By Joseph Hanlon
The announcement suggests significant progress on three sets of parallel negotiations - within Frelimo and within Renamo, and between Nyusi and Dhlakama. International mediators had been a Renamo demand, so dispensing with meditators and moving to two very small technical working groups suggests an agreement in principle has been reached. This must mean agreement on three points.
+ First would be acceptance of some Renamo governors and a commitment to reduce the role of the Frelimo party in the state apparatus. Key people in Frelimo have already accepted this but it requires defining the roles of the governors and provincial assemblies, perhaps to be similar to mayors and municipal assemblies.
+ Second is some role for Renamo in the army, with Renamo people in senior positions. This could be acceptable to Frelimo because it has always kept the army weak; the war with Renamo is being largely fought by the special riot police unit.
+ Third is money, which has never been mentioned, and perhaps never will be. But it must be assumed that after the $2 billion secret loan, Dhlakama has demanded and will receive a substantial amount of money.
Frelimo has been deeply divided on the negotiations, but in the past month it appears the Nyusi is now being allowed to assert control. He accepted the cease fire, and then replaced the Guebuza-appointed head of the security services, SISE, by someone linked to Chissano. The presence of both Guebuza and Chissano at the announcement of the resumed talks means the party now has an agreed position. Chissano is said to have become the senior person in the party and may have played a role in negotiations with Guebuza. It would seem likely that in exchange for stepping back and not disrupting, Guebuza has been promised protection over the $2 billion secret debt.
It seems likely that in both Frelimo and Renamo, there is a recognition that the war and secret debt are having a more serious impact on foreign investment and development of the gas than had been expected. The elite needs both issues to be resolved if they are to profit from the large amount of money expected to flow into the country. Settling the war is the first essential step. jh
Sources: News reports & clippings, 5 February 2017