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Mozambique - Military Personnel

Morale is low in the Armed Forces for the Defense of Mozambique (FADM) due to the perceived lack of care given by the government; specifically, the lack of pay increases and slow equipment replacements. As an example of out-of-date equipment, the FADM is still using Soviet-era equipment from the civil war.

Most of the FPLM manpower needs were satisfied through a national system of conscription, which drew selectively from the pool of Mozambican men and women above the age of 18. The Military Balance, 1983-1984, published by London's International Institute for Strategic Studies, indicated that about 75 percent of the army's personnel had been conscripted.

Mozambique always had an ample supply of manpower for its military needs. Out of a population estimated at 13.1 million in 1983, roughly 2.9 million were males between the ages of 15 and 49; of these an estimated 1.7 million were considered fit for military service. Women also serve in the armed forces, the security service, and the national police. The required three months of training at the Military Preparation Center at Moamba, north-west of Maputo, reportedly has equal proportions of political and military instruction.

Ethnic dissension, a problem common to many African armed forces, apparently was not a source of concern for the FPLM. Preindependence FPLM soldiers were predominantly Maconde from the north, while their commanders came from various southern ethnic groups. African colonial forces were drawn largely from the Macua and the Yao groups. The apparently successful ethnic and regional integration may have resulted from Machel's decision during the liberation struggle to mix potential factions in both training and combat situations. The quality of the FPLM soldiers is probably poor, as evidenced by low educational levels, inadequate selection methods, and ineffective discipline, as well as by occasional disloyalty and desertion.

The FPLM had frequently shown reluctance to act aggressively in seeking out the RNM and has angered local residents by arbitrary and punitive actions that have been counter-productive in a conflict against an insurgent group dependent on the rural populace for food and information.

Since its inception the FPLM had been seriously deficient in the skills required to use sophisticated weapons. At indepen- dence, Mozambique's adult literacy rate was about 10 percent; in response to what Machel terms "the low scientific and educational levels of the majority of the [military] candidates," the FPLM apparently established primary schools for military conscripts, and FRELIMO has announced that well-educated soldiers would serve as tutors within the armed forces. The extent of foreign advisers attached to military units has indicated, in part, the inability of most FPLM personnel to absorb technically sophisticated material

Military service is compulsory, but only 1,000 Mozambicans are drafted annually. Soldiers suffer from poor living conditions, with inadequate housing and medical treatment, low pay, and food and water shortages. As a result, many Mozambicans refuse to register for the draft. The Armys high attrition rate and limited recruiting have resulted in a grossly top-heavy rank structure.

After the protracted civil war ended in 1992, the government of Mozambique had the difficult task of combining FRELIMO soldiers and RENAMO rebels into a singular force called the Armed Forces for the Defense of Mozambique (FADM). The organization was expected to have between 30,000 and 35,000 personnel. The FADM has yet to meet this number, primarily because very few 18-year-olds actually register much less report when ordered. On average, over 90 percent of 18-year-olds refuse to register. While there are judicial mechanisms in place to punish those who fail to register, these young men and women are rarely prosecuted.

Initial entry training is conducted at Montepuez and Manhica military training centers. Once soldiers graduate, they are put to work in humanitarian and infrastructure development tasks and seldom train again. Officers attend the Samora Machel Military Academy in Nampula for 4 years. Officers and noncommissioned officers have more opportunities to train in foreign schools than the few soldiers they lead.

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