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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Politics of memory, decentralisation and recentralisation in Mozambique
Author:Igreja, VictorISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 0305-7070)
Geographic term:Mozambique
public opinion
Abstract: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. 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 Matsangaissa, Renamo's first commander killed in combat during the war. The inauguration of Matsangaissa 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. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]