Mozambican National Resistance

Published 7th October, 2014

The Mozambican National Resistance or RENAMO was founded in 1975 as an anti-communist resistance movement in 1975 and its first leader was André Matsangaissa. The party describes itself as Right-wing and believes in Nationalism, Populism and Conservatism.

RENAMO took up arms against the FRELIMO government in 1975 after they had declared a one-party state. Matsangaissa was killed in 1989 and Afonso Dhlakama became the new leader and has remained their leader to this day.

From 1976 the Marxist FRELIMO and RENAMO fought a bitter civil war which cost the lives of more than one million people. The civil war ended in 1992 with the signing of the Rome General Peace Accords and two years later fresh multi-party elections were held.

In 1994 RENAMO came second with 112 of the 250 seats in the Assembly of the Republic whilst Dhlakama came second in the Presidential election with 33.73% of the vote. This was a position that was to repeat itself over and over again. In 1999 RENAMO took 117 seats and Dhlakama came second with 47.71% of the vote.

In 2004 Dhlakama dropped to 31.74% and RENAMO took 90 seats whilst in 2009 Dhlakama dropped once more to 16.41% of the vote, still in second place and the party won just 51 seats. RENAMO were deeply unhappy with the result of the 2009 election and accused FRELIMO of ballot stuffing.

In October 2012 RENAMO’s Dhlakama, began retraining a small group of veterans. They cited unhappiness with the political system and that the proceeds of economic development were not being shared fairly. The government failed to take them seriously at first and by April 2013 they had headed for the jungle and were attacking the armed forces and police. Around 100 people were killed before the government started talking to Afonso Dhlakama. In August 2014 the two sides signed a peace agreement and Dhlakama announced that he would be standing in the 2014 Presidential elections. According to an AFP report he said “After the beautiful dream of two decades ago when peace seemed to be for always, we saw a systematic concentration of power in the hands of those in power… many are in this room.”

Dhlakama is the party’s candidate again in the 2014 Presidential election.

The Mozambican National Resistance is an observer member of the Centrist Democrat International.

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