|Headquarters||Avenida Ahmed Sekou Touré Nº 657, Maputo|
|Youth wing||RENAMO Youth League|
|International affiliation||Centrist Democrat International (Observer)|
|Assembly of the Republic|
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The Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO; Portuguese: Resistência Nacional Moçambicana) is a militant organization and political movement in Mozambique. Originally sponsored by the Rhodesian Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), it was founded in 1975 as part of an anti-communist backlash against the country's ruling FRELIMO party.
Initially led by André Matsangaissa, a former senior official in FRELIMO's armed wing, the movement had its roots in a menagerie of anti-FRELIMO dissident groups which mushroomed immediately prior and shortly following Mozambican independence, as well as South African and Rhodesian attempts to encourage these competing interests. It is clear that RENAMO's ranks were bolstered by Mozambican political exiles who genuinely opposed FRELIMO in principle, and a number of others who were conscripted by force. On 4 October 1992, FRELIMO and RENAMO signed the Rome General Peace Accords, ending the Mozambican Civil War.
Critics of RENAMO frequently decried the movement as a "proxy army" of Rhodesia and later, of South Africa's apartheid government. It has been theorised that RENAMO was formed for the sole purpose of combating Mozambican support for Rhodesian insurgents. On the other hand, RENAMO was also reflective of FRELIMO's own splintering support base and dwindling popularity in the post-independence era. Following the war it has been responsible for promoting constitutional reform as well as a strong domestic private sector.
Matsangaissa, who died in 1979, was succeeded by Afonso Dhlakama, who lead the organization until his death in 2018. Following renewed clashes, a peace agreement was reached between RENAMO and the Mozambique government in August 2019, resulting in the last RENAMO fighters surrendering their arms. RENAMO leader Ossufo Momade vowed afterwards to “maintain peace and national reconciliation.”
Mozambican Civil War
RENAMO unified with another rebel group, the Revolutionary Party of Mozambique (PRM) in 1982. As result of this merger, the rebel group was able to expand its operations in northern Mozambique, particularly in Zambezia Province. In 1984 the South African and Mozambican governments signed the Nkomati Accord, in which South Africa agreed to stop sponsoring RENAMO if the Mozambican government expelled exiled members of the African National Congress (ANC) residing there. This was consistent with the Total National Strategy then in existence whereby the carrot of infrastructural development projects would be offered as an inducement for co-operation, supported by the stick of military reprisal if guerillas of the ANC were still given succour. In 1988, RENAMO experienced its only major split during the civil war, when former PRM commander Gimo Phiri broke off and founded an independent insurgent group known as Mozambican National Union (UNAMO).
Meanwhile, the Mozambican government did not expel the exiled members of the ANC and consequently the South African government continued funnelling financial and military resources until a permanent peace accord was reached in 1992 and was supervised by the United Nations Operation in Mozambique (UNOMOZ) until 1994. To nudge this process in the right direction a special operation was launched by the National Intelligence Service called Operation Bush Talk, which was designed to permanently end the civil war in Mozambique to stem the flow of military materiel across the porous borders into South Africa. One manifestation of this was the militia of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) that was being trained and armed by the SADF Special Forces as part of Operation Marion which were being armed by weapons coming from Mozambique.
The peace accord led to the disarmament of RENAMO, to the integration of some of its fighters into the Mozambican army and to its transformation into a regular political party. It is now the main opposition party in Mozambique. At the legislative elections on 1 and 2 December 2004, the party was the main part of the Renamo-UE electoral alliance, that won 29.7% of the popular vote and 90 out of 250 seats. The presidential candidate of this alliance, Afonso Dhlakama, won 31.7% of the popular vote.
Raul Domingos, negotiator at the Rome General Peace Accords and RENAMO's leader in parliament from 1994–1999, was expelled from the party in 2000, and in 2003, founded the Party for Peace, Democracy, and Development.
Activities in Zimbabwe
RENAMO forces attacked an army base in Zimbabwe near Mukosa on 17 June 1987, killing seven soldiers and wounding 19. RENAMO attacked the Katiyo Tea Estate, destroying valuable property, in July and killed three men in Rushinga in August. On 30 November, RENAMO militants burned down 13 houses.
Between December 1987 and 21 January 1988 RENAMO performed 101 attacks near the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border.
