Mozambique's President Nyusi, Renamo leader Dhlakama hold peace talks

President Filipe Nyusi. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi and the leader of the country’s main opposition party Afonos Dhlakama have renewed talks on ending hostilities.

A statement from the presidency notes that a meeting between President Nyusi and the leader of theMozambican National Resistance (Renamo) focussed on the "next steps needed for the peace process."

At the Sunday meeting, the two leaders also vowed to continue with the peace dialogue with a view to ending hostilities by the end of the year.

The meeting at Gorongosa hill in the central Sofala province was the first this year. The venue is believed to be Mr Dhlakama’s hideout.

The two leaders have met twice before for peace talks.

Political impasse

A political impasse ensued after the Renamo leader rejected the October 2014 election results which brought back the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) party to power, saying the exercise was fraudulent.

Frelimo has dominated the country's politics since it gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

The party, which has been riding on the freedom agenda, waged a 10-year battle for independence from the Portuguese.

The Sunday meeting also comes at a time two commissions established last year by both the government and Renamo are yet to reach consensus on matters touching on decentralisation, including governorship, and the military such as how to disarm militia. 

Without giving more details, the presidential statement also notes that the two leaders agreed to continue monitoring the commissions. 

Civil war  

After gaining independence, Mozambique descended into a civil war in which rebel group Renamo waged a 16-year battle against Frelimo that ended in 1992.

An estimated one million people were killed during the war.

In 2013, Renamo took up arms again but agreed to a truce in August the following year ahead of the elections.

Frelimo and Renamo have, however, failed to resolve the post-October 2014 political stalemate, further destabilising the country.

Mozambique today remains one of the world's poorest countries, with more than half of its 24 million population living below the poverty line.

The southern African country ranks 180th on the United Nations Human Development Index out of 188 countries.

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