Building Beira: A Municipal Turnaround in Mozambique, 2003-2010

When Daviz Simango took office in 2003 as the mayor of Beira, Mozambique’s second most prominent city, the odds were stacked against him. A member of the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana (RENAMO, or the Mozambique Resistance Movement), Simango was one of just five opposition mayors in the country.  Mozambique’s long and bitter civil war between RENAMO, a guerrilla movement at the time, and the ruling party, the Frente de Libertação de Moçambique (FRELIMO, or the Liberation Front of Mozambique), left a legacy of hostility and distrust between the parties. Soon after Simango became mayor, the central government began delaying the transfer of funds to his administration, harassing his officials with inspections and publicly undermining his leadership. He responded by strengthening the city’s financial independence through a series of reforms. In addition, he worked through the media to make the public aware of the city’s difficulties with the central government. Simango also took his complaints directly to central-government ministers. Through these efforts, he bolstered the capacity of the municipal administration to tackle the city’s urgent problems of recurring cholera outbreaks and poor sanitation. 
Itumeleng (Tumi) Makgetla drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Beira and Maputo, Mozambique, in January 2010. Case published October 2010.
municipal reform
Focus Area(s)
City Management
Balancing the Central and Local
Getting the News Out/Managing Expectations
Critical Tasks
Building citizen support
Making services accessible
Municipal centers of government
Revenue generation
Core Challenge
Principal-agent problem (delegation)
Country of Reform
Case Studies
Itumeleng Makgetla