The 1982-92 war ended in stalemate but with Renamo clearly in the weaker position, forced in the peace accord to recognise the legitimacy of the Frelimo government and national constitution. Renamo became the main opposition political party in parliament, but also retained a small guerrilla army. In the weaker position, Dhlakama used two tactics to put pressure on Frelimo and the government. The first was boycott, regularly walking out of 1992-4 transition talks and subsequently of parliament in an effort to gain concessions, and boycotting local elections in 1998 and 2013. The second was to return to war, in a small way, with attacks on the main north-south N1 road in 2014-6, while maintaining a presence in parliament.
Dhlakama was presidential candidate in all five multiparty elections (1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014) and only once came close to winning, in 1999 when he gained 48% of the vote. He was convinced he had won all five elections and had been defeated by fraud, but studies at London School of Economics show that while there was fraud, it was never enough to explain Dhlakama's loss. His campaigning became increasingly negative, saying he would never be allowed to become president, which gave the message even to supporters that there was no point in voting for him, and his share of the vote fell to 16% in 2009.
May 15, 2018 3 min read
3 min read
Following the death of Afonso Dhlakama, who will succeed him as head of the Mozambican party Renamo? The son of a chief and then commander of a guerrilla army, Afonso Dhlakama maintained very tight personal control over Renamo. At the lowest level, when travelling by road, he personally paid for the fuel when the motorcade stopped at a petrol station. Before he retreated to his Gorongosa base camp, he sometimes watched parliament on television and the Renamo member of the presidium could be seen taking mobile phone calls from Dhlakama with instructions.