GIGA Focus International Edition English , ,

Provincial Autonomy: The Territorial Dimension of Peace in Mozambique

GIGA Focus | International Edition English | Number 10 |

A year after the 2014 national elections Mozambican security forces began increasing the pressure on Renamo, the main opposition party and former guerrilla movement, to disarm. Following several attacks on his entourage since September, Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has gone into hiding. On 19 November the Mozambican president and leader of the ruling Frelimo party, Filipe Nyusi, called for "restraint" in disarming Renamo – thereby exposing an unusual degree of friction between the more radical wing and the moderates within Frelimo.

Analysis
The resurgence of violent conflict in Mozambique in 2013/14 raised new doubts about the country’s peace and democratisation process. After a strong showing at the 2014 national elections, Renamo began demanding autonomy for those provinces in which it won majorities. The governing Frelimo party has rejected these demands.

  • Renamo presidential candidate and former civil war combatant Afonso Dhlakama won 37 against Filipe Nyusi’s 57 per cent of the popular vote – to the surprise of many and amid allegations of fraud. Governing Frelimo have since been in negotiations with Renamo but have rejected calls for Renamo’s participation in government.

  • Since Filipe Nyusi took presidential office in January 2015, Renamo has repeatedly called for subnational autonomy in six provinces with significant opposition support.

  • Although Mozambican provinces are administered by centrally nominated governors, direct elections in 53 mostly urban municipalities allow for some degree of subnational autonomy. A donor-funded decentralisation process since the late 1990s has also contributed to both the deconcentration of power and some devolution.

  • Comparative research on territorial autonomy arrangements suggests that such pacts can be a tool for sustainable peace, but that territorial deals should be embedded in broader institutional reforms in order to be a viable so lution to conflict.

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Suggested Citation Style

Bueno, Natália, Johannes Plagemann und Julia Strasheim (2015), Provincial Autonomy: The Territorial Dimension of Peace in Mozambique, GIGA Focus International Edition English, 10, December, urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-459298

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The GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies – Leibniz-Institut für Globale und Regionale Studien in Hamburg publishes the Focus series on Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and global issues. The GIGA Focus is edited and published by the GIGA. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the institute. Authors alone are responsible for the content of their articles. GIGA and the authors cannot be held liable for any errors and omissions, or for any consequences arising from the use of the information provided.

General Editor GIGA Focus Series: Prof. Dr. Sabine Kurtenbach

Dr. Johannes Plagemann is a political scientist and a research fellow at the GIGA Institute of Asian Studies. He is the spokesperson of the research team “Ideas and Agency” at the GIGA and coordinator of the DFG-funded research project “Legitimate Multipolarity” (2018–2021). Dr. Plagemann works on rising powers in international politics, and Indian foreign policy in particular. In his latest research he focuses on how populism affects foreign policy, as well as on the legitimacy of international organisations in a multipolar world.

Julia Strasheim is Associate at the GIGA and researcher at the "Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung".

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