ozambique has
political-military crisis since
2012. In 2014,
between government forces (Frelimo) and Renamo, the
largest opposition party, experienced a
brief interlude as a result of a precarious
peace agreement. After the elections in
2014, Renamo claimed victory and accused Frelimo of having fixed the electoral process with massive manipulation
of results. In the same year, after the attack and the siege of Afonso Dhlakama’s
residence, Renamo’s leader, he fled and
returned to his base in the Gorongosa
Mountains, where he remains to this day.
A few days after returning to his base,
the war reignited, going through a considerably intense period between 2015
and 2016, which affected the movement
of people and goods, affecting also the
full exercise of press freedoms.
Parallel to this political-military crisis,
the Mozambican economic situation
suffered with the discovery of hidden
debts incurred during the last two years
of the government of Armando Guebuza, whose mandate ended in 2014.
The discovery of the Mozambican hidden debt was widely publicised, first
by the international press, before being taken up by the Mozambican press.
That is to say, it was partly thanks to the
international press that a hidden debt
estimated at US $ 1.4 billion incurred
in 2013, came to light, aggravating the
country’s foreign debt by 25%. With
the Wall Street Journal reporting from
the United States, widely followed by
other international and national press,
the question transcended into the public
arena, putting pressure on the govern-


So This is Democracy? 2016

ment to publicly provide information, as
well as the parliament to take measures
such as requests for explanation of the
debt and the conducting of a parliamentary inquiry.
The secret debts have forced programme
partners that support the state budget,
including the IMF and the World Bank,
to suspend all aid until completion of
the ongoing investigation, led by the international firm Kroll.
Suspension of donor support coupled
with weak revenue collection has aggravated the economic crisis. The national
currency suffered a strong devaluation,
with the national debt at 130% of GDP.
The State failed to pay debts to creditors and to national companies. Many
private companies have declared bankruptcy. Public enterprises are in crisis, in
dire need of financial restructuring. This
crisis was not alien to the press, which
survives on advertising, with the State as
the largest client. Just like the revenue of
their clients, the revenue of media enterprises has dropped dramatically.
On a social level, Mozambique has
faced the worst droughts in the past 30
years, with thousands affected and just
over 5,000 head of cattle dead as a result of the phenomenon.
All of these crises had an impact, some
more than others, on the behaviour of
political and economic actors, with the
power to condition press freedom in
Mozambique, thus affecting press behaviour.

The armed conflict and the economic
crisis were the biggest threats to press
freedom in Mozambique in 2016. These
two factors created opportunities for

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