Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More



Cablegate: Scene-Setter for Visit of Afonso Dhlakama To

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


E.O. 12958: N/A

B. MAPUTO 1001

1. (SBU) Summary: Opposition party RENAMO's presidential
candidate Afonso Dhlakama will visit Washington following his
attendance at the Republican National Convention. RENAMO
party officials consider Dhlakama's visit to Washington key
for both the party's and the candidate's credibility. As in
past meetings with Embassy officials, Dhlakama will likely be
interested in a range of economic and political topics. Key
bilateral issues that deserve particular attention include
the December general elections, trade and investment,
HIV/AIDS, and GRM participation in regional issues. The visit
will provide an opportunity to gain a better understanding of
Dhlakama's specific policy objectives and campaign
strategies, something that has proved difficult in the past.
End summary.

2. (U) Dhlakama's trip is being organized and funded by the
Konrad Adenauer Foundation. His visit follows trips to
Washington by ruling party FRELIMO presidential candidate
Armando Guebuza and expected third-party PDD presidential
candidate Raul Domingos (Ref B). In addition to meetings with
AF A/S Newman, NSC Senior Director Courville, and MCC CEO
Applegarth, Dhlakama will also speak at a symposium hosted by
IRI, discuss Mozambique's investment climate with US
businesses, and meet with World Bank and International
Monetary Fund officials.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

3. (SBU) On December 1 and 2, Mozambique will hold its third
multi-party presidential elections since independence in
1975. The current president, Joaquim Chissano, will step down
after having served since 1986, winning elections in 1994 and
1999. Chissano and the leadership of FRELIMO dominate
policy-making and implementation. US-Mozambican bilateral
relations have been excellent under Chissano. Mozambique is
the only country in the world to be both a focus country
under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)
and an eligible country for the Millennium Challenge Account

4. (SBU) During November 2003 municipal elections, FRELIMO
won all but 4 of the country's 33 mayorships in what were
considered generally free and fair elections. Though formal
campaigning for the December elections does not officially
begin until October 17, high-level FRELIMO party officials
have already hit the campaign trail, focusing particularly on
northern and central provinces which are likely to be closely
contested. RENAMO officials have been less visible in
campaigning, though Dhlakama has been outspoken regarding
what he considered a highly flawed voter registration
process. Dhlakama has stated that the voter registration
process, which recently ended, deliberately under-registered
or bypassed voters in traditionally RENAMO supported areas.
RENAMO has asked, without success, that the voter
registration process be repeated.

5. (SBU) Another concern for RENAMO has been the National
Electoral Commission's (CNE) decision to allow Mozambicans
living abroad, many of whom are considered to be FRELIMO
supporters, to register to vote. However, no decision has
been taken as to whether Mozambicans living abroad who have
registered will in fact be eligible to vote. Recent conflicts
between armed RENAMO supporters and the police in the central
province of Sofala (Ref A) have highlighted political
tensions in the pre-election period. Dhlakama has met with
European officials regarding the upcoming presidential
elections and has encouraged the participation of
international observers. He visited China in late August.

6. (SBU) Dhlakama came to prominence in 1976, at the start of
the brutal 16-year guerrilla war against FRELIMO. He has been
President of RENAMO since 1980. Since the signing of the Rome
Peace Agreement in 1992, Dhlakama has played a crucial role
in transforming RENAMO into a viable political party and
keeping the disparate factions of his party from lapsing back
into violence. Despite his party disputing the outcome of the
1999 presidential elections, Dhlakama grudgingly accepted the
results, and RENAMO did not revert to violence to press its
case that the FRELIMO victory was fraudulent. He has since
reaffirmed his party's acceptance of reconciliation on
numerous occasions, such as annual ceremonies involving
President Chissano and other FRELIMO officials. In past
meetings with Embassy officials, Dhlakama has expressed
satisfaction with US engagement in Mozambique. Regarding
priorities for the country, he has stressed the need for
greater progress on judicial reform and corruption, as well
the importance of developing national economic production,
particularly in small and medium sized businesses, as a means
of reducing the country's reliance on South African imports.
If RENAMO wins the elections, a key challenge will be to find
technically competent party members to fill key government
positions; Dhlakama claims that many competent figures
support RENAMO, but will not reveal their loyalties before
the election.

7. (SBU) A) Elections: The USG is supporting the electoral
process through financial assistance to the Carter Center and
domestic observer groups. As we did during the municipal
elections, post will send observers to key municipalities
throughout the country. Given recent tensions in Sofala
province (Ref A) and complaints by RENAMO over the voter
registration process, it will be important for USG officials
to gain assurances from Dhlakama of his commitment to a fair
and non-violent electoral process.
B) Trade & Investment: Mozambique has yet to take full
advantage of AGOA, and US trade and investment in Mozambique
remains small. Currently, only one apparel company in
Mozambique is exporting under AGOA, with a second company
expected to begin operations shortly. Mozambique has an
opportunity to address a number of the constraints to
increased trade and investment. It would be interesting to
hear Dhlakama's vision for promoting increased trade and
investment as a mechanism for reducing poverty.
C) HIV/AIDS: Dhlakama has not been particularly vocal on
HIV/AIDS or donor support to combat the epidemic. USG
officials may wish to encourage his active engagement on the
issue. Should Dhlakama raise allegations that the USG is
pursuing a "unilateralist" approach to combating HIV/AIDS,
USG interlocutors can stress that the USG views Mozambique as
a full partner in PEPFAR and is making every effort to ensure
that our programs complement and support Mozambique's.
D) Regional Issues: During his recently-ended Presidency of
the African Union (AU), President Chissano was actively
engaged on broader African issues and sought to use his AU
Presidency both to build stronger African institutions and to
find African-led solutions to Africa's problems. Mozambique's
participation in the AU's peace-keeping operations in Burundi
is one such example. ACOTA has visited Mozambique twice in
the past few months and is planning a Strategy and Planning
Conference for mid-September. We look forward to supporting
the GRM increase its capacity to contribute to peace-keeping
operations and would expect to continue our engagement
regardless of the December election outcome. Dhlakama has in
the past criticized the reluctance of some key African
leaders, such as Mbeki, to take clear positions on regional
issues such as the situation in Zimbabwe. We encourage USG
officials to reaffirm the importance of Mozambique's
continued attention to and participation in regional affairs.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
World Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.