n Africa Conflict Monthly Monitor - Civil war antagonists spar again - exploring the recent violence in Mozambique - : Southern Africa - issue in focus

Volume 2013, Issue 09
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The 2013 violence between Mozambique's two main political parties, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) and the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), threatens to destabilise the country and has regional implications ahead of the elections. Mozambique fought one of Africa's longest and bloodiest civil wars from 1977 to 1992, that claimed the lives of over one million Mozambicans and displaced five million more. RENAMO has pledged to boycott the upcoming elections if FRELIMO does not address the issue of electoral reform. Mozambique is scheduled for local elections later in 2013, as well as presidential and parliamentary elections in 2014.

In 1975, FRELIMO came to power after it championed a 10-year liberation struggle against Portuguese colonial rule. Portugal was obliged to recognise FRELIMO as the legitimate representative of the Mozambican people. From 1975 until 1990, Mozambique existed as a one-party state, and during most of this time Mozambique was engaged in civil war. After 15 years of civil war led by RENAMO, FRELIMO and RENAMO signed a peace agreement on 4 October 1992. Mozambique has been largely free from political violence for the last two decades, making the country one of southern Africa's post-civil war success stories. In May 2013, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon commended Mozambique for its political development. Ban, however, has overlooked a serious issue concerning the political development of Mozambique. Although Mozambique is constituted as a multi-party democracy, FRELIMO has won every election and controlled parliament since the southern African nation became a multi-party democracy in 1990. This one-party dominance is one of the systemic problems preventing Mozambique from becoming a full democracy. The single-party rule also impacts development in Mozambique and peace and security in the region.

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