The long shadow of the civil war
Shortly after Mozambique won its independence from Portugal in 1975, the civil war began. The then Marxist-leaning governing party Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO) and the rebel movement Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO) were at loggerheads.
It was not until 1992 that the two parties to the conflict signed an agreement to end the civil war with the mediation of the Catholic Church and the Community of Sant’Egidio. Prior to that, the conflict had claimed up to one million lives and displaced millions of people.
While RENAMO became an opposition party from 1992, peace in Mozambique remained fragile. From 2013, the conflict flared up time and again, especially in Central Mozambique, and RENAMO terminated the 1992 peace agreement.
The peace process finally on the right track
In 2014, a difficult peace process commenced once again, experiencing multiple setbacks. Germany and the international community closely supported this process. After many years of negotiations, President Filipe Nyusi and RENAMO Chairman Ossufo Momade finally signed a peace agreement in Maputo on 6 August 2019 with the aim of putting an end to the hostilities once and for all.
Among other things, the agreement provides for the disarmament and reintegration of the former RENAMO rebels into the Mozambican security forces as well as greater decentralisation of government power. Prior to this, the Mozambican parliament had passed an amnesty law for former combatants. The United Nations is to support and monitor the implementation of the peace agreement.
What Germany is doing to promote peace and reconciliation in Mozambique
Foreign Minister Maas welcomed the signing of the agreement:
I am most delighted that the government and opposition in Mozambique have succeeded in signing a peace agreement today. For 15 years, a bloody civil war raged in Mozambique whose impacts continue to be felt by the people in the country to this day. This peace agreement now offers an opportunity to put an end to this violent conflict once and for all.
Germany is supporting the peacebuilding efforts of social forces in Mozambique, for example on the part of political parties and civil society, including religious communities and women’s groups. Moreover, it has seconded a Bundeswehr expert to the country to support the process of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.