Mozambique’s main opposition party, Renamo, said on Wednesday that peace talks with the government were on hold due to its allegations of fraud in this month’s local elections.
Renamo said the election authorities had falsified results and robbed it of victory in five of the 53 municipalities.
The October 10 polls were seen as a key test of the peace process between the ruling Frelimo party and Renamo, which maintains an armed wing.
The two movements fought a civil war until 1992, and new peace talks started in 2016 after another outbreak of fighting between the government and Renamo rebels.
“Now the peace negotiation is on hold,” Renamo spokesperson Andre Magibire told reporters shortly after the electoral commission confirmed the results.
Among the disputed municipalities is Matole, the country’s largest city, which borders on the capital Maputo.
“Our priority is to manage the electoral conflict,” he said. “We are struggling to recover the five cities which were stolen.”
The party has gone to court to challenge the results.
“The resumption of peace talk depends on what the Constitutional Court will say,” Magibire said.
“To negotiate you need to be happy. We’re frustrated with the fraud.”
President Filipe Nyusi and Renamo’s new leader Ossufo Momade had recently made progress on a key sticking point in the talks – the disarmament and integration of former Renamo rebels into the police and army.
But analysts cast doubt on future progress of the peace process.
“There is no trust between the parties. With the state apparatus being used for the victory of Frelimo, Renamo will not hand over the weapons,” Domingos do Rosario, a political scientist at Mondlane University in Maputo, told AFP.
Renamo fought a brutal 16-year civil war against the Frelimo government that left one million people dead before the fighting stopped in 1992.
Fresh violence erupted from 2013 to 2016 between Renamo rebels and government troops before peace talks began.
The electoral commission on Wednesday released complete results, handing Frelimo 44 municipalities, leaving Renamo with eight and a small opposition party with one.
Frelimo has ruled Mozambique since its independence from Portugal in 1975.