|Mozambican National Resistance|
|Chairman||Manuel Zeca Bissopo|
|Headquarters||Avenida Ahmed Sekou Touré Nº 657, Maputo|
|Youth wing||RENAMO Youth League|
|International affiliation||Centrist Democrat International (observer)|
|Assembly of the Republic||
89 / 250(Abstentionist)
|Politics of Mozambique
The Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO; Portuguese: Resistência Nacional Moçambicana) is a liberation movement turned political party in Mozambique, led by Afonso Dhlakama. It fought against the FRELIMO in the Mozambican Civil War and against the ZANU movement led by Robert Mugabe from 1975 to 1992.
RENAMO was founded in 1975 following Mozambique's independence as an anti-Communist political organisation, sponsored by the Central Intelligence Organisation of Rhodesia. André Matsangaissa, an ex-FRELIMO army commander, was its first leader. The Ian Smith administration in Rhodesia sought to prevent the FRELIMO government from providing a safe haven for Zimbabwe African National Union militants seeking to overthrow the Rhodesian government. Matsangaissa was killed by government soldiers on 17 October 1979 in Sofala Province. Following a violent succession struggle, Afonso Dhlakama became the new RENAMO leader. During the Mozambican Civil War of the 1980s, RENAMO also received support from South Africa. In the United States, the CIA and conservatives lobbied for support to RENAMO, which was strongly resisted by the State Department, which would "not recognize or negotiate with RENAMO". The British government under Margaret Thatcher did not view the civil war in Mozambique as a part of the Cold War, and when FRELIMO closed the border to Rhodesia it fitted well with British interests against the rebel colony while the Rhodesian government supported RENAMO.
FRELIMO also forced Mugabe to accept the Lancaster House Agreement for the end to the war in Rhodesia.
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 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. However, 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 (ONUMOZ) 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 last legislative elections, 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.
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 days of combats. 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.
Former RENAMO flags
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- RENAMO official site
- Special Report on Mozambique 2004 Elections by the Carter Center
- Final Report of the European Union Election Observation Mission
- Main RENAMO Policy Guidelines 2004 (pdf)
- Mozambique-US Relations during Cold War from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives