Mozambique. It seemed during the year that the violence between the government and the former rebel movement Renamo, which has been going on since 2015, would end. Renamo’s leader Afonso Dhlakama announced a two-month ceasefire in January. According to Countryaah.com, peace talks had already begun and Dhlakama and the country’s President Filipe Nyusi had conversations with each other by telephone. The ceasefire was extended for another two months in March and indefinitely in May.
According to Dhlakama, the ceasefire was “the beginning to the end” of the civil war-like situation that had prevailed since Renamo terminated the 1992 peace agreement in October 2013. Nyusi and Dhlakama met for the first time in two years in early August. After the meeting, a statement from the president’s office was published with the hope that the peace process would arrive before the end of the year.
In October, unknown perpetrators carried out several attacks on police stations in the city of Mocimboa da Praia in the north of the country. Two police officers were killed and, according to public sources, 14 were shot dead by the attackers. A week or so later, suspicions that it was Islamists behind the events could be dismissed. This then arrested over 50 people for involvement in the attacks.
1981 The counter-revolution strikes
However, all these plans were adversely affected by the increasingly cool relationship with the apartheid regime in South Africa, which not only made direct attacks on the country – as in the attack on the suburb of Matola in Maputo in January 81 – but which also supported the counter-revolutionary movement, RENAMO, which consisted of supporters of the Salazard dictatorship and mercenaries. South Africa’s terrorist attacks into Mozambique were predominantly targeted at refugees from the apartheid regime as well as ANC and PAC camps. RENAMO’s acts of sabotage were aimed at economic targets and at intimidating the rural population.
At the end of 82, the government severely cracked down on the black market and launched a comprehensive military offensive against RENAMO in the Gorongosa Mountains. The main objectives of the counter-revolutionaries at this time were the collective villages which had been established after independence with the aim of rationalizing the medical, technical and educational support.
Following FRELIMO’s 4th Congress in April 83, changes in the country’s economic policy began to be discussed. One of the most important issues was the reduction of support for the large agricultural projects towards greater support for the smaller projects. The discussion of the 8 theses of Congress created a comprehensive mobilization in the base, which was encouraged to more closely control the activities of government members. This attempt at political revision was reflected in a radical change in the composition of delegates attending Congress. The vast majority of delegates were farmers and according to the 3rd Congress, the number of female delegates doubled.
The idea of emphasizing the construction of smaller agricultural and industrial units originated from an evaluation of the large state farms. They were made responsible for the excessive centralization, bureaucracy and economic inefficiency.
From 1985, Mozambique entered a critical period. The background was partly RENAMO’s continued terrorist attack and partly the drought that killed many livestock – cattle production fell 70% – and meant a 25% decline in grain production. South Africa’s mere covert support for RENAMO was openly criticized in a speech by President Samora Machel, which characterized it as a breach of the Nkomati agreement between the two countries from March 84, according to which the two countries should refrain from taking aggressive actions against the counterpart.