History’s a tendency of repeating itself. It can repeat itself in the same place or in a different one but with almost the same characteristics. Currently, Mozambique is under siege. Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO) is in the bush fighting to topple the ruling Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO).
Frelimo-Renamo-bad blood goes back to 1975 the year it was formed by its founder the late Andre Matsangaissa who was killed by the Mozambican Army on 17 October 1979 and was succeeded by Alfonso Dhlakama. RENAMO waged guerrilla war that caused mayhem to this nation since 1975 to 1992.
RENAMO was found shortly before Mozambique attained her independence under the leadership of FRELIMO that trounced RENAMO in the election prior to freedom. After reluctant and defeated Portuguese colonial master handed freedom over to FRELIMO, RENAMO decided to go to bush to see to it that it fights and topples the legitimate elected government under FRELIMO. Sadly for RENAMO, its goals were not achieved. Thus, in 1992 peace accord between the duo was reached under the supervision of the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) until 1994.
After putting guns down, it was agreed that RENAMO should undergo metamorphosis itself into a political party. Thus, be able and eligible to participate in elections and other political activities. True, in 1994 RENAMO was welcomed to the game whereby its leader Alphonso Dlakama faced former president Joachim Chissano who trounced him by 52.3% to 47.7% and concealed defeat.
Dlakama didn’t throw towel in. In 2004 he tried again this time against new candidate Armando Guebuza who once again trounced him by 63.7% against 31.7%.
As it was with Chissano, Dlakama, once again in 2009, faced incumbent president comrade Guebuza who carried the day. If anything, such defeat became the straw that broke camel’s back for RENAMO. You can’t teach old dog new tricks. Thus, after experiencing four defeats, in October 2012 Dlakama decided to call it quits with regards to democratic competition. Instead, he chose to go back to his traditional method, guerrilla war. Dhlakama called his supporters back to their old military base close to the Gorongosa Game Park where they are currently doing battle with old enemy-cum-political competitor, FRELIMO.
Looking at the RENAMO’S genesis and trajectory, something similar appears as far as União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA) is concerned. The difference is: UNITA was found in 1966 as opposed to RENAMO which was conceived nine years after. Again, looking at the way the duo operated and went up and down; one can notice more similarities than contrasts. Though in different years, RENAMO and UNITA did participate in general elections in their respective countries after fighting for a long time and causing a lot of problems. UNITA entered the game in 1992 after signing the Bicesse Accords, also known as the Estoril Accords in 1990. As it was for Dlakama, UNITA’s candidate Jonas Savimbi who faced Angolan long time president Eduardo Jose Dos Santos, lost by 19% to72%.
Once again, in 2008 UNITA under its leader Savimbi participated in the general election in which it lost by the bigger margin of 85% by 10%. After noticing that the ballot box offered less expectations to win president than the barrel of gun, Savimbi decided to go back to the bush where he was killed on February 22, 2002 marking the end of the era for him and the era of war for his country as well.
Going back to RENAMO and Dlakama with similar trajectory, should we expect history to repeat itself? After RENAMO won international support that convinced Mozambican government to agree to negotiate with them and abused it, will there be another such a chance? What is the solution to this crisis after negotiations have proved not to work for long? Will Mozambique ape Angola by killing Dlakama so as to enjoy everlasting peace or go back to the drawing board? Sadly though, when the impasse in Mozambique is growing bigger and bigger, the international community is a bit mum as if the problem will solve itself. Should we allow another twenty years of carnage and suffering in Mozambique or step in to avoid it. Where is the UN? Why is it becoming harder for human race to learn from its history? As Desmond Tutu put it that the lesson we get from history is that we don’t learn from it.
However oblivious war between Mozambique and RENAMO has been kept from the mainstream media, destruction is going on in the ground. Maybe, it is because of mega crises such as CAR, South Sudan, Mali even Syria that’s why what’s going on in Mozambique is not covered or being heard. Again, looking at the look of things, chances are that Dlakama is likely to end up like Savimbi. This is especially possible once we look at the duo’s trajectory and how busier the international community is without cold war that used to feed Savimbi and Dlakama. Ironically, African Union (AU) which is in charge of the continent seems to miss a point just like it happened recently in South Sudan. Should Africa stay aside and look waiting to blame somebody for not intervening? Given that South Africa the immediate neighbour is likely to be negative affected; it needs to start devising how to intervene to help. This is inevitable after experiencing the same effects from Zimbabwe.
Source: The African Executive Magazine Jan., 22, 2014.