- On the 20th anniversary of the tragic death of Mozambique's first president, Samora Machel, on South African soil, President Thabo Mbeki has revealed new details on the two countries' historic relations. Especially the non-aggression pact between Mozambique and apartheid South Africa had caused "difficult days" between Mr Mbeki's ANC and the Maputo ruling party FRELIMO.
Mozambican President Armando Guebuza met with his South African counterpart Mbeki during the anniversary marking of ex-President Machel's death, just inside South Africa. Mr Mbeki had announced his presence in his weekly letter published on the website of the ruling ANC party the weekend before.
Also in his letter, Mr Mbeki made several revelations on the past relations between the two countries, from a time when white supremacists ruled in Pretoria and the ANC was illegalised and fought a guerrilla war against the apartheid rulers, using bases in allied neighbouring countries. Mozambique under the Marxist FRELIMO rule of Mr Machel was one of these countries, and was made to pay a heavy price by the insurgence of South Africa-backed rebels RENAMO.
In his unequivocal homage to ex-President Machel, Mr Mbeki however also mentioned the "difficult days" between FRELIMO and ANC, following Mozambique's bowing under pressure in 1984, when President Machel decided to sign a pact of non-aggression with South Africa, known as the "Agreement of Nkomati".
President Mbeki claims that Samora Machel, as he had to explain to the ANC leader Oliver Tambo what the Agreement of Nkomati would mean to the ANC, he was not capable of doing it. The South African President says that Mr Samora "shed bitter tears," ordering Mariano Matsinhe to give clarifications to Mr Tambo to assure that the ANC closed its Mozambican front.
'mediaFAX' has contacted several sources to get a possible confirmation of this version of the 1984 events. The daily newspaper obtained confirmations that Oliver Tambo and Samora Machel indeed had met at Bilene beach to discuss the implications of the terms of the agreement Mozambique had reached with apartheid South Africa.
According to the same sources, President Machel had explained the general terms to Mr Tambo. The specific details of the agreement's implications for the ANC representation in Mozambique were discussed in a meeting between Mr Tambo and Mariano Matsinhe, also in Bilene. Óscar Monteiro, another high FRELIMO official, had accompanied the ANC President to Bilene.
Mr Mbeki's letter further acknowledged that President Machel had been forced to sign the 1984 Nkomati agreement "to bring peace to the Mozambican people and to defend the independence of Mozambique" at a time when the civil war with RENAMO was tearing the nation apart. And despite these critical details surrounding the Nkomati agreement, Mr Mbeki strongly emphasises the great friendship between the two diseased leaders, Mr Tambo and Mr Machel.
He tells that in 1976, President Machel had asked Mr Tambo to go to the southern Mozambican province of Gaza to visit his father. But what Mr Samora really wanted, according to Mr Mbeki, was for Mr Tambo to convince the population of Gaza of the need to support Zimbabwe's fight for freedom and to be prepared to suffer the foreseen violence launched by the Ian Smith regime of thus-Rhodesia.
He concludes that Mr Tambo indeed spent many days in Gaza, where he dialogues with the population, telling them that the ANC and FRELIMO had recognised the liberation of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe as a common, principal and immediate aim.
The Nkomati agreement was signed in March 1984 between the states of South Africa and Mozambique, as President Machel was to reveal several days later, at a meeting in Kape Kape, a historic township outside the Mozambican capital Maputo.
The key aim of the Nkomati pact of non-aggression and good neighbourhood was to stop the large-scale destabilising of all Mozambique, until then financed by the apartheid regime. Pretoria's funding, arming and training of the brutal RENAMO rebels had been the high price FRELIMO had to pay for its support of the ANC and the Zimbabwean freedom fighters.
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