Mozambique's Reluctance to Accept Foreign Military Aid Reflects Frelimo's Paranoia About Losing Power


Frelimo has never aspired to an independent army. Its full control over the army and police has been essential for maintaining its grip on power. Hence its reluctance to accept foreign -- even SADC -- military help in combating the Cabo Delgado insurgency, and instead relying on mercenaries.

"Much ado about nothing" is the best way to describe the outcome of the recent Extraordinary Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), held in Maputo, Mozambique, on 8 April 2021. There is no doubt that this is the real sentiment of the direct victims of the conflict and the international community. There had been high hopes that concrete regional steps could finally stop the advancing insurgency in Cabo Delgado.

Apart from the usual expressions of condolences, sympathies and solidarity to both the victims of the conflict and to the government, SADC will send a fact-finding mission to Mozambique. The mission will investigate what kind of military support SADC can provide, including the possibility of direct intervention. When exactly this team will be deployed on the ground and what the composition of this technical deployment will be, remain unknown.

But why did a...

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