Acordo Geral de Paz Mozambique 1992

Analysis of a peace agreement

Term Paper, 2009

7 Pages, Grade: 1,0



Mozambique gained independence from Portugal following an antifascist coup in Lisbon in 1975. The Portuguese colonialists departed in haste leaving behind ‘a mess of underdevelopment, impoverishment and extreme vulnerability’ (Cobban 2007: 137). From independence until 1992 the new government run by the Liberation Front of Mozambique (Frelimo) faced a vicious armed insurgency incubated by the White minority rulers in neighbouring Rhodesia (Renamo). The Rhodesian regime was uncomfortable with the breakdown of White colonial rule in Mozambique and by the support that Frelimo gave to Black nationalist rebels inside Rhodesia (Cobban 2007: 137). After seventeen years of civil war the belligerents finally struck a deal to end the fighting. This assignment aims to analyse first in what way the General Peace Agreement for Mozambique addressed the security dilemma and commitment problem. Secondly, reasons will be presented as to why it was so fundamental to address the distribution of political and military power in the peace agreement. Finally, it is argued that the settlement failed to address issues of transitional justice.

For the negotiations to succeed and the agreement to be implemented, two issues had to be addressed: the security dilemma and the commitment problem. First of all, countries riven by civil war usually suffer from an intractable insecurity dilemma, a situation similar that of the traditional interstate security dilemma:

‘[G]roups acting against perceived threats to assure their own security or securities consequently create an environment of increased threat and reduced security for most, if not all, others within the borders of the state’ (Job 1992; cited by Roe 1999: 197).

A peace settlement may leave a rebel group significantly worse off than it would have been had it kept its army and continued to fight (Walter 2002: 21). Secondly, the crucial issue of the commitment problem is that in the anarchy of international politics, ‘states are not subject to a higher authority that will guarantee their contracts’ (Fortna 2004b: 7). Thus there is always a risk of (1) preventive war, (2) preemptive war or (3) ‘war resulting from a situation in which concessions also shift the military balance and thereby lead to the need to make still more concessions’ (Fearon 1995; cited by Powell 2006: 180).

According to the theory, third-party security guarantees and peacekeeping are crucial for peacebuilding success (Fortna 2004a; Fortna 2004b; Walter 2002; Doyle and Sambanis 2000). Particularly, third-party security involvement fulfils several functions. (1) It serves as a deterrent and increases the cost of noncompliance, (2) it plays an important role in the day-to-day managing of tense ceasefire lines, and (3) it serves as a monitoring facility, investigating alleged violations and publicising violations (Fortna 2004a: 517; Fortna 2004b: 21-26). According to Fortna’s analysis, ‘peace has never fallen apart when outside states explicitly ensured a ceasefire agreement’ (Fortna 2004: 188).

In the 1992 Mozambique settlement, compliance of the ceasefire was verified by the United Nations (Protocol VI. Art. I.5.). The UN operation (ONUMOZ) included 6,625 troops and military support personnel, 354 military observers and 1,144 civilian police (UN 2001). This should have signalled great commitment by the UN to the peace process and should have made the ex-combatants more likely to implement the agreement (Walter 2002: 41). The presence of peacekeepers effectively drops the risk of war by more than 85 percent (Fortna 2004a: 500). The peace settlement thus adequately addressed the security dilemma and commitment problem and contributed to the durability of peace.

Furthermore, the redistribution of power in post-civil war Mozambique was crucial to the peacebuilding success. Both proportional representation, democratic elections and power-sharing are conducive to peace (Ohlson 2008; Zartman 1995, cited by Doyle and Sambanis 2000; Walter 2002). Particularly,

‘[p]ower-sharing serves as the mechanism that offers this protection by guaranteeing all groups a share of state power. By dividing and balancing power among rival groups, power-sharing institutions minimize the danger of any one party becoming dominant and threatening the security of others’ (Hoddie and Hartzell 2003a: 319).

One way to assure power-sharing is through the establishment of joint commissions. ‘Peace has rarely failed after ceasefires that set up joint commissions to work out disputes’ (Fortna 2004: 195). Another way to redistribute power is through the holding of elections. ‘Elections can open the political process to opposition groups and be the first step in the peaceful reconstruction of a new legitimate government’ (Walter 2002: 28).

The negotiators of the Acordo Geral redistributed power in postconflict Mozambique in two main ways.

First, the settlement contained in Protocol III an article stipulating proportional representation in the General Assembly (Art. 5 (b)). Dividing power in proportion to votes received rather than winner-takes-all is said to make post-war societies more stable (Walter 2002: 28).

Secondly, the agreement provided for the creation of several joint commissions, including a Ceasefire Commission (CCF), a Reintegration Commission (CORE) (Protocol V, art. II.7.) and a commission for the formation of the Mozambican armed forces (CCFADM) (Protocol IV, art. A.ii.1.). The CCFADM was made up of representatives of Frelimo and Renamo (Protocol IV, art. A.ii.1.(c)). Furthermore, until the inauguration of the government the command of the FADM was exercised by two general officers, appointed by each of the warring parties (Protocol IV, art. A.ii.2.(b)). The accord also called for government and rebel armies to demobilise equally in order to integrate the same number of soldiers into the new national army (Walter 2002: 20; Hume 1994, cited by Glassmeyer and Sambanis 2008: 380). In fact, many former Mozambican combatants preferred the United Nations’ civilian reintegration programme to military integration. Hence only 20,000 of the intended 30,000 military staff were drawn equally from Frelimo and Renamo. In any case, this military power-sharing pact made it difficult for one group to dominate the other, thereby also alleviating the commitment problem (Walter 2002: 31; Glassmeyer and Sambanis 2008: 366; Hoddie and Hartzell 2003b: 306).

In sum, the division of military and political power among the former belligerents contributed considerably to the durability of peace in Mozambique.

Another important aspect of successful peacebuilding is transitional justice, such as tribunals, truth commissions, vetting, amnesty and pardon. These mechanisms are necessary so that democracy and rule of law can be built and future crimes be prevented (Sriram 2007: 8-9). Restoring the rule of law and legal justice primarily demonstrates to combatants and civilians in war-torn countries that security, order and stability have returned. It reassures people that the government is formally subject to the law, and is no longer above it. Moreover, it indicates that everyone, regardless of his or her identity, affiliation or background, is considered equal before the law (Mani 2002: 6).


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Acordo Geral de Paz Mozambique 1992
Analysis of a peace agreement
Uppsala University  (Department for Peace and Conflict Research)
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Acordo, Geral, Mozambique, Analysis
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Ingeborg Friedl (Author), 2009, Acordo Geral de Paz Mozambique 1992, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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