HARARE – The re-emergence of insurgencies by Renamo (Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana) in Mozambique threatens the economic interests of Zimbabwe and must be repelled with military might before further escalation occurs.
Given its historical banditry exploits, Renamo has double the capacity of Al Shabbab and Boko Haram combined and its actions can be least be described as deadly.
The recent attacks on Mozambique’s security stations by Renamo in the past six months is posing biggest risk to the flow of key fuel and food imports into Zimbabwe via Beira and Maputo.
Zimbabwe, last year, imported through Mozambique 1,4 billion litres of fuel, 250 000mt of wheat, more than 50 000mt of rice, more than 40 000mt of wheat flour, several thousands tonnes of fertilisers, agricultural inputs, fish, and vehicles.
It is apparent that if Renamo’s current insurgencies escalate, these critical imports will be unable to reach our mainland and consequently cause serious food shortages and massive price hikes.
The refugee exodus, which has already started, albeit, in small numbers, will grow out of control.
The Zimbabwe Government, with its limited fiscal legroom, will undoubtedly be unable to financially attend to the needs of these refugees.
Further, the disappearance of the so-called humanitarian NGOs after the July 31 plebiscite will only leave the poorly funded United Nations unable to deal with this crisis single handedly.
Already, United Nations is failing to provide for the refuges in the Middle East due to the Syria Civil War.
Renamo was formed in 1975 to serve as an anti-Communist political establishment mainly sponsored by the former Rhodesian regime’s intelligence unit.
Its first leader, Andre Matsangaissa was killed by the Mozambican Army on October 17, 1979 and was succeeded by Afonso Dhlakama who leads the organisation up to present day.
The group waged civil war from 1975 to 1992 and was primarily established to basically achieve mainly three objectives.
Firstly, the idea was to destabilise and extinguish the Frelimo government in Mozambique that was and is still championing the black majority rule so that they takeover as a government subservient to Western economic interests.
Secondly, it was to ensure that Mozambique did not provide a launching pad for the African National Congress’s Umkhonto weSizwe which was fighting for the fall of the Apartheid regime in its motherland.
The Nkomati accord was signed by the governments of South Africa and Mozambique to have all ANC cadres resident in Mozambique expelled and in return, the South African regime would stop supporting Renamo materially and financially.
Off course, Frelimo did not honour this covenant and the Renamo support continued.
Thirdly and more importantly, militarily demolish Zanu PF’s war infrastructure in Mozambique and inflict a debilitating blow to the prosecution of the Second Chimurenga.
Its sponsors included West Germany, Apartheid South Africa’s regime, Portugal and America’s CIA.
Renamo committed unprecedented mass killings of non-combatants including women and children, forced recruitment of child soldiers and, destruction of key national infrastructure.
During its reign of terror, Renamo made 101 attacks in Zimbabwe, which included deadly attacks on a Zimbabwe army base near Dukosa on June 17, 1987 and a month later in July, also attacked the Katiyo Tea Estates destroying valuable assets and killed three men in Rushinga.
A 1992 peace pact saw Renamo forming a political party and allowed to contest in the Mozambican general elections up to present date.
In 1994, Joachim Chissano trounced Dhlakama in a presidential race winning by 53,3percent against 33,7percent.
Later in 1999 he lost again to Chissano by 52,3percent to 47,7percent.
In 2004, Dhlakama was embarrassed again when Armado Guebuza won 63,7percent of the vote against 31,7percent.
Renamo’s top commander, Daviz Simango led a splinter group and formed a new political party signaling serious fissures within the former rebel movement and discontent due to Dhlakama’s geriatric rule.
In October 2012, Renamo moved its headquarters from Maputo to Casa Banana in Gorongosa area and Dhlakama declared unilaterally the termination of the peace agreement. Now the insurgencies have started again in Mozambique.
In April 2013, Renamo militants attacked the riot police headquarters in central Mozambique killing several police details and wounding hundreds in an attempt to “rescue” fellow militants who were under lawful custody.
On October 17, this year, Renamo commemorated the death of their first leader by ambushing a military patrol in Gorongosa killing seven soldiers. The onslaught continues.
The developed and democratically advanced leading nations of the west remain notoriously quiet on the latest conduct of Renamo.
The United Nations have come and gone without America moving motion to impose sanctions on Renamo We now see another M24 Rebel Movement — in Mozambique, which will be heavily armed and resourced and let to indulge with impunity.
The recent discovery of coal and gas in some areas formerly controlled by Renamo is a serious manifestation of a resource curse syndrome.
It seems they are investors already lining up to make deals with Dhlakama despite the potential of destabilising the entire Sadc region.
It is definitely not a coincidence that there is no civic society in Mozambique funded by the West to report and protest against the shenanigans of Dhlakama and his Renamo as was the case in Marange where Farai Maguwu and his coterie where well oiled by Canada and USaid to tell the world of non-existent genocide.
Off course the securocrats are best placed to deal with this unfolding drama but it’s uncontroverted that action has to be taken now.
It will give business the necessary comfort if the Beira-Forbes route is now guarded by joint military personnel (Zimbabwe and Mozambique).
The current Renamo threat has the potential of altering the trading terms on Beira bound shipments including a big increase in insurance premiums on all shipments destined for Beira and definitely the Zimbabwe consumer will fit the bill.