Franz Wild and Paul Burkhardt
Mozambican army clashes with former rebels may disrupt coal shipments and public transport without heralding a return to civil war, according to analysts such as Alex Vines, the head of the African programme at Chatham House.
The Mozambique National Resistance, known as Renamo, said it was ending the 21-year-old peace agreement with the ruling party after army troops captured its headquarters in the Gorongosa mountains on Monday. The action followed Renamo attacks on arms depots and buses this year that killed several people.
“The markets are concerned – [it] adds additional risk for lenders and could make it more difficult for Mozambique to raise funds for infrastructure,” Vines said.
Renamo fought a 17-year civil war against the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique, or Frelimo, until a peace deal in 1992. Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama’s electoral support dropped to 16.4 percent in 2009 from 47.7 percent a decade before.
“It’s only in a very small area of Mozambique where Renamo still has a presence and a fighting capability,” HS Country Risk analyst Robert Besseling said. “It does not have the capability to stage large-scale attacks on the military.”
Dhlakama has criticised President Armando Guebuza’s government for allegedly setting up an electoral system that favours Frelimo. With general elections set for October next year, there is no indication that Frelimo will make concessions.
“Serious gas players will expect a certain amount of political jockeying around resources in the run-up to local and then national elections,” Webber Wentzel director of Africa mining and energy projects John Smelcer said. “They also understand that Renamo is no longer capable of projecting a serious threat across the country.” – Bloomberg