Reintegration in Mozambique: An unresolved affair

Report
from Institute for Security Studies
Published on 03 Sep 2010 View Original
INTRODUCTION

In 2009, seventeen years after the civil war ended in Mozambique, its government still found it necessary to address the reintegration of some 100 000 former combatants, even though the completion of this process, supported by international partners and the United Nations (UN), had been announced in 1994. This raises the question of why Mozambique, a country whose peace settlement and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programmes had been considered so successful, found it necessary to attend anew to the needs of former fighters. Why was it important to reconsider the demands of these 'once integrated' individuals? Was it because of pressure from former combatants? Had the earlier reintegration process failed? Or was it nothing more than a decision by the Mozambican government to compensate former fighters?

A brief reflection on Mozambique's domestic confl ict provides the essential context for this discussion.

Mozambique's 16-year civil war began in 1977, only two years aft er the country's independence from Portugal. At the time of the first national elections, the Frente de Libertaç=E3o de Moçambique (Frelimo) was the sole political party and therefore formed the government aft er independence in 1975. An opposition movement, Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (Renamo), established outside Mozambique, entered the country in 1976, sparking off the civil war. The South African and then Rhodesian (Zimbabwean) governments provided support and backing to Renamo in its campaign of insurgency against the Mozambican government, which was itself providing support to liberation movements from those two countries.

After 16 years of brutal warfare and the destruction of much of the country's physical infrastructure, the war ended in 1992 with the Rome General Peace Accords. A United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ) was established in December 1992 to oversee the implementation of the General Peace Agreement (GPA) and the ensuing elections. Among the stipulations of the GPA were the disarmament and demobilisation of soldiers in the country and their social and economic reintegration into society.