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Mozambican National Resistance
Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana RENAMO


Mozambique's president and the leader of Renamo, a former rebel movement-turned-opposition party, signed a peace accord 01 August 2019 to end armed hostilities. Thousands of Renamo's remaining fighters are disarming just weeks before a visit by Pope Francis and a national election scheduled for mid-October that will test the now-political rivals' new resolve. , Nyusi said: "The agreement that we will sign marks the official end of the conflict between Renamo armed men and the defence and security forces, and allow for the long-lasting peace that all Mozambicans have so longed for." The signing brings an end to a long peace negotiation process initiated by Renamo's former leader, Alfonso Dhlakama, who died in May 2018. Renamo began disarming its members as part of the peace deal that will see the fighters reintegrated into the country's army and police. More than 5,200 Renamo fighters are expected to surrender their weapons to the government, a condition for the peace deal to be signed.

Renamo is an armed rebel group turned political party - Mozambique's main opposition party. RENAMO was founded in 1976, and became a political party in 1992. The main opposition to FRELIMO, it supports reform of public administration, equal opportunity, return of traditional authority, infrastructure modernization, strengthening economy, technological innovation, and attracting foreign investment. Support decreased in recent years.

Established in 1976 by the Rhodesian security services, primarily to operate against anti-Rhodesian guerrillas based in Mozambique. South Africa subsequently developed RENAMO into an insurgent group opposing the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO). Mozambique has a constitutional government headed by President Joaquim Chissano who was elected in the country's first multiparty elections in October 1994. The largest opposition party, RENAMO, made a strong showing in the elections, winning majorities in the country's five most populous provinces. President Chissano and the leadership of his party, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), which had ruled the country since independence in 1975, control policymaking and implementation.

RENAMO was led by Afonso Dhlakama since Andre Matsangaissa's death in 1979. Dhlaltama failed to articulate a speci?c vision for a postwar government or what role he saw for himself and RENAMO in such a government. Instead he espoused only vague political goals that included democratic rule and a Western-style economy.

RENAMO‘s political organization remained plagued by widespread factionalism, corruption, and often incompetent leaders. The external political wing — a small group of RENAMO exiles who were engaged in fundraising and lobbying — was prone to squabbling and was distrusted by most rebel military commanders. The internal political wing was small and underdeveloped and lacked any substantial administrative network in areas under RENAMO‘s military control. Dhlakama‘s numerous personnel changes during 1989, which were intended to strengthen RENAMO politically, led to little improvement.

RENAMO entered 1990 peace negotiations in a weak political position. The insurgency‘s relatively narrow ethnic base among Shona ethnic groups, its birth as an agent of the white minority Rhodesian Government, and history of abuse of civilians limited its popular appeal beyond some segments of the Mozambican peasantry.

Prior Activities

Operated as a guerrilla insurgency against Mozambican Government and civilian targets; frequently ran cross-border operations into Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia, where it murdered and kidnapped numerous civilians and destroyed property. Most insurgents were lightly armed and routinely operate in small bands, although they sometimes formed groups of several hundred when mounting major attacks. They primarily engaged in hit-and-run attacks against economic acilities or military installations, as well as in occasional attacks on larger cities. While the rebels took care to avoid engaging the well-trained and effective Zimbabwean forces, they did conduct cross-border raids into neighboring Zimbabwe and Zambia in retaliation for Harare’s and Lusaka’s military support to the Maputo government.


At one time upwards of 20,000 guerrillas. As of 1990 CIA estimated RENAMO numbered between 15,000 and 20,000 people. RENAMO insurgents appeared less motivated by their political aims than by speci?c personal grievances against the government and by the opportunity to enrich themselves. While RENAMO did not appear capable of achieving a military victory, by 1990 it had a strong, largely self-sustaining ?ghting force that had exploited the weaknesses of the Mozambican Army and substantially destroyed the country‘s infrastructure.

Location/Area of Operation

Mozambique; border areas of Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia. Efforts to reintegrate RENAMO-controlled zones into central administrative structures continue, but RENAMO still exercised informal control over a number of areas through a rudimentary form of civil administration and traditional courts, with extensive use of traditional authorities as judges.

External Aid

Assistance was previously received from South Africa as well as from private individuals and groups in Europe and elsewhere. Although RENAMO captured much of its equipment and supplies from the Mozambican military and civilians, ammunition and supply shortages since late 1989 suggested that RENAMO's main sources of external assistance had been severely curtailed. The South African Government — RENAMO’s traditional supplier of arms and logistic assistance — almost certainly had signi?cantly reduced its material aid to the insurgents because of Pretoria‘s gradual political rapprochement with Maputo and its new regional policy of fostering closer ties to its neighbors. Nonetheless, by 1990 Pretoria maintained close contact with RENAMO in order to retain influence with the insurgents and thus have same say over the terms of a possible peace settlement. RENAMO continued to receive limited ?nancial and material assistance from private sympathizers in South Africa, Pertugal. Brazil, Germany, and the United States, as well as some covert aid from the governments of Malawi and Kenya.

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Page last modified: 10-08-2019 19:05:22 ZULU