Africa-Press – Mozambique. Ossufo Momade, the leader of Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, has promised to meet with ambassadors accredited in Mozambique next Thursday, and discuss with them how to solve the payment of allowances to demobilised Renamo militiamen.
What are politely referred to as Renamo’s “residual forces” are being gradually demobilised under the agreement that Momade signed with President Filipe Nyusi in 2019, but they have not been paid all the allowances that Renamo claims are owing.
Last week, the Renamo general secretary, Andre Majibire, said that about 1,000 former guerrillas have not received their allowances for six months.
He claimed that, under the 2019 agreement, the demobilised fighters should receive a monthly allowance for a year, paid by the United Nations through the Mozambican government. After this period, they would be included in the pension arrangements of the Mozambican state.
Cited in Tuesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Momade said “this worries us, because when the guerrillas were in their bases, they were given promises, and we would like to see those promises kept”.
Speaking during a working visit to the former Renamo stronghold of Maringue, in Sofala province, Momade said he was concerned at the silence of the government and of its international partners about the matter. He claimed that guarantees had been given about payment of the allowances, and about financing projects that could generate income for the former fighters.
Mirko Manzoni, the personal representative to Mozambique of US Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said he was sure this problem would not threaten the peace accord. He said what had happened was that the period of a year for the payment of the allowances had expired for the first group demobilised under the 2019 agreement.
What should happen now, he claimed, was that the former fighters should receive payments through the National Social Security Institute (INSS), but currently there was not enough money.
Manzoni insisted that the UN did not owe any money to the former fighters, since the allowances to which they were entitled had been paid on a quarterly basis. Pensions should now be paid by the government, via the INSS, although the international community could support these payments.
One worrying issue, said Manzoni, is that some of the people now demanding pensions are already receiving pensions thanks to the 1992 peace agreement between the government and Renamo. In other words, they have been demobilised twice and want two pensions.
He categorically denied stories that the European Union has paid 60 million dollars for the Renamo pensions. “I can guarantee that we have not received this 60 million from the European Union”, he told reporters. “If this money did exist, then the problem of pensions would have been solved”.