Mozambique president delivers peace tribute at funeral of opposition chief

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Mozambican President Philip Nyusi on Wednesday led the nation in mourning veteran opposition leader and former guerilla, Afonso Dhlakama.

Dhlakama, led the Renamo movement from its guerilla days till its transition into a democratic party, he died on May 3 at 65 in his entrenched camp after leading the movement for close to four decades.

His funeral took place amidst outpouring of grief at the port city of Beira. Thousands mourned as Dhlakama’s remains were carried to the city’s square for a full state burial. Dhlakama will be buried in his native village later today.

Whiles delivering his tribute to Dhlakama, his longtime foe in the days of armed struggle, President Nyusi reiterated his readiness to continue peace talks with the successor of the historic opposition leader.

“I will continue on the path we have begun together, the path that leads to peace. I am ready for that,” he said of his foe turned friend in the Mozambique National Resistance.

The unexpected death had cast doubt on the outcome of the peace talks he had recently begun with Nyusi. Renamo picked Lieutenant General Ossufo Momade, as interim leader till a substantive head is elected at a later date.

Renamo was transformed into a political party following the end of a deadly civil war between 1976-1992. A leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement, another opposition party has warned, that the death of Dhlakama cannot be an excuse to return to the one-party system.