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Afonso Marceta Macacho Dhlakama (born 1 January 1953) is a Mozambican politician and the leader of RENAMO, an anti-communist guerrilla organization that fought the FRELIMO government in the Mozambican Civil War before signing a peace agreement and becoming an opposition political party in the early 1990s.

Dhlakama was born in Mangunde, Sofala Province. After RENAMO's first leader, André Matsangaissa, was killed by Mozambican government forces in 1979, Dklakama became leader after a violent succession struggle, in which rival Orlando Cristina was assassinated. By 1984, Dhalakama was both commander in chief of RENAMO's forces and head of the governing body, the 12-member executive council. RENAMO continued to fight the government before signing a peace agreement in October 1992; it accordingly transformed itself into a legal political party.

Dhlakama has competed as the RENAMO candidate in all three multiparty presidential elections held in Mozambique. In 1994, he was defeated by incumbent President and FRELIMO candidate Joaquim Chissano by a margin of 53.3% to 33.7%. He received 47.7% of the vote in the 1999 presidential election with Chissano capturing 52.3%. In the December 2004 presidential election, he was defeated by FRELIMO candidate Armando Guebuza, who received 63.7% of the vote to his 31.7%.

International observers to the elections criticized the fact that the National Electoral Commission (CNE) did not conduct entirely fair and transparent elections. They listed a whole range of serious shortcomings by the electoral authorities that benefited the ruling party FRELIMO. [1] [2] Some believe that the pronounced outcome of the parliamentary election and thus the distribution of seats in the National Assembly does not reflect the will of the Mozambican people.

Upon the creation of the Council of State, a body tasked with advising the President, Dklahama was included on the Council due to his role as leader of the opposition; he and the other members of the Council were sworn in on 23 December 2005. He said that he accepted his seat on the Council for the sake of national stability.[1] In October 2006, on the 14th anniversary of the peace accords, Dhlakama threatened to form his own army. [3]

Dhlakama was injured in a car crash in Maputo on June 10, 2007. A RENAMO spokesman described the injuries as minor.[2]

Although RENAMO was apparently weakened by the defection of Daviz Simango, who formed a new party, Dhlakama was re-elected for another five-year term as RENAMO leader on 22 July 2009 at a party congress in Nampula Province, defeating another candidate, Rogerio Francisco Joao. He was RENAMO's candidate in the October 2009 presidential election.[3]


  1. ^ "Council of state sworn in", Mozambique News Agency, No.311, 3 January 2006.
  2. ^ "Renamo leader hurt in car crash", Sapa (IOL), June 12, 2007.
  3. ^ "Moz opposition leader re-elected", Sapa (IOL), 22 July 2009.




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