Reintegration in Mozambique: an unresolved affair

Reintegration in Mozambique: an unresolved affair

In 2009, seventeen years after the civil war ended in Mozambique, its government still found it necessary to address the reintegration of some 100 000 former combatants, even though the completion of this process had been announced in 1994. However, the current paper underlines that Mozambique’s peace settlement and Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) programmes had been considered so successful. 

The paper notes the Mozambique’s DDR programmes found it necessary to attend anew to the needs of former fighters because helping ex-combatants reintegrate into society, socially and economically is a lengthy and continuous process. In this sense, the author pints that the readiness with which an ex-combatant adapts to changes in his or her life depends largely on how the entire DDR process is structured and managed.

The document threatens that whenever ex-combatants fail to find some sort of peaceful employment or income-generating activity, the process of their return to civilian life is often disrupted, and there are higher risks of them relapsing into criminal and aggressive behaviour.

Recommendations include:

  • for communities to fully embrace DDR programmes, and particularly the reintegration of ex-combatants, it is important to involve them in the programme not only as beneficiaries, but also through information sharing
  • reintegration interventions should be designed and implemented in such a way that they benefit entire communities, as opposed to individuals; this will ease the return of ex-combatants back into these communities
  • cultural norms need to be taken into consideration when planning reintegration interventions, to ensure a smooth social reintegration of the beneficiaries
  • it is highly advisable that DDR processes include the expertise of local actors, who should increasingly be allowed to play a much more facilitative role in finding creative solutions to the long-term stability of their communities
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