Death of Dom Jaime has shocked the country – Afonso Dhlakama

The news of the death of Archbishop Emeritus of Beira Dom Jaime Gonçalves has reached Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, who in a telephone conversation had this to say to ‘O País’.
“The events (of early Wednesday April 6) come as a shock to Mozambicans, because beyond his religious work for the Catholic church, Bishop Jaime fought for peace and democracy,” said Dhlakama who, at every pause in the conversation would mention that Dom Jaime had been a great brother.
“I would like to recall that Dom Jaime was in Rome for two-and-a-half years representing the Catholic church as a mediator. He succeeded, through distinct ways, in talks with Frelimo and with Renamo. Indeed, it was he who brought to Marínguè the message from the Vatican in April 1988. On that occasion he landed by plane and met to tell me that he wanted to negotiate, when President Chissano was afraid that Renamo would attack in Maputo. I told him to reassure the president because our intention was to negotiate.”
The Renamo leader’s memories did not stop there. Going back further in time, Afonso Dhlakama recalled an episode when he was still a member of Frelimo.
“I remember when Dom Jaime returned from Rome in the 70s, he celebrated Mass in Beira. I was there. At the time, I was still a comrade in Frelimo. In that context – Samora Machel was president – Dom Jaime argued that we should not accept communism.”
“Dom Jaime will be remembered as a man who fought for democracy, even before Renamo,” Dhlakama said, expressing his condolences to the Catholic Church and Dom Jaime’s family, and saying that he regretted not being able to attend the funeral for security reasons.
Source: O País