Mozambique Opposition Suspends Peace Talks Amid Poll Dispute

(Bloomberg) -- Mozambique’s biggest opposition party froze peace talks with the government after challenging some results of this month’s local elections that gave the former rebel group control of eight municipalities.

Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana, or Renamo, had its best showing yet in the Oct. 10 vote, but has asked the southeast African nation’s top court to rule on the outcome in five municipalities.

“We’re waiting for a decision from the Constitutional Court on five cities that we won but were stolen,” Andre Magibire, a Renamo spokesman, said Wednesday. “Now the peace negotiation is on hold. Our priority is to manage the electoral conflict.”

Renamo was involved in a 16-year civil war that claimed the lives of as many as 1 million people and ended in 1992. The organization resumed peace talks with the government in 2016 following some renewed fighting.

Interim leader Ossufo Momade called for an independent commission of inquiry led by the United Nations to investigate fraud in the five municipalities where Renamo has disputed the outcome. While he didn’t confirm the party has frozen peace talks, he said alleged vote rigging could threaten the process.

“No military specialist will solve our problems while its roots, which is electoral fraud, is not solved,” Momade told reporters in Maputo, the capital, by phone.

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