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Mozambique - Military Doctrine

The Machel regime's external security concerns were necessarily focused on South Africa, the dominant military power in southern Africa. The government in Pretoria has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness and capability to employ its forces in pursuit of political objectives outside its own territory. Relations between Mozambique and the five other states with which it shares common borders have been largely harmonious, based on closely meshed foreign policy interests, similar perceptions of the political situation in the region, and a lack of contentious issues of significant proportions.

Political relations have been strengthened by joint participation in the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the informal alliance of African front-line states, and the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), supplemented in some cases by bilateral treaties. None of the black-ruled countries of southern Africa ever had sufficient military strength to present Mozambique even a contingent source of concern, particularly taking into account the difficult terrain and transport factors that would discourage the movement of major bodies of conventional forces.

In the early 1980s the military superiority of the SADF over the other southern African countries, singly or combined, was especially apparent in such categories as combat aircraft, artillery, and armored fighting vehicles. But the superiority in num- bers was less significant than the SADF's greater experience, higher level of education and training, and the quality of its arms. The SADF had demonstrated its ability to mount offensives over long distances and to occupy large areas against hostile forces. Mozambique shares about 500 kilometers of common border with South Africa, most of it close to the most heavily populated Mozambican areas and important transport lines, and Maputo lies less than 90 kilometers by rail and 120 kilometers by road from the frontier. Most of the land on the South African side of the border is encompassed within Kruger National Park, a vast game reserve easily patrolled by the SADF.

On March 16, 1984, Machel joined P.W. Botha, the prime minister of South Africa, at the frontier between the two countries to sign the Nkomati accord. By this treaty both countries agreed to resolve future disputes by peaceful means and undertook not to resort to threats or force against each others territory. Specifically forbidden were sabotage, unwarranted concentrations of forces near each other's borders, and assistance to any state or group of states deployed against either signatory. Neither party was to allow its territories or air space to be used or transited by any other military forces, organizations, or individuals intent on committing acts of violence, terrorism, or aggression against the other. In executing this commitment, both parties were to prevent the use of bases, training centers, arms depots, command posts, telecommunications facilities, and broadcasting stations by such elements. Recruitment, abductions, the provision of logistic facilities, and acts of propaganda were similarly to be banned.

The FRELIMO regime acted promptly to fulfill its obligations under the treaty. ANC members were ordered to move to refugee camps or be resettled in other countries. Raids were conducted against ANC houses in search of weapons. It appeared that none of the other black-ruled states bordering South Africa was prepared to permit the ANC to use its territory for bases or infiltration, leaving the ANC with the dangerous prospect of having to direct its campaign of subversion from within South Africa itself. Machel saw the Nkomati accord as bringing peace to Mozambique and enabling the country to shift resources from military spending to reconstruction and development. He described it as a basic prerequisite to the healthy and normal development of the country.

The FPLM had demonstrated only limited capacity to conduct either conventional or counterinsurgency operations. FRELIMO won the liberation struggle not by defeating the Portuguese forces militarily but, along with liberation groups in other Portuguese colonies, by imposing economic and military strains on the colonial regime until a military-led coup in Portugal displaced the government in power. Although its capabilities improved during the Rhodesian civil war (1972-79), the FPLM was clearly no match for the forces of the Ian Smith government.

FRELIMO and its army started as a unified entity, and the guerrillas carried out political tasks during the liberation struggle. The army created the first party committees and the first party school for the study of Marxism-Leninism. Guerrillas identified themselves with the peasants because they often maintained farms to raise their own food supplies, and the guerrilla army sought to transform social attitudes by introducing women into its ranks.

This nexus between political and military elements, however, began unraveling shortly after national independence. In reaction to various reports of military indiscipline and complaints over low pay, a FRELIMO meeting with FPLM officers and enlisted personnel led to a proposed tightening of rules governing military behavior. One major change was the revocation of the army's power to arrest civilians. The directives developed by FRELIMO made subordination of the military explicit: all future orders to civilians were to come only from the party and the national government authorities.

The army has no capable doctrine. After undergoing major transitions from a people’s liberation army to a conventional force patronized by the East, then the West, the army has incorporated former adversaries with diverse experiences and capabilities. Operating without a realistic threat; lacking funding, training, and equipment; and serving a nation more in need of development and humanitarian assistance than war-fighting skills, the Army focuses on support to civilian authorities and conducts few military operations. The FADM is increasingly engaged in peacekeeping operations and has provided military observers for several international peacekeeping missions and contributed troops for the African Union’s peacekeeping operation in Burundi.

Mozambique is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and a signatory to its 2003 defense pact. Mozambique contributes forces to the African Union (AU) Standby Force SADC Brigade. The brigade will participate in peacekeeping operations and provide the AU a rapid intervention capability as one of five regional brigades on the African continent. Mission of the Armed Forces.

The mission of the FADM, as outlined in Article 59 of the constitution, specifies that the FADM will defend national independence, preserve the country’s sovereignty and integrity, and guarantee normal functioning of institutions and the security of its citizens against any armed aggression.

The president of Mozambique is the commander in chief of FADM and appoints the minister of defense and chief of the general staff. The president of Mozambique chairs the National Defense and Security Council and its members include the service chiefs of all the security forces: Army, Navy, Air Force, and national police. This council brings together all the security organs under one umbrella giving the president the ability to hold his service chiefs personally accountable.

The minister of defense is accountable to parliament and the public while also chairing the defense council, which is composed of the chief of general staff, chief of the Army, chief of the Navy, and chief of the Air Force. This council only brings together the service chiefs of the armed forces; it does not include the police, which fall under the Ministry of Interior.

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Page last modified: 20-11-2017 19:52:28 ZULU