Politics of memory, decentralization and recentralization in Mozambique

Igreja, Victor (2013) Politics of memory, decentralization and recentralization in Mozambique. Journal of Southern African Studies, 39 (2). pp. 313-335. ISSN 0305-7070


This article explores the contradictory processes that arise from projects of democratic decentralisation in the contexts of those post-civil war, emergent pluralistic democracies and ruling elites that typically strive to officially maintain essentialist forms of national unity, identity and commemorations. These contradictions significantly shape projects of democratisation and decentralisation in post-conflict countries, even though they have not been thoroughly accounted for in the expert literature. In Mozambique, these contradictions were analysed through the unrelenting attempts by the main Mozambican opposition party, Renamo, to inscribe officially in the country's landscape their own version of the post-independence civil war (1976–1992). Taking advantage of the Law 2/97, known as the Juridical Framework for the Implantation of Local Autarchies, Renamo built a square with a sculpture to honour André Matsangaíssa, Renamo's first commander killed in combat during the war. The inauguration of Matsangaíssa Square was the focal point of serious elite factional contestation and debates in the media and in the streets about the appropriate memories to give a new sense to national unity, identity and decentralisation. The Frelimo government both appealed to the Administrative Court and recentralised some aspects of the decentralisation law. Although the elites' representations of the meaning of decentralisation and recentralisation shape the public's views, the positions of the ordinary people signal that the dynamics of decentralisation and national identity are far more complex than the elite partisan discourses which are also at times incoherent. The overall analyses demonstrate how conflicts over memories of violence paradoxically hamper and constitute political pluralism, democratisation and decentralisation in post-civil war Mozambique.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 28304
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2016 01:19
Last Modified: 14 Feb 2017 00:27
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1606 Political Science > 160699 Political Science not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/03057070.2013.795809
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/28304

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only