Forty-six years ago, Samora Machel, the leader of Mozambique’s liberation movement and the country’s first president, stood before a euphoric crowd at Machava Stadium and declared the complete and total independence of Mozambique. He inspired the people of Mozambique to imagine and build a new nation in which development, social justice, and solidarity with – and care for – the oppressed took centre stage. Four decades later, Machel’s declarations ring hollow. His words and the new dawn they heralded have since disintegrated. I’m a Mozambican political sociologist. I have been a keen observer of the country’s changing economic, social and political structures since the early 1990s.
The declaration of independence in 1975 proclaimed a social contract that contained the ideals of freedom. These included economic and social justice, eradication of hunger and poverty, health and education for all, equality of all people regardless of ethnicity, race and gender, emancipation of women, the rule of law and human rights. But Frelimo has squandered the enormous political capital it enjoyed at independence. The party remains in power by using violence, intimidation, harassment and threats. Generalised lawlessness characterise Mozambique today.
Governance crises and deep rooted corruption permeate all aspects of political, economic and social life. Popular discontent with the Frelimo government is on the rise. This explains the armed conflict in central and northern regions.
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.