’s leader, Thus there were “no conditions for such a meeting”.  allAfrica