This document examines how the end-of-civil conflict agreement was concluded and highlights the potential risks associated with the October 2019 elections and beyond. The agreement was an important step on the South African country`s path to peace, but it was far from a guarantee of stability. If the parliamentary elections can be held as planned on 15 October – but without ensuring that they are free and fair – the agreement could trigger a new round of conflict. If Renamo comes out of the elections and feels thwarted by the political process, the party will probably return to the only strategy that has worked for it: violence. Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and RENAMO leader Ossufo Momade embraced with joy in their cheers after signing a peace treaty on August 6, 2019. The agreement ended the resurgence of armed conflict between the FRELIMO-led government and the main opposition party and former guerrilla movement RENAMO, based in central Mozambique. More than 5,200 Renamo fighters are expected to hand over their weapons to the government, a precondition for signing the peace agreement on 1 August. In 2018, shortly before the final agreement was signed, RENAMO`s historic and undisputed leader, Afonso Dhlakama, died. His successor Momade was not contested throughout the party. In the end, a group around Mariano Nhongo formed the so-called military junta RENAMO and took up arms. After the elections on 15 October, won by an overwhelming majority by the ruling FRELIMO, fears are growing about the sustainability of the agreement.
Accusations of electoral manipulation linked to huge losses for the opposition, including in its provincial strongholds, are now jeopardizing the agreement. At the signing of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement, President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo leader Ossufo Momade said they would participate peacefully in the October 15 elections. A previous peace agreement was signed in 2014, but violence erupted sporadically. Read more: “No peace, no election in Mozambique”: LEADER RENAMO Junta told DW He and other experts interviewed by Reuters cited this as the main reason the deal could be successful, where his predecessors had failed. In addition, the 6 August peace agreement was rejected by a group called RENAMO Military Junta. The junta has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on government soldiers in central parts of the country, similar to RENAMO between 2013 and 2016. EU Commissioner for Political Affairs Federica Mogherini attended the signing ceremony in Maputo and pledged 60 million euros for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of RENAMO soldiers. If RENAMO stays in the peace agreement and accepts the results of the elections, this process could progress quickly. Some 5,000 soldiers are expected to be part of the RENAMO contingent, which has yet to be demobilized. These two agreements are the result of several years of negotiations to end the sporadic violence that has continued since the end of a bloody civil war in 1992. An estimated one million people died in the 15-year war. “They are now totally outside the peace agreement,” said Johanna Nilsson, an academic living in Sweden.
“The fact that Renamo can`t control it is obviously a problem.” In their opening statements, the AU and SADC election observers noted pre-election violence – in particular the killing of an election observer in Gaza province, allegedly by the police – the abuse of incumbents and alleged anomalies in the voter registration process. Nevertheless, they said that the electoral process was peaceful and well conducted.