Ex-Botswana leader in Mozambique for peace talks
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Gaborone – Former Botswana President Sir Ketumile Masire has arrived in the Mozambican capital Maputo where he is expected to facilitate negotiations to end three years of a low-level war between the armed opposition Mozambique National Resistance Movement (RENAMO) and the government of President Felipe Nyusi.
Sir Masire was nominated by the London-based Global Leadership Foundation (GLF), which is chaired by former SA president F W de Klerk. The board includes Chester Crocker and Baroness Lynda Chalker, a former UK aid minister given honorary Mozambican citizenship by President Armando Guebuza in 2014.
The GLF was set up by De Klerk as a platform through, which former leaders help the world achieve peace through the negotiation to resolve disputes.
In October 2014, RENAMO leader Alfonso Dhlakama withdrew from the government in Maputo and returned to his war-time base in Gorongossa.
Dhlakama is protesting the alleged failure by the government to integrate members of his former rebel movement into the police and army, as provided for in the 1992 Rome peace accord. The accord ended years of fighting between RENAMO an the government that erupted in 1975.
RENAMO forces have waged a low-level insurgency targeting the police, the army, government outposts and transport routes in the central, north and north-east of the country.
Following several failed internal peace efforts, the government recently agreed to RENAMO’s demand that the negotiations should be led by impartial international mediators.
However, the peace talks took off to a rocky start late July in Maputo as the fighting continued across the country.
According to the South African-based International Institute of Security Studies (IISS), the renewed fighting is unlikely to lead to a relapse into full-scale civil war, but would mean a continuation of hard times for ordinary Mozambicans.
African News Agency (ANA)