Consolidating Peace and Democracy in Mozambique through Election-related Conflict Management Initiatives

EISA will be holding a conference in partnership with Centro De Estudos De Democracia E Desenvolvimento (CEDE) on Consolidating Peace and Democracy in Mozambique through Election-related Conflict Management Initiatives, from the 22nd to 23rd July 2003 at the Hotel Polana in Maputo, Mozambique.

Background

The Southern African Region has been a theatre of violent conflicts that to a considerable degree undermined both democratic governance and economic progress. Although, the era of the Cold War and apartheid has come and gone, thus heralding a relative peace dividend in the region, pockets of violent conflict especially of an intra-state nature still persist in countries like Angola and the DRC. It is, however, gratifying that protracted negotiations in both countries have produced satisfactory results with relative peace prevailing presently and both countries planning to hold general elections in the near future in order to consolidate peace, security and democratic governance.

In Mozambique, protracted violent conflict was terminated in 1992 through a negotiated settlement. The peace process was then consolidated through the general election in 1994. The democratic process was further consolidated with the holding of the local elections in 1998 and the second round of general elections in 1999. But in all these elections the opposition (RENAMO) refused to accept the results of the elections claiming electoral fraud. It is clear that if solutions are not found to problems that the electoral process faces in Mozambique, soon or later, peace and stability can be affected.

Objectives

  • The conference aims to raise awareness and encourage public discussion and dialogue on why and how conflicts emerge during electoral processes in Mozambique and
  • To explore mechanisms for conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict transformation drawing from regional experiences.

The specific objectives of the conference are to

  • Discuss election-related conflicts in Mozambique since 1994
  • Draw lessons of conflict management mechanisms from the SADC region
  • Explore the existing institutional mechanism for conflict prevention, management and transformation
  • Suggest concrete measures for improving institutional mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and transformation in readiness for the forthcoming 2003 local government elections and the 2004 general elections
  • Identify critical hotspots during the pre-election phase, election/polling day and in the post-election phase
  • Define good practices in terms of conduct of parties and other key stakeholders in the conflict management process during elections
  • Raise awareness on the issue through broad participation including the media

Donor

Thanks to the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for funding this event