Mozambique's ruling party presidential candidate Felipe Nyusi on Wednesday made a plea for peace with the opposition Renamo party, which has launched a new insurgency in the southern African nation.
Nyusi, 55, appearing alongside President Armando Guebuza at a rally in the village of Buzi in the conflict-hit central Sofala province, pledged “continuity” with the policies of the outgoing president.
“Peace is me. Peace is... not waiting in the bush for people to pass in order to kill them so that I can be president,” Nyusi said.”Peace is not using weapons to resolve the differences between people.”
Guebuza, 75, who is set to step down in October after serving the two terms allowed by the constitution, has introduced the previously little-known Nyusi at public rallies as part of a country-wide farewell tour.
If the former defence minister wins presidential polls set for October 15 he will inherit a simmering conflict with Renamo, a former rebel movement which became the official opposition party and then went back to the bush.
Renamo gunmen have launched almost daily attacks on vehicles travelling along the national road just 100km from where the two leaders spoke on Wednesday.
In Buzi, Nyusi promised to carry on where Guebuza left off in building roads and creating jobs in the poverty stricken country that is still struggling to rebuild itself after civil war left its economy in shreds 21 years ago.
“Continuity is... transporting more coal, employing more people, making more money, building more hospitals and schools. This is what we want to continue,” he said.
In 2009 polls, Guebuza managed a resounding win with 75 percent of the vote over his closest rival, Renamo's Afonso Dhlakama, who garnered just 16 percent.
Although Dhlakama has signalled his intention to run against Nyusi in October, he has been in hiding since late last year when government forces over-ran his bush camp in the Gorongosa mountains.
Talks between Renamo and the government aimed bringing Dhlakama back from the political wilderness have stalled, placing the party's ability to participate in elections in doubt. - Sapa-AFP