by Richard Chidowore
Caetano Domingo watched with little interest as the older people in his village in Zambezia Province celebrated the ceasefire agreement between the government and the Mozambique National Resistance (MNR or Renamo).

At 16, Kaitano is as old as the war itself and does not know what peace would look like.

A peace agreement was finally achieved on 4 October, more than two years after talks started in Rome. In all, 10 protocols were signed prior to the settlement.

The days leading to the ceasefire agreement saw intense regional efforts to defuse the conflict. The chairman of the Frontline States (FLS). Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, travelled to Malawi, Botswana and Italy to mediate while Botswana President, Sir Ketumile Masire, offered his country as a venue for preliminary rounds of the negotiations.

The peace accord is also a result of the mediation role of the Italian government and the Roman Catholic Church which encouraged the negotiators to persevere despite MNR atrocities that continued throughout the peace process.

The United Nations is expected to play a major role. According to protocols attached to the peace agreement, the world body will, among other things, monitor the implementation of the peace agreement and oversee unification of the army and elections. It will also coordinate UN relief efforts to mobilize food aid to reach millions of people affected by drought and war.

The government and MNR have also agreed to involve UN agencies in implementing the repatriation and reintegration of refugees and displaced persons. War and drought caused more than 2 million people to seek refuge in neighbouring countries and displaced almost 4 million others internally. The International Red Cross and other organizations have been invited to assist.

In the interim, the UN has appealed to Renamo to allow planes to carry food aid to territories under its control. Civilians continue to die from lack of food as aid cannot reach some areas controlled by MNR.

A former Italian parliamentarian, Aldo Ajello, beads the UN advance team of 25 military observers who will monitor the ceasefire and set up a peace-keeping operation: UN Operation in Mozambique (Unomo).

A general amnesty has been approved by the country’s parliament in line with the peace agreement.

“We need calm and determination to implement this agreement Peace should be built by all of us with our eyes turned towards the future,” President Chissano told parliament.

Under the peace agreement, Zimbabwean troops will begin to withdraw almost immediately and are expected to complete the process in a month’s time. The troops who now number less than 5, 000 entered Mozambique in 1982 to protect communication routes to the sea which had become targets of sabotage by the South African Defence Force (SADF) and MNR.

“We do expect that there won’t be any further attacks on our routes;” said President Mugabe at a press conference in Harare after the ceasefire agreement

Concurrently negotiations are underway in Angola to try and convince Jonas Savimbi. The Unita leader, to accept the results of national elections held on 29 and 30 September.

Savimbi earlier threatened to resume the war if the results of the elections were not cancelled. Official results of the elections judged free and fair by international observers, showed the incumbent MPI.A won 53.74 percent of the votes for 223 seats in the national assembly while Unita won 34.1 percent.

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, the MPI.A leader, won almost half (49.57 percent) of the votes in the presidential election, falling just short of an overall majority, thus necessitating a run-off election with the closest challenger, Savimbi, who received 40.07 percent.

The international community is urging Savimbi to respect the decision of the Angolan people in the election. The United States and South Africa, who supported Unita during the 16-year war, are also trying to convince Savimbi to join a government of national unity.

Organisation of African Unity (OAU) chairman, Senegalese President Abdou Diouf appealed to Savimbi to honour earlier agreements to “form a government of national reconciliation no matter which party wins.”

“It is no use wanting multi-party politics if when you Jose you say – I am going back to the bush,” former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere said of Savimbi’s threats.

UN involvement in Angola dates back to January 1989 when its observers were deployed under the United Nations Angola Verification Mission I (UNA VEM I). This followed agreements on the implementation of Security Council Resolution 435 (1978) which led to Namibia’s independence.

The agreements resulted in phased withdrawal of 50,000 Cuban troops, then in Angola to support the MPI.A government against South African invasion and aggression.

More than 500 observers under UNA YEM 11 assisted in verifying the peace accords for Angola. This included the registration of voters and monitoring of the Angolan police during the ceasefire.

Other aspects of UN assistance include food, health and other humanitarian aid to assembled and demobilized troops and to more than 800,000 displaced and 40,000 people mutilated by war. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will assist in the return and resettlement of more than 300,000 Angolan refugees remaining in Zaire and Zambia.

Regional and international cooperation in the service of peace have also been at work in South Africa where violence threatens talks which started after liberation movements were unbanned in February 1990.

Following the Boipatong massacre in June in which 42 people were killed, the OAU appealed to the UN to send observers to South Africa.

Immediately after the OAU appeal, a UN Special Representative, Cyrus Vance was sent on a 10-day mission to assess the situation. This was followed by 10 UN observers who worked with the National Peace Secretariat to observe mass action, political rallies and demonstrations.

Again, in August, the Security Council recommended that 50 observers go to South Africa to work closely With the National Peace Secretariat in trying to end the violence.

An eight-member OAU delegation was in South Africa for three weeks in September to ma1ce an assessment and to investigate ways in which its monitors could help. The OAU Ad-Hoc Committee on South Africa has since decided to send observers and a special representative to cooperate with UN observers and others already in that country.

At a meeting in Gaborone on 15 October which also discussed the situation in Angola and Mozambique, the Ad-Hoc Committee urged the liberation movements and other ·progressive forces” to work together in their fight against apartheid.

The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, has made several trips to South Africa. He dispatched a fact-finding mission to that country in September and has just announced that a team of 18 observers are going to South Africa to help to end violence in that country.

“All the major parties now accept that unless the violence is brought under control no progress can be made in the negotiations,” chief Anyaoku said.

‘That is clear from the Record of Understanding signed between President F. W. de Klerk and Mr Nelson Mandela on September 26. More recently it was underlined in President de Klerk’s statement of October 12 to parliament.

“Ending the violence is therefore a national imperative. The Commonwealth team will help to achieve this objective.”

The European Community is also trying to use its influence on the apartheid-ruled state to get negotiations restarted. An EC ministerial delegation was in South Africa in September and met with government officials and leaders of the liberation movements.

These efforts to resolve conflict in the region are likely to continue until a democratic government is in place in South Africa.

In the meantime, Caetano Domingo waits impatiently to find out what peace is like. (SARDC)

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