Mozambique’s independence from Portugal in 1975 was followed by nearly two decades of civil war and a decade of a one-party Marxist-Leninist government. In 1992, Mozambique finally was at peace and adopted a new constitution that outlined a multi-party system of democracy. Since then, the country's transition to a market-led democracy has been progressing at a steady pace.
In 2009, Mozambique held its fourth presidential and parliamentary elections; its third municipal elections were held in 2008. Despite strong economic growth, many Mozambicans report feeling left behind in the country’s development. Poor governance is at the root of many citizens' frustrations; civil service capacity is low and perception of official corruption is high.
USAID has worked to increase transparency and accountability in local governments to improve their capacity to deliver quality public services to all Mozambicans. USAID also supports capacity-building for civil society, the media and the judicial system.
Governance and Rule of Law
Increasing government transparency and reducing corruption are priorities that cut across all USAID program activities in Mozambique. USAID’s anti-corruption program focuses on improving the criminal justice system at the local and national level. Through this program, USAID has helped train prosecutors in the Attorney General’s office to improve their case management and investigation skills in fighting corruption.
Weak management of elections processes and high absenteeism rates can damage the legitimacy of elected governments and weaken the confidence of citizens in their democracy. Support for increased political space and democratic competition can strengthen institutions and faith in government. USAID has supported strengthening open forums, debates and local observation of the 2008 municipal elections and 2009 national elections. Unfortunately, the run-up to the 2009 elections was riddled with irregularities and demonstrated that Mozambique still has significant work ahead before it can become a fully open and competitive democracy. In response, USAID continues to work toward strengthening the fairness of the elections process and increasing the level of peaceful political competition in Mozambique to support a more representative political process. Supporting a revision of the elections process is important in terms of establishing an effective electoral foundation for future municipal and national elections. USAID’s elections work is also complemented by its civil society programs that support increased debate and discussion and improve citizens’ knowledge of political processes.
Civil Society and Media
One of the United States’ top priorities is to encourage greater public debate and participation by the public to more effectively express their interests. USAID is helping Mozambique civil society to develop a stronger voice, increase demand for accountability, and provide information about and oversight over government activities. USAID focuses on media and civil society as the means to promoting oversight and debate about government actions. Strengthening independent media and credible civil society organizations will lead to a more informed population and a greater demand for better services and good governance.
Last updated: May 10, 2013