Govt and Renamo Reach Consensus On Drafting Package of Laws
The delegations appointed by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and by the leader of the Renamo rebels, Afonso Dhlakama, have reached agreement that a package of legislation on decentralization should be drawn up by November, for presentation to the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.
The agreement was announced on August 17 morning at the end of a meeting of the government/Renamo Joint Commission, which discussed only the first point on its agenda - namely the demand by Renamo that it should be allowed to govern the six provinces which it claims to have won in the October 2014 general elections.
A brief statement, read out to reporters by the head of the Renamo side, Jose Manteigas, said that the two delegations had reached consensus that the Renamo demand “should be discussed in the framework of national unity and the process of administrative decentralization, granting more decision making powers to local state bodies, including financial resources, and the decentralized form of election/appointment of Provincial Governors”.
The two delegations agreed to set up a sub-commission charged with drawing up the package of legislation to be submitted to the Assembly. There are seven points in this package, the most important of which is the constitutional amendment necessary to change the way in which provincial governors (and other local state bodies) are appointed or elected.
The sub-commission must amend the Law on Local State Bodies and its regulations, the Law on Provincial Assemblies, and the Law on the Organisation and Functioning of the Public Administration. New laws are to be drafted on the bodies of the provincial governments, and on provincial finances. Finally, the sub-commission must “re-examine” the 1994 law on “municipal districts”. This law would have made each and every district a municipality. It was never implemented, but was replaced by a gradual approach to municipalisation. Thus initially only the 23 urban areas with city status, plus ten towns (one in each province) were granted municipal status, with directly elected mayors and municipal assemblies. Subsequently, 20 more towns have become municipalities, raising the total number of towns and cities where municipal elections were held in 2013 to 53.
Reverting to the 1994 model of municipal districts may prove difficult to reconcile with current municipal legislation, and would certainly be extremely expensive.
Despite this proposed package of legislation, Renamo still wants some way of ruling the six provinces it claims in the near future, before those laws can take effect. Thus the consensual statement from the Joint Commission declared “legal mechanisms should be found for the provisional appointment of provincial governors from Renamo as quickly as possible”.
The statement from the Commission said nothing at all about any of the other points on the agenda - in particular, there is no commitment from Renamo to halt military hostilities or to disarm its militia.
As for the proposed meeting between the team of foreign mediators and Dhlakama, this too was not discussed, and no firm date has yet been set for the mediators to visit Dhlakama at his military base in the Sofala district of Gorongosa.
(AIM / Maputo, edited by SADOCC)