In October 2012, RENAMO's headquarters were relocated near Casa Banana (also named Sathunjira, RENAMO's former guerrilla base in the 1980s) in Gorongosa, where a training camp was set up for around 800 partially armed followers. Previously, the headquarters had been moved from Maputo to Nampula in 2009. RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama threatened to "destroy the country" if his political demands were not met.
On 4 April 2013, one woman and four police officers were killed, with ten policemen more injured in a RENAMO attack on a police station in the town of Muxengue. The leader of the attackers was also killed. RENAMO's security chief stated that the action was a response to previous police raids on RENAMO gatherings. Around 300 RENAMO members had remained armed since the 1992 peace deal, despite efforts to integrate them into the army or police.
On 6 April 2013, two or three civilians were killed and two women were injured when alleged RENAMO militiamen attacked a truck and a bus in Chibabava District. RENAMO denied being involved in the attack.
On 21 June, suspected RENAMO guerrillas attacked a bus in Machanga, Sofala Province, injuring an elderly woman. The incident happened two days after RENAMO threatened to paralyse key roads and the only coal export train to force the FRELIMO government to renegotiate peace terms.
On 17 October, suspected RENAMO guerrillas ambushed a military patrol near Gorongosa, RENAMO's stronghold, killing seven soldiers, according to local media. On 18 October, another clash between Mozambican Armed Forces (FADM) and RENAMO militiamen took place in Mucodza, seven kilometres away from Gorongosa. National director of defence policy in the Ministry of Defence, Colonel Cristovao Chume, claimed that the soldiers suffered no losses and that a RENAMO fighter was injured and captured by their forces. RENAMO leader Dhlakama claimed that no RENAMO fighters were killed on the attack, which, according to him, was started by the Army, and that the casualties had been suffered by the FADM. However, reporters confirmed that the bodies of two RENAMO fighters were in the local morgue of Gorongosa.
On 21 October, FADM forces captured Sathunjira base after several days of combat. RENAMO spokesman Fernando Mazanga claimed that the government forces had shelled the base with heavy weapons (artillery), and that Afonso Dhlakama had fled the base. A RENAMO statement said that the capture of the base puts an end to the 1992 peace deal. RENAMO announced that MP Armindo Milaco was killed in the government raid. On 22 October, gunmen attacked a police station in Maringué District in apparent retaliation, with no casualties reported.
2014 peace process
On 5 September 2014 Dhlakama and president Guebuza signed a peace deal in an effort to end the two-year period of instability. The deal included integration of RENAMO forces into the army and a reform of the election oversight commission. However, after RENAMO's refusal to accept the 2014 presidential elections, problems in the implementation of the peace deal and after continued efforts by government forces to disarm RENAMO met resistance, Dhlakama broke off the peace process in August 2015. Since then there have been renewed clashes between government and RENAMO forces. Dhlakama claims there have been two attempts by the government to assassinate him.
In May 2017, RENAMO agreed to extend their truce indefinitely.
Death of Dhlakama and its impact
On 3 May 2018, Afonso Dhlakama, who led RENAMO since 1979, died in Gorongosa after suffering a heart attack. An unnamed official in RENAMO acknowledged this and also stated that Dhlakma had been ill prior to his death. Regarding the future of RENAMO following Dhlakma's death, Ed Hobey Hamsher, an analyst with Maplecroft, stated that "no potential successor has Dhlakama's stature" and that anybody who succeeds him "will struggle to unify Renamo's factions." At the time of Dhlakma's death, the RENAMO Congress was unable to fix a date to vote on a successor. The next month on 14 June 2018, Ossufo Momade, who was picked to serve as the interim leader of RENAMO until the organization's Congress could vote on a permanent successor to Dhlakma, went into hiding.
Peace deal reached between RENAMO and Mozambique government
On August 1, 2019, Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi and RENAMO leader Ossufo Momade signed a peace agreement bringing an end to the six year period of armed clashes. They also shook hands and embraced each other as well. The signing of the peace took place at RENAMO's remote military base in the Gorongosa mountains. After the agreement was signed, the last remaining RENAMO fighters surrendered their weapons Momade told the Associated Press “We will no longer commit the mistakes of the past.” He also stated “We are for a humanized and dignified reintegration and we want the international community to help make that a reality.” During another signing which took in Maputo's peace square, Momade declared the group would focus to "maintain peace and national reconciliation."
|1994||Afonso Dhlakama||1,666,965||33.73%||Lost N|
|2019||Ossufo Momade||1,356,786||21.84%||Lost N|
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Former RENAMO flags
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