Moz govt accused of ‘blocking’ Renamo poll bid

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IOL pic mar9 renamo leader Independent Newspapers Afonso Dhlakama, the leader of Renamo, speaks to supporters in Maraza village, near Beira. File picture: File picture: Siphiwe Sibeko

Maputo - The leader of Mozambique's opposition party Renamo, Afonso Dhlakama, on Friday accused the government of preventing him from contesting the October 15 elections.

“I want to leave Gorongosa and start moving from one place to another in pre-campaign just like the other candidates, but the government keeps sending troops to besiege Gorongosa,” Dhlakama said in a conference call with reporters based in Maputo.

“I am a leader of a political party, although my candidacy for the fifth presidential and legislative poll has yet to be confirmed.”

Dhlakama has been confined in the mountainous central Gorongosa district since the army captured his military base in October.

The government allowed him to register to vote in the elections. Dhlakama said he was waiting for President Armando Guebuza to help him break the deadlock in Renamo's ongoing talks with the government, which rejects the opposition party's demand for joint command of army and police.

Renamo is the former rebel movement that signed a peace deal with the ruling Frelimo party in 1992, ending the long and bloody civil war that followed the departure of colonial power Portugal from the southern African country.

Renamo, the largest opposition party in parliament, with 51 of 250 seats, is demanding a more equitable distribution of the country's wealth and a change to electoral laws.

Dozens of people have been killed in clashes between troops and Renamo gunmen and attacks the government blames on the former rebels.


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