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Resistëncia Nacional Moçambicana (Mozambique)

Mozambique National Resistance Movement (RENAMO)

Last modified: 2014-06-21 by bruce berry
Keywords: renamo | mozambique |
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image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 05 Aug 2008 See also:


The Mozambican National Resistance Movement (Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana  or RENAMO) was formed in 1976 by the then Rhodesian military forces. Rhodesia's white minority government feared that the Marxist regime in newly independent Mozambique (under Front for the Liberation of Mozambique – FRELIMO) would support the guerillas fighting to overthrow the Rhodesian regime. To pre-empt this possible interference, Rhodesia created RENAMO to operate against the FRELIMO government, thus continuing the civil war.  The Rhodesians created RENAMO from disenchanted FRELIMO ex-combatants, opponents of the Marxist FRELIMO regime and former soldiers of the former Portuguese colonial army. Most members were Ndau speakers from the East-Central provinces of Mozambique.

RENAMO's sponsorship changed in 1980 following Zimbabwe's independence.  South Africa then took control of the group and used it to continue to destabilize Mozambique, essentially as a punishment for the FRELIMO regime's support of the African National Congress (ANC) which was then still fighting the minority government of South Africa. In line with apartheid South Africa's aim of destabilizing  the frontline states, RENAMO focused its attacks on the communications and trade infrastructure of Mozambique and Zimbabwe, including railways, pipelines and roads. Forced to reconsider its support for the ANC due to the brutal tactics of RENAMO, Mozambican President Samora Michel signed the Nkomati Accord of 1984 with South Africa, which pledged to end Mozambican support for the ANC in return for an end to South African support for RENAMO. South African commitment to the accord was questionable, however, and the violence and civil war in Mozambique continued.

Despite a drop in support from South Africa, RENAMO's reign of terror continued throughout the 1980s, reportedly killing at least 100 000 people and creating at least 1 000 000 refugees. Particularly hard hit were Mozambique's railways, and the government had to bring in foreign troops to protect from RENAMO attacks. The combination of these attacks, the government's failed Marxist policies, and natural disasters led to Mozambique's economic and social deterioration. These pressures on the Mozambique government led to governmental reform and the expansion of the political process to other parties. RENAMO's armed insurgency against the FRELIMO regime officially came to an end on October 4th, 1992, when the two groups signed a peace accord, formally ending the civil war.

Despite continuing disagreements over the implementation of the peace accord and the integration of RENAMO into the Mozambican political process, the disarmament of RENAMO progressed in the early 1990's with the help of the United Nations, and thousands of its fighters were integrated into the Mozambican Armed Forces. RENAMO finally participated in nationwide elections in 1994, gaining 37.7 percent of the vote and maintaining a generally regional base of support in the North and Central regions. Despite periodic complaints of violent voter fraud and intimidation, RENAMO appears to have now successfully transformed into solely a political organization. (Source: with additional information at:
Esteban Rivera, 09 Mar 2006

RENAMO - Current flag

The current flag of Renamo consists of three horizontal stripes of dark blue, red and black separated by thinner white stripes and a white square canton. The flag specs seem to be approx. (4+1+4+1+4):(10+11) = 2:3.  In the canton is the logo of the party, as described and illustrated below, together with ten gold stars (five on each side of the logo) as seen on the party's official website at 
António Martins-Tuválkin, 05 Aug 2008

RENAMO - Previous flag

image by António Martins-Tuválkin, 21 Sep 1997

The original flag of RENAMO (Resistëncia Nacional Moçambicana, the main opposition party in Mozambique is horizontal 5:7 blue over red bicolour, with a large (5/7 hoist diameter) white circle placed at the same distance from the hoist and the top and bottom borders. In the circle, which has a white and black fimbriation, are five large arrows pointing downwards (the middle one larger than the side ones) and in the center a blue circle, fimbriated in red and white, is a 5 pointed yellow star charged with a smaller black circle charged itself with a ring of 8 white sectors. The five arrows are said to be based on the colonial arms.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 21 Sep 1997

"The Five Arrows" on the Renamo Flag do not come from the colonial arms as suggested by Antonio Martins but from the handle of a Beretta automatic pistol (see the logo of Beretta at

The flag was designed in Johannesburg circa 1975/6.  The flag was needed for a fund raising campaign and under pressure by the printers a couple of the guys sat down and came up with the "insignia" to assemble over the red and blue stripes.  The red was for the blood that would have to be shed to regain freedom and the blue stands for the great African sky - as described by Jardim (the funder of the original Mozambique National Resistance (MNR) (later Renamo) in his book.
Pedro Buccellato, 01 Dec 2002

RENAMO - new emblem

image from this website, reported by Gary Selikow, 17 Dec 2001

It is interesting to note that the arrows from the original emblem used in the colonial period keep appearing.  There are now only three arrows whereas the previous flag had five which I believe are derived from the colonial arms showing St. Sebastian's bunch of seven arrows.
António Martins-Tuválkin,
17 Dec 2001