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Part III Decentralisation, Local Government, and Constitutionalism, 15 The Concept and Implementation of ‘Gradual Decentralisation’ in Mozambique

André Thomashausen

From: Decentralisation and Constitutionalism in Africa

Edited By: Charles M. Fombad, Nico Steytler

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved.date: 23 January 2021

This chapter assesses Mozambique’s transition from a centralist one-party state to a constitutional state that formally upholds the supremacy of Constitution and, as part of this, guarantees two parallel systems of local governance, to allow for a gradual introduction of local autonomy in a centralized territorial administration dispensation. The Mozambican concept of ‘gradualism’ in respect of decentralisation acknowledges the benefits of decentralised government, but aspires to build local government institutions in a cautious, step-by-step manner. However, there is significant resistance to a genuine transfer of authority and resources to decentralised and local government institutions, and since 2014 it has become the main stumbling block to the development and maintenance of a national consensus on internal peace. Indeed, the current ‘silent civil war’ in Mozambique is, first and foremost, about the quest for greater autonomy and resources for six out of a total of eleven provinces.

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