Apartment building in Beira, Mozambique

Political situation Rigid power structures hamper good governance

Mozambique's political system is characterised by extreme imbalance between the government and the opposition. Political power is concentrated very much in the hands of the governing party, FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique). The close connections between the party, the state and the private sector are impeding efficient and transparent government action and responsive administrative services.

In the Corruption Perceptions Index (External link) compiled by Transparency International, Mozambique ranked 142nd out of the 180 countries evaluated in 2022. Court proceedings are currently under way regarding a corruption and finance scandal that was exposed in 2016. It is as yet unclear whether the matter can be fully cleared up (see also Economic situation).

2019 elections

Bicycle workshop in Mozambique

The 2019 presidential, parliamentary and provincial elections further solidified the power structures in Mozambique. President Filipe Nyusi was confirmed in office with 73 per cent of the vote. In the Assembly of the Republic, FRELIMO won more than two thirds of all seats, meaning that it has the majority needed to change the constitution. All ten governors' posts in the provinces were won by FRELIMO as well.

The election process was characterised by irregularities, manipulation, intimidation and violence, documented by election monitors from the European Union, among others.

Human rights

The major political and civil rights have been enshrined in Mozambique's constitution. However, there are deficits with regard to practical implementation. While the constitution guarantees freedom of speech and of the press, critical journalists and human rights defenders have repeatedly been faced with threats and intimidation, leading to self-censorship in political reporting. Such instances are rarely prosecuted.

Non-governmental organisations have also reported serious human rights violations in the context of the armed conflict in Cabo Delgado Province.

Conflict escalating in the North

The unstable situation in northern Mozambique is a great impediment for national development. Since 2017, Ansar al-Sunna (an Islamist militia also using the name Al-Shabaab) has been carrying out attacks in Cabo Delgado Province on government facilities, major trade centres, and civilians. The militia is being fought by government security forces, which are supported by Rwandan troops, Southern African Development Community (SADC) forces, and private security services. So far, the fighting has displaced some 950,000 people (as at October 2022).

The underlying causes of the conflict include the fact that the Province has been politically and economically neglected by the central government; the resulting poverty and the lack of prospects (especially among young people); and ethnic and religious tensions as well as forced displacement in the context of oil and gas extraction. The Province is referred to as the Forgotten Cape, because it is one of Mozambique's poorest regions in spite of its wealth of raw materials. Organised crime players use the Province as a corridor for illegal trade in timber, wildlife, diamonds, and drugs.

In order to assist the Mozambican forces, the European Union decided in the second half of 2021 to send an EU Training Mission (EUTM) to the country. The Mission has been set up for a period of two years and involves training on counterterrorism, protection of civilians, and compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights standards.

As at: 18/01/2023