Dhlakama to hit the campaign trail

2014-09-11 21:15
Afonso Dhlakama, Renamo

Afonso Dhlakama, Renamo

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Maputo - Days after coming out of hiding to sign a peace deal with the government, Mozambican rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama said he was ready to start campaigning for October presidential elections.

"I will ask people to vote for me, Afonso Dhlakama, because I feel Mozambicans want change," the 61-year-old said on Thursday, in his first press conference since leaving a bush hide-out.

Dhlakama last week signed a landmark peace deal with Mozambique's president Armando Guebuza, ending a two-year conflict that has rekindled memories of the country's brutal civil war.

During the 15-year conflict - which ended in 1992 after causing the deaths of an estimated one million people - Dhlakama led Renamo anti-Communist fighters backed by apartheid South Africa.

He abandoned civilian life once again in 2012 in favour of a bush camp, after complaining the government had not kept to the peace agreement that ended the war.

After government troops overran the base in late 2013 he went into hiding, leading an armed insurgency against the government in which scores were killed.

During Mozambique's two decades of relative peace Dhlakama has watched as his Frelimo rivals ate away at his share of the popular vote.

He won just 16% in 2009 and risks falling into third place this time round, behind Frelimo candidate Felipe Nyusi and the Mozambique Democratic Movement's Daviz Simango.

Read more on:    frelimo  |  renamo  |  afonso dhlakama  |  mozambique  |  southern africa

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