Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

UN Delays in Mozambique May Push Back Elections

UN Delays in Mozambique May Push Back Elections

Six weeks after the Security Council approved it, the United Nations Operation in Mozambique has barely started its task of getting the war-ravaged nation ready for elections. Fewer than 100 of the 7,500 monitors involved had arrived by the end of January, and the $332 million budget had yet to be approved.

About these ads

It now seems unlikely that elections can be organized by October, as stipulated in the 1992 cease-fire agreement that ended 16 years of civil war. Aldo Ajello, the UN special representative, says the elections could be delayed until May 1994.

UN officials agree with local leaders that events in Yugoslavia, Angola, Cambodia, and Somalia have distracted UN attention from Mozambique.

Agreement by the government to allow multiple political parties and free elections led to the cease-fire accord signed Oct. 4 in Rome. That plan calls for creating a new army under joint control and holding elections under UN supervision, all within a year.

Political leaders, foreign diplomats, and UN officials agree that both government and rebel forces must be demobilized before the election campaign begins. They cite the case of Angola, where fighting has resumed after elections last year that ended an equally long civil war. Angolan Rebels Close In

Angolan rebels sabotaged power supplies to Luanda, the capital, just two weeks after cutting off the capital's water supply.

Joao Simas, head of the state electricity company, said the rebels struck four high-tension pylons at Cambambe, 85 miles northeast of Luanda. The attack on the electricity supplies came just as water was returning to Luanda. The government said yesterday it would reinstate mandatory military service.

The rebels have won control of about three-quarters of Angola since rejecting their defeat in the country's first democratic elections last September. Peace talks scheduled to resume tomorrow in Ethiopia were indefinitely suspended over the weekend. Zambia in Zaire's Shadow

About these ads

Zambian officials said yesterday they were turning down scores of applications for political asylum by Zairian refugees, who the officials said were taking advantage of the instability in Zaire. Lameck Mwaba, Zambia's commissioner on refugees, would not specify how many applications by refugees had been turned down, but said a greater influx was possible unless Zairians resolved their political differences.

Zaire's President Mobutu Sese Seko and Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi are locked in a bitter struggle for power. Mr. Mobutu has called for a judicial inquiry into whether his rival, Mr. Tshisekedi, incited riots that killed an estimated 1,000 people in Kinshasa, the capital, last week.

The violence broke out when Army soldiers and shopkeepers refused to accept a new currency issued by Mobutu but not recognized by Tshisekedi. Rwandan Civil War Flares

Government and rebel troops fought yesterday in northern Rwanda, according to military sources. The flare-up is one of several violations of a cease-fire signed last July during peace talks in Tanzania. The government says 300 people have died and 4,400 forced to flee their home since Jan. 22.

The civil war, which began with a rebel invasion from Uganda in October 1990, revived ethnic hatreds between the Tutsi tribe, which dominates the rebel ranks, and the Hutu people who make up 85 percent of the population.

Peace talks were to resume Jan. 28, but the rebels accused the government of fanning the violence and refused to participate. That session was to consider the integration of forces, the repatriation of refugees, and the settlement of displaced people.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.