Mozambican parliament sworn in

Opposition threatens to form breakaway state

Outgoing Mozambican president Armando Guebuza opened the nation's new parliament in Maputo on 12 January.

The new president Filipe Nyusi of Frelimo will be inaugurated as president of Mozambique on 15 January, replacing Guebuza who is stepping down after serving the maximum two terms.

However the new parliament, which includes 144 deputies from Guebuza's ruling Frelimo party, is being boycotted by main opposition leader Afonso Dhlakama and his 89 deputies in the Renamo party.

Dhlakama refuses to accept the results of last October's presidential elections won by Nyusi of Frelimo, claiming widespread irregularities and fraud, despite the polls being described as “free and fair” by international observers.

The Renamo leader is now threatening to create a parallel government in six provinces (out of 11) in the central and gas-rich northern regions of the country, to be known as Republic of Central and Northern Mozambique, of which he would become president.

The 61-year-old former rebel leader only emerged from hiding in September after two years on the run. He subsequently signed a landmark peace deal with Guebuza, ending a two-year insurgency that led to scores of deaths in central Mozambique and damaged the country's tourism and mining industries.

He has lost every election to Frelimo since the end of Mozambique's civil war, a brutal 15-year conflict which resulted in one million deaths and ended in 1992.

Fremlino has governed Mozambique since independence from Portugal in 1975 and over the years has faced persistent accusations of corruption and reserving state jobs and business contracts for its members.