Renamo: four decades on the losing side

2013-10-23 12:43
Renamo fighter. (Jinty Jackson, AFP)

Renamo fighter. (Jinty Jackson, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Maputo - Renamo, which declared Mozambique's hard-won peace deal over, was formed in 1976 as an anti-Communist rebel group backed by neighbouring white-minority regimes and fought the ruling Frelimo.

In the latest attack to fuel fears of a return to the dark days of civil war, gunmen attacked a police station on Tuesday, hours after Renamo declared the death of the 1992 peace pact in retaliation for a military raid on its bush camp.

Renamo has failed to seize power in 15 years of war and two decades of peace but analysts say the group is too weak now to take another shot at toppling its arch-foe through warfare.

Founded a year after Mozambique's 1975 independence from Portugal, Renamo (the Mozambican National Resistance Movement) boasts a bloody history of resistance to communist rule during the Cold War era.

It opposed the newly formed Marxist-leaning government led by the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) with its guerrillas engaging in deadly sabotage activities, attacking villages and blowing up infrastructure.

Tensions between Frelimo and Renamo escalated into a civil war fought between 1977 and 1992.

Backed by colonial Rhodesia, Renamo was used to destabilise the Frelimo government, which supported the Zimbabwe liberation fighters.

Following Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, Renamo formed alliances with South Africa's apartheid regime, which supplied it with arms.

Dwindling political support

More than a million people were killed during the 16-year bush war.

A Rome peace accord signed in 1992 ended the war and paved the way for multi-party elections held in 1994. Renamo lost and became the official opposition.

In the 2009 poll it garnered only 16.5 percent of the vote, losing to President Armando Guebuza and prompting Renamo's dejected leader Afonso Dhlakama to threaten fresh civil strife.

Facing dwindling political support, Dhlakama in October 2012 set up camp in the Gorongosa mountains and undertook fresh training for former guerrilla fighters numbering no more than a thousand.

In November, he told AFP he was willing to "destroy Mozambique" if Renamo did not get a bigger slice of the country's growing wealth.

The rebel group-turned-opposition has repeatedly pushed for greater inclusion in the Frelimo government, calling for the overhaul of electoral laws.

In 2012, it demanded that the government renegotiate the terms of the 1992 peace accord, a plea Frelimo rejected.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.