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A new era for Renamo

Zitamar Weekly newsletter, 19 January 2019

Good afternoon. Our normal operations were disrupted this week as Zitamar headed to the Gorongosa mountain range to see the election of Ossufo Momade as leader of Renamo, fully inheriting the job that he’d taken on on an interim basis after the death of Afonso Dhlakama in May 2018.

SEE: Ossufo Momade promises to work for peace as new leader of Renamo

Difficulties with communications from the mountains meant we were still publishing our reports from the Congress this morning - and they also led to a mix-up in the Zitamar newsroom that meant we reported that the appointment of Elias Dhlakama as Secretary General was a done deal. It was not, and still isn’t - and could become an ongoing saga which detracts from the main opposition party’s preparations for October’s general elections.

SEE: New Renamo leader mulls no.2 appointment after Dhlakama warns of ‘separation’

That would be even more good news for Filipe Nyusi, who will have been pleased to see Momade continue in charge of peace negotiations on the Renamo side, but faces a strong challenge from him in October’s election, if he can keep Renamo united.

SEE: Uncaught Tuna: The Nyusi-Momade partnership lives on

There was mixed news this week for jailed reporter Amade Abubacar, who has been returned to the civilian authorities by the military - but who yesterday saw the court in his home district of Macomia rule that his detention so far has been legal.

The Macomia court has a history of cracking down on journalists operating in the district. Zitamar first got in contact with Amade in 2016 when his colleague was sentenced to a year in jail for quoting an employee of state electricity company EDM without her permission.

With the support of international press freedom and human rights bodies, we will keep the spotlight on Amade’s case and hope to set a precedent that courts in remote districts of Mozambique can't be allowed to continue violating human rights while nobody notices.

SEE: Journalist Amade Abubacar to face incitement charge

Finally, a reminder to sign up, for free, to Zitamar’s channels on Telegram. Our breaking news channel alerts subscribers whenever we publish a new article, and our Live Blog provides running updates on the most important developments in the country - from Zitamar and other credible sources.

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In neighbouring Zimbabwe, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter have all been blocked by the government, but Telegram is still working - and Zimbabwean civil society organisation has set up this channel to keep people informed. So download the app today - as Mozambique heads towards crucial elections, you never know when it might come in handy.

Have a great weekend.