Maputo, Sept. 6, 2019
Pope Francis continued to spread a message of peace as he addressed tens of thousands of Mozambicans at a mass held at a stadium in the capital Maputo on Friday, on the first leg of a visit to three African countries.
“You have a right to peace,” he told the crowds.
“We cannot come to terms and unite for the sake of revenge.”
His comments, which echoed talks he had with Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday, come a few weeks after a final peace accord was signed between the two main warring parties last month.
In spite of a brutal civil war ending in 1992, violent skirmishes between the ruling party Frelimo and its main opposition, Renamo, continued unabated until the new peace deal was signed in early August.
Nyusi promised the Pontiff that he would take seriously his obligation to unite Mozambicans and create a climate of peace.
The south-eastern African nation is set to hold general elections on Oct. 15 amid a tense atmosphere and growing concerns about renewed violence.
Tens of thousands of people braved rain and wind to listen to the head of the Catholic Church in the Zimpeto stadium.
They sang, danced and waved flags with the Pope’s face on them.
About 28 per cent of the approximately 30 million inhabitants of the former Portuguese colony are Catholic.
Francis is scheduled to visit Madagascar and then Mauritius, two countries heavily threatened by climate change, on the next leg of his tour. Climate change is a key issue for Francis.