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Records of Weapons Collection and Destruction in Southern Africa: The Mozambican Experience

NCJ Number
African Security Review Volume: 8 Issue: 4 Dated: 1999 Pages: 62-74
Martinho Chachiua
Date Published
13 pages
This analysis of initiatives by both government and civil society in Mozambique to collect weapons to reduce crime and violence focuses on these efforts as a component of the country’s peace process and on the way in which political and economic dynamics have influenced the arms collection.
Mozambique has experienced the deep militarization of its entire society in the course of more than 2 decades of war from the early 1960’s until the 1994 general elections. Violence has been the rule throughout this period of war, deprivation, and despair. The success of the elections in 1994 suggested that the country would not experience any more war, but positive peace had still not occurred. The widespread availability of weapons has exacerbated social violence. A government plan announced in 1995 included deploying permanent police units to patrol the main roads, reestablishing district police commands, and creating a special unit for the destruction of arms caches. The governments of Mozambique and South Africa also agreed on mutual assistance in crime control and designed Operation Rachel, a joint initiative to destroy arms caches. A nongovernmental initiative called Swords into Ploughshares has resulted in the collection of about 1,750 small arms, most from caches rather than from individuals. Both weapons collection programs appear not to have tapped the criminal weapons market. The declining numbers of arms collected suggest that success depends greatly on the country’s political momentum and thus on public confidence in the twin processes of peace and democratization. Tables