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Source: AllAfrica

The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Monday unanimously ratified the cessation of hostilities between the government and the former rebel movement Renamo.

The agreement was initially signed on 24 August by the heads of the delegations to the long-running government-Renamo dialogue, namely Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco and Renamo parliamentarian Saimone Macuiana.

Renamo then demanded parliamentary ratification – a move which the majority Frelimo Party initially regarded as unnecessary and superfluous.

Last Friday, President Armando Guebuza and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, appended their signatures to the agreement at a ceremony in Maputo. Guebuza immediately sent the agreement to parliament for ratification, and the Assembly met in Maputo for an extraordinary sitting on Monday at which ratification was the only item on the agenda.

For the first time, the agreement was officially published.

It had, however, been leaked in August, and the independent weekly “Savana” and AIM published parts of it. The version voted on in the Assembly is exactly the same as the one leaked to “Savana”.

The main document in the agreement is a “memorandum of understanding” on defence and security issues. Alarmingly, this gives no timetable at all for the disarming of Renamo’s militia, now referred to as its “residual forces”.

The memorandum merely states that teams of military experts from the government and Renamo will present a document to a plenary session of the dialogue, at an unspecified future date, “containing the questions relating to the integration of the residual forces of Renamo into the Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) and the police”.

Once that integration is complete “all the military equipment will be delivered to the defence and security forces”, the memorandum says. “When the entire process is over no party should possess residual armed forces on the margins of the process of reintegration and the law”.

This is to be implemented by foreign military observers, to be known by the acronym EMOCHM (Military Observation Team on the Cessation of Hostilities).

These observers are due to start arriving on Tuesday – but since the document from the Renamo and government military experts has not yet been discussed (and may not even have been drafted), there will be precious little for them to observe.

There is nothing specific in the memorandum at all – no mention of how large Renamo’s “residual forces” are, how many of them will go into the army and police, how many will be demobilised, and what the timetable will be.

One provision in the memorandum has already been implemented.

It declares that “after the end of military hostilities, nobody belonging to either side may be brought before the courts based on acts arising from those hostilities or linked situations”.

In line with that, the Assembly passed an amnesty law on 12 August, over a week before the cessation of hostilities was officially declared. The amnesty law took effect when it was published in the official gazette, the “Boletim da Republica” on 18 August.

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