Political & Economic Conditions
Mozambique, is made up of 10 provinces; Cabo, Delgado, Niassa, Zambezia, Tete, Sofala, Manica, Mauto, Inhambane and Gaza, with the capital city being Maputo. The government of Mozambique is headed by the president, who appoints the governors of each of the provinces. After independence, the whites established Mozambique National Resistance in Rhodesia now referred to as Zimbabwe, with the intention of destabilizing the Frelimo regime. The domestic conflict raged all over the country from the 1970s through to 1992. All through this era Frelimo stood as the only political party in Mozambique. Nevertheless, dual elections were introduced in 1994. Frelimo together with Renamo remained as the chief parties, though there are several others. Widespread suffrage was guaranteed by the constitution of the 1990, and by the beginning of the 21st century, women had started serving significant numbers in the congress of the state as well as the council of ministers. In 2004, Luisa Diogo was selected the premier of the state. She was the first women ever to hold such a post in Mozambique (Ender et al 20).
Ever since the General Peace Accord (GPA) in 1992 that ended the civil war and lead to the first democratic elections which were carried out in 1994, Mozambique has gone through a peaceful changeover towards democracy. The country has had several local and national elections which have been free enough to be acknowledged by the global community. This together with the continued economic growth has resulted in a substantial decline in individuals living below the poverty line, fairly high levels of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and higher and sustained levels of foreign benefactors that has made Mozambique very successful. As a result Mozambique is now considered as a definitive donor darling. However, the introduction of the rich naturally occurring resource endowment in power, gas, and mineral operation after Frelimo’s election success in 2009, Mozambique stands at a critical moment, with the possibility of becoming donor-independent within the predictable future. The success of Mozambique is generally based on the consistent economic growth of an average of 8.5% for the precedent decade. The economic growth of the country has driven by three main factors: first, the higher and ever increasing levels of foreign aid which contributes to about 50% of the state budget, secondly, is the peace/ war bonus, and lastly, the FDI being attracted some of the mega-projects in sectors such as power, mineral and gas (Buur at el 7).
Interestingly, regardless of the steady and high growth, Mozambique has not transformed in terms of the productive structure of the country, and thus there have not been much of structural changes. However this does not imply that significant lesions can not be drawn for the country, from all that has been attempted. Subsequent to the GPA, a number of sectors and firms were selected for special treatment with the intention of rehabilitating the export driven cash production, create employment opportunities in the rural settings, provide adequate social services and in general, improve the living standards (Buur at el 8). Regardless of Mozambique’s economic development rate being among the highest in Africa, for several years, the growth has been based on the development of extremely capital intensive mega projects with minimal absorption of unskilled employees. The Urban casual division which has up till now absorbed significant numbers of the unemployed has become unattractive for the rural labor surpluses, since the increase in competition makes economic survival much complex. These kinds of restrictions within the local economy, lately aggravated by the recent drought in the south, has forced several rural families to seek for job opportunities in South Africa. Even though, the external migration to South Africa is the favored employment option for a majority of the Mozambique citizens, it gives the option of last resort for several others because of the inadequate employment absorption capacity of Mozambique formal economy (De Vletter 1).
Presently Mozambique is known for a victorious end to war other than just a state that gives concern about the latest conflict. The battle between Frelimo and Renamo was brought about and supported from the exterior of Mozambique by Rhodesia and South Africa. Presently, the regional context is not the same and this kind of external participation is not likely to result in conflict. However this does not imply that conflict can be discounted. The civil conflict was also initiated by some internal factors including the reaction against Frelima’s socialist policies, particularly the collectivization as well as the criticisms by the traditional leaders as well as the religious groups who felt they were side-lined by Frelimo. There were a lot of disagreements between the urban-based modernity and deep-rooted traditional customs. Issues of inequality between regions and the how various ethnic groups were treated were the core features of the conflict and date back into resists that have happen again throughout Mozambique colonial history (Vaux et al 9)
Most of the weaponry that was used in the past wars remains veiled around the state of Mozambique. The seclusion of Maputo from the rest of the state and the essential issues of regional disparity offers appropriate environment for guerrilla conflict, as it has been done in the past. As Frelimo takes on a novel form of modernism, distinguished by market economics and open chances to the influence of foreign ventures and ideas, the past anger may become caught up in new conflicts. The influence may not be from the ne5ighbouring states, as in the past, but from within the country. Even though the danger may be minimal, the outcome of the warfare would be so overwhelming that they should never be assumed. Conflict could easily destabilize all the things that may have been achieved within the 14 years of peace. Thus a conflict check is a requirement in strategic review (Vaux et al 10).
Even though Mozambique is presently divided into about 16 care ethnic groups, ethnicity has very minimal influence on the nature of the past conflicts. Under the colonial ruling, a majority of the ethnic groups were controlled by the Portuguese, and the inter-group conflict through the implementation of a conscious rule of the divide and rule. Currently, there have been minimal violent cases associated with different ethnic languages in churches and in election; however none of these have been extensive. The reasons behind this occurrence are complicated, although there is a small doubt about the general conclusion; ethnicity has never been rated as a major influence of conflict, though it can be mobilized to strengthen conflict if it previously existed. As compared to a number of African states, ethnicity in Mozambique does not play a major role in politics. While of late there has been a symbiosis of ethnic group diversity in the government, there exist an insight that the Southern ethnic groups are more favored by the political system of Mozambique as compared to the ethnic groups from the central and Northern parts of Mozambique in terms of employment opportunities, Political positions as well as business openings. In this perception, the majority of the Frelimo elites consist of the Shangana-Ronga together with the Makonde groups while opposition parties consist of the Ndew, Sena and Makwa groups. Generally the division in Mozambique today revolves around regional differences and is associated with economic factors other than the social problems of ethnicity. Ethnicity may not be the major cause of conflict, but it may be the form by which conflicts manifest itself; thus it should not be disregarded (Vaux et al 11).
The family is considered a very strong social unit in Mozambique. Every single family safeguards its own interests provide job opportunity for its own members even if others are disadvantaged. This custom is a key source of social security, thought it greatly contributes to patronage, favoritism and corruption. It is clear that the ruling group is gradually more defined in terms of family relations instead of the wider political connections. In terms of gender, the status of women in the country is very low, with restricted rights and stridently defined gender responsibilities. Women’s literacy levels are much low as compared to the men in Mozambique. This implies that women do not have adequate information to be able to make political choices. They also find it complex to make contributions in political debates especially when there men discouraged them (Vaux et al 11).
Buur, Lars. Et at. Mozambique Synthesis Analysis:Between Pockets of Efﬁciency and Elite Capture. (2012). Print
De Vletter, Fion. “Migration and development in Mozambique: Poverty, inequality and survival.” Development Southern Africa 24.1 (2007): 137-153.
Ender, Morten G, Betsy Lucal, Ralph B. McNeal, Kathleen A. Tiemann, and Ervin Kosta.The Intersections Collection: Pearson Custom Sociology. New York: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2010. Print.
Vaux, Tony, et al. “Strategic Conflict Assessment.” Mozambique, DFID (2006).