Maputo, Mozambique | AFP | Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi vowed on Monday to push ahead with national peace talks after he was overwhelmingly re-elected leader of the ruling Frelimo party at a five-yearly conference.
Nyusi, who has ruled the country since 2015 and is likely to stand again in 2019 presidential elections, recently held preliminary talks with Afonso Dhlakama, head of the rival Renamo group.
Renamo fought a 16-year civil war against Frelimo until 1992 before becoming an opposition political party that again took up arms in 2013.
“Effective peace and national reconciliation is an urgent task that is incumbent on us all regardless of political affiliation,” Nyusi told the six-day party conference in Maputo that ended early Monday.
“There is no doubt that the work that awaits me is arduous,” he added.
Dhlakama, who has been based since 2015 in a secret mountain hideout surrounded by armed loyalists, said last month that he expected to sign a peace deal with Nyusi soon.
Clashes between the Frelimo government forces and Renamo last year revived the spectre of the bloody civil war.
Renamo, which holds seats in parliament, is seeking greater decentralisation and better integration of its supporters into the police and military.
“The triumph of President Nyusi will lie in an agreement with Afonso Dhlakama,” Eusebio Gwembe, a professor of modern history at the Pedagogical University in Maputo, told AFP.
“Convincing Frelimo’s reticent members that reconciliation with Renamo is the way to strengthen Frelimo requires persistence.”
Frelimo will meet again in early 2018 to choose its official candidate for the presidential elections.