Compromise and Trust-Building After Civil War: Elections Administration in Mozambique, 1994

Mozambique’s first multiparty presidential and parliamentary elections in October 1994 followed 16 years of civil war. Because neither side had won the conflict, the stakes of the contest were high. Mutual distrust characterized the run-up to the vote. A new electoral law in early 1994 created a multiparty election commission that forced the parties to work together on overcoming the many operational challenges of running elections in a sprawling country severely damaged by war. The commission succeeded in damping the risks of violence that are often associated with competitive elections in such situations, building consensus among members of different political parties. When the election results were announced, all parties accepted them. However, Mozambique struggled after 1994 to overcome the legacy of the institutional arrangements forged during the peace process. The country’s problems demonstrate the challenges that post-conflict countries face in designing processes and procedures to meet the immediate goal of maintaining peace while serving the longer-term aim of developing mature democratic institutions. This memo examines the 1994 elections and the impact that the initial design of the election commission had on subsequent elections. 
Amy Mawson drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Maputo, Mozambique, in January 2010. Case published October 2010.
Associated Interview(s):  Miguel de Brito, Ismael Valigy
dispute resolution
voter education
rural voter registration
results declaration
Election Management Body
Focus Area(s)
Reducing Divisive Effects of Competition
Critical Tasks
Vote counting
Voter education
Voter registration
Core Challenge
Dispute resolution (compliance)
Country of Reform
Case Studies
Amy Mawson