The upsurge of tension between Renamo and Frelimo in Mozambique: The contest for traditional leadership support

  • Happy Kayuni
Keywords: Traditional authority, Renamo, Frelimo, Mozambique


Soon after independence in 1975, Mozambique was plunged into a protracted civil  war involving the ruling party Frelimo and the rebel movement Renamo. Renamo  controlled several areas until when a ceasefire was reached in October 1992. After the restoration of peace in the country Renamo lost all subsequent multiparty elections held in the country since 1994. Despite the initial assurance that peace had been established in the country, between 2012 and 2014 there was an  unexpected upsurge of tension between these traditional rivals. This upsurge can be explored from several dimensions but the hallmark of this paper is that this tension may actually be explained within the framework of dynamics related to traditional  authorities. Traditional authorities have played an influential role in Mozambique since the colonial period. Initially, traditional  authorities formed the backbone of Renamo support but social-political dynamics forced them to change their affiliation to Frelimo. It is actually this shift of political affiliation from Renamo to Frelimo that arguably led to the said upsurge of political tension in  Mozambique.

Key words: Traditional authority, Renamo, Frelimo, Mozambique


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eISSN: 1016-0728