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Defining the 'Other': Democracy in Mozambique Within - A Historical Perspective

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image of African and Asian Studies
For more content, see Journal of Asian and African Studies.

Despite apparent success Mozambique is facing serious problems in institutionalising democracy in the context of economic liberalisation. The problems are linked to a basic contradiction between a need to construct a unified nation, and capacity to tolerate difference inside it which is an essential function of a democratic system. In Mozambique both neo-traditionalism and socialism, which can be interpreted as currents inside African nationalism, have roots in pre-independence political movements. In line with Western modernism the ruling party FRELIMO has been reluctant to accept any linkages between political pluralism and cultural difference based on denominational, ethnic or regional identity. On the other hand many opposition parties see cultural difference as a constitutive element of African socio-political reality, and promote devolution of power to cultural regions and local communities as an effective means to engage the whole population in the political process.


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