ZIMBABWE will be part of an International Observer Military Team for the Cessation of Military Hostilities (EMOCHM) in Mozambique which will monitor the implementation of the peace accord between Renamo and the Frelimo government ahead of the country’s crucial elections on October 15.
Mozambique’s Frelimo government and the country’s main opposition party, Renamo, signed a peace agreement last Sunday.
Zimbabwe is part of 23 foreign military observers from Botswana, South Africa, Kenya, Cape Verde, Portugal, Italy, Britain and the United States, among others. The observer military teams will also comprise of 35 each from the Mozambican government and Renamo. They will be based in Maputo with delegations in Inhambane, Sofala, Tete and Namapula provinces.
The EMOCHM central command will be headed by a brigadier from Botswana, assisted by four colonels, a Zimbabwean, an Italian and two Mozambicans (one appointed by the government and one by Renamo).
Their task will be to observe, monitor and guarantee implementation of the cessation of military hostilities and the start of the subsequent phases.
The signing of the agreement declared an end to nearly two years of clashes between armed followers of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama and the security forces of President Armando Guebuza’s government.
Elements of the peace accord which have been announced between the former civil war foes include an amnesty law that will allow Dhlakama to leave his temporary hideaway in the bush and run for the presidency in the forthcoming elections.
Political tensions escalated in Mozambique in September last year after Renamo started attacking government positions in the central areas of the country, the same areas where they concentrated their banditry in the 1980s and early 1990s while backed by the then apartheid South Africa.
Since the beginning of the clashes, Zimbabwe was on high alert and closely monitoring its border with Mozambique, but did not deploy any troops.
Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi in November last year said the government was closely monitoring the situation in Mozambique.
“Our main concern is the security of our railway and pipelines; so we do not want any instability in Mozambique,” he said.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces director of public relations Colonel Overson Mugwisi could not give details of who will be representing Zimbabwe in Maputo.
“We are currently busy with the ongoing Harare Agricultural Show so I do not have any details at hand,” Mugwisi said.