Independent since 1975 after a long war of liberation inspired by the socialist revolution, and governed by a one-party system governed by FRELIMO, which in the iiiThe 1977 Congress proclaimed itself a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party, Mozambique met with great difficulty in reconciling the basic ideological options with the conditions of the economy, the political consciousness of the population, the limited technical and administrative capacities. The reconstruction, initially complicated by the mass exodus of the Portuguese who had almost entirely managed the ” modern ” sector, was then decidedly sabotaged by the guerrillas led by the RENAMO movement, born as a projection of the white regime of Rhodesia to destabilize the government of Maputo and later supported by South Africa. Natural disasters, including the effects of the famine that raged throughout southern Africa for a long time after 1980, have added other burdens.
According to Localcollegeexplorer, the regime of S. Machel has realistically tried to run for cover. The 4th Congress of FRELIMO (May 1983) introduced the first corrections to the orthodox application of socialist principles: the collectivist structure was loosened to favor the enterprise of farmers and producers in general with economic incentives. In late 1983 Machel made a long trip to Western countries to solicit aid, investment and greater political understanding, and in 1984 Mozambique joined the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
An even more marked and painful turning point was the non-aggression and good neighborly agreement with South Africa signed in March 1984 in Nkomati, on the border between the two states: in practice, against Pretoria’s commitment to withdraw the its support for RENAMO, and perhaps to study interventions of economic cooperation, Mozambique closed the operational bases of the African National Congress on its territory. Mozambique was thus forced to come to terms with racist South Africa to face a moment of extreme gravity, but without achieving the hoped-for peace. In fact, RENAMO continued its devastating action and Mozambique had to turn to military assistance from Tanzania and especially from Zimbabwe.
The whole power structure was subverted by the tragic accident that caused the death of S. Machel and some of his closest collaborators: on October 19, 1986, his plane, which brought him back to Maputo from Zambia after a consultation between the countries’ ‘of the front’, crashed into South African territory during the landing phase, apparently due to a pilot error but according to some testimonies favored by the interference of undue signals.
At the head of FRELIMO, and consequently as President of the Republic, the Foreign Minister J. Chissano was elected, a personality much appreciated for his political talent, balance and international experience, who ensured a painless succession, despite his overbearing personality of Machel, and introduced a method of governance more attentive to dosages and collegiality.
Some of the older exponents were relegated to prestigious roles but with little power (this is the case of Mozambique Dos Santos, appointed secretary of the Permanent Commission of the People’s Assembly), to make room for younger and more pragmatic leaders. The party remains the main source of power, hierarchically superior even to the government, despite the formal function of an Assembly, elected a first time in 1977 and a second time in 1986 with a selection of candidates, all from FRELIMO, which in the intentions should represent a moment important of participation and mobilization.
In July 1989 the vCongress that transformed FRELIMO into a “ vanguard party of the people ” and, abandoning the Marxist dogmas, overshadowed the objectives of socialism, considered unattainable for the moment, with respect to the increase in production and the creation of wealth. However, the vicious circle caused by the war of RENAMO was not broken, which, despite not having an identifiable alternative program, ended up gathering all the forms of dissidence and dissociation, vast in a country in disarray. Mozambique tried to call South Africa to comply with the Nkomati agreement, reaffirmed by other bilateral agreements, including that of June 1988, to restore full operation and in the future increase the potential of the Cabora Bassa dam. In this climate of apparent relaxation, the South African president PW Botha visited Mozambique in September 1988. Nor did the ” amnesty law ” substantially improve the general conditions, a kind of amnesty, promulgated in December 1987, for all ” rebels ” who repented by handing over their weapons. In 1989 the government authorized the Church to enter into negotiations with RENAMO, which was then continued with the mediation of Kenya and Zimbabwe, while the last traits of socialism were abandoned by FRELIMO with the 1991 Congress, on the basis of the provisions of the 1990 Constitution., which had liberalized political activity and abrogated the leading role of FRELIMO itself. From 1990 the negotiations between the government and RENAMO became direct with the assistance of Italy and concluded with the signing of a peace agreement in Rome on 4 October 1992. The agreement provided for an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of foreign armies and the creation of a national army for 50% made up of soldiers from the RENAMO. A one-year deadline for elections was also set. Under the auspices of the UN, which assumed the role of guarantor of the peace agreements by sending troops and creating a special verification commission, a general aid plan and a series of measures aimed at promoting national conciliation, as economic incentives for former RENAMO fighters and guarantees for RENAMO and other opposition parties and movements. A plan was also drawn up for the progressive return of refugees (estimated at 1,700. 000) and the return to the places of origin of non-expatriate refugees (about 4 million). The agreements were ratified by Parliament on October 15. In December of the same year the UN Security Council started the ” Mozambique operation ” while the conference of ” donor ” countries, held in Rome in December, allocated the first part of the necessary funds. The peace process began, but the country’s economic and social situation remained serious. In fact, a modest increase in agricultural activity, also favored by the resumption of rains after years of drought, was matched by the almost total destruction of infrastructures and the thousands of unexploded mines in the fields and along the roads. On the other hand, the political tension between the parties persisted also because RENAMO maintained an autonomous military presence in the territories under its control. However, in April the UN had already found it impossible to hold the elections within the set deadlines and decided to postpone them to the second half of 1994.