Mozambique Liberation Front

Published 7th October, 2014

The Mozambique Liberation Front or FRELIMO was founded on 25th June 1962. It was an amalgamation of three parties, the Mozambican African National Union (MANU), National Democratic Union of Mozambique (UDENAMO), and the National African Union of Independent Mozambique (UNAMI,) which came together to fight for independence against the Portuguese.

The party describes itself as Left-Wing and believes in Democratic socialism and Left-wing nationalism, although it started life as a Marxist-Leninist organisation with backing from the Soviet Union.

From 1962 through to 1975 the party was a guerrilla movement fighting for independence against the Portuguese and during that period was based in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. On 7th September 1974 the Lusaka Accord between FRELIMO and the Portuguese government was signed which recognised the right of the Mozambican people to independence.

In 1977 a general election of sorts was held and FRELIMO took all the seats in the 210 seats People’s Assembly. FRELIMO quickly established a one-party state based on Marxist principles and Samora Machel was confirmed as President.

Meanwhile an anti-Communist party, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) was formed in 1975 with the support of the governments of South Africa and Rhodesia. From 1976 the two parties fought a bitter civil war which cost the lives of more than one million people.

In 1986 Machel died in a plane crash, fresh elections were held with FRELIMO the only legitimate party and Joaquim Chissano took over the Presidency.

The civil war ended in 1992 with the signing of the Rome General Peace Accords and two years later fresh multi-party elections were held. FRELIMO was to win every election up to the present day, taking 129 of 250 seats in the Assembly elections in 1994; 133 seats in 1999; 160 seats in 2004 and 191 seats in 2009.

In 2004 Chissano stood down as President and Armanda Guebuza was elected with 63.74% of the vote. Guebuza was re-elected in 2009 with 75% of the vote but on a low turnout of just 42%.

In March 2014 the Frelimo Central Committee elected Defence Minister Filipe Nyussi as the party’s candidate for the presidential election in October 2014.

The Mozambique Liberation Front is a member of Socialist International and is affiliated to the Former Liberation Movements of Southern Africa.

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