Benjamin * wants peace. A former soldier of RENAMO (Mozambican National Resistance), he dreams of working in his field again, in Cheringoma district, Sofala province.
Like other veterans in central Mozambique, he hopes to grow his own vegetables, corn, beans and cassava, and possibly raise chickens and goats.
Just a few months ago, Benjamin became one of thousands of RENAMO veterans participating in the “disarmament, discharge, and reintegration” (DDR) process.
The DDR is a central component of the Maputo Accord, the peace agreement between the Governments of Mozambique and RENAMO that formally ended decades of conflict and insecurity and brought communities together when it was signed in 2019.
UNCDF / Karel Prinsloo
‘We are happy to be back’
Now, Benjamin is learning new skills alongside members of the community he left over 20 years ago and reconnecting with his family.
“As soon as I was reintegrated into the community and society, I felt relieved and happy. We are happy to be back,” said Benjamin. “Since we came to the community, there have been no problems; I was welcomed like a brother.”
Galício António, head of the Nhamaze Administration station in the Gorongosa district, confirms Benjamin’s feelings and the importance of reconciliation. “They’re back and they’re back in production,” he announced. They are educating their children, they are integrating into social life, they are participating in the community”.
The role of the UN in the program is to assist authorities in increasing the inclusion of local voices in planning and budgeting activities, providing a solid foundation for promoting lasting peace, reconciliation. nation and inclusive sustainable development.
Through the program, local governments listen to the voices and needs of local communities in identifying and selecting essential infrastructure and public services provided by the districts themselves to their communities, to promote local sustainable development and climate change adaptation.
Benjamin’s hope is the same as that of other veterans and communities affected by the conflict in Mozambique: they want to build new, productive lives for themselves, their families, and their communities. By supporting these dreams in a practical way, the UN is helping them create a better future for Mozambique.
“I’m very happy; the community is happy,” said Benjamin. “This peace must continue. This is our will”.
*Name has been changed.
UNCDF / Philip Hatcher-Moore