Mozambique Political System

Political system

Mozambique’s president has great powers, and is both the head of state and government. The country has a multi-party system, but the Frelimo government party has ruled since the independence of the colonial power Portugal in 1975. It has in effect led to the power of a political elite within Frelimo. This has caused resentment among Frelimo’s opponents within the largest opposition party, Renamo. Corruption is widespread both within the justice system and society at large, and the police are accused of using too much force in arrests and arrests.

The 1990 Constitution of the Republic of Mozambique prohibits the death penalty and guarantees citizens basic human rights. The President and Parliament shall be elected by direct universal suffrage. The president is elected by the people for a term of five years and may be re-elected. In addition to the head of state and government, the president is also the country’s commander in chief.

  • Countryaah: Total population and chart of Mozambique for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.

The prime minister is not the head of government, but has only one advisory position vis-à-vis the president. The Prime Minister presents the Government’s action program and budget to Parliament.

The government, with 18 members, gives advice to the president. It includes, among other things, the Prime Minister, the President of Parliament and the one who came second in the last presidential election. Other members are appointed by the President or Parliament.

The Legislative Parliament has 250 members elected by the people for a term of five years. The voting age is 18 years.

Short for MZ by Abbreviationfinder, Mozambique is divided into ten provinces plus the capital Maputo, which is a separate administrative area. Each province is governed by a governor appointed by the president. In 2009, the first elections for new provincial assemblies were held with 50 members each. The members shall be advisory to the governors and elected every five years. Municipal elections are also held every five years.

Political parties

Although Mozambique is a multi-party state, politics is dominated by two parties: the ruling Mozambique Liberation Front (Frente de Libertação de Mozambique, Frelimo) and the former guerrilla Mozambique’s National Resistance Movement (Resistência Nacional Mozambique, Renamo, also known as MNR). The weapons were silenced in the 1990s (see Modern History), but the relationship between the old arch enemies is still charged. In the early 2010s, tensions led to military confrontations, but after a peace agreement was signed in 2014, relations improved (see Current Policy).

While the socialist Frelimo has great support in the southern parts of the country, most of Renamo’s supporters come from northern and central Mozambique. Renamo, which is usually described as poorly organized, refers to itself as center-right.

The Mozambique Democratic Movement (Movimento Democrático de Mozambique, MDM) was formed in March 2009 and entered Parliament in the elections held in October of that year. MDM was founded mainly by defectors from Renamo. The party has become an increasingly powerful political force and it doubled its mandate in parliament in the 2014 elections.

There are also a number of smaller parties with little influence.

Frelimo has ruled the country ever since independence from Portugal in 1975. The long hold of power has strengthened the political elite’s position, which has promoted corruption, and caused resentment by the political opposition. Corruption is not only a problem among the country’s politicians but also in society at large, despite a new anti-corruption law from 2012. Mozambique was ranked 119 out of 175 countries in the organization Transparency International’s 2014 measurement of corruption in the world.


The country’s legal system is largely based on colonial Portuguese legislation. Extensive work is underway to reform the laws. In 2014, a new penalty was passed.

The judiciary is subject to political pressure and there is a shortage of educated lawyers while old legal cases are accumulated on high. Organized crime has been strengthened, especially in the Maputo area, where police and politicians are accused of links to criminals, while statistics show that the number of crimes is increasing.

The Supreme Court is the last court and its president is appointed by the president. Appellate courts exist in all provinces, but several lack trained judges. Military courts judge only military personnel. Special courts are available for children under 16 years.

There are beatings and also fatalities in connection with police interventions. Torture, arbitrary arrests and executions without judicial review have been documented. There are also reports that police and government officials threatened and harassed members of the opposition. The situation in prisons is difficult.

Mozambique Urban Population



Frelimo’s victory is considered to be due to cheating

In the parliamentary elections, which are held at the same time, the Frelimo government party extends its majority to 191 of the 250 seats, but is again accused of electoral fraud by Renamo, which loses almost half of its seats and stays at 51. MDM enters Parliament with eight seats. MDM had then been prevented by the country’s electoral commission from appearing in 9 of the country’s 13 constituencies, which attracted international criticism. Both MDM and Renamo claim that Frelimo is guilty of electoral fraud. Election observers criticize Frelimo for using the state’s resources for his election campaign and accuse the Election Commission of acting to Frelimo’s advantage.

The president is elected for another term in office

President Armando Guebuza and the Frelimo government are re-elected. Guebuza gets 75 percent of the vote in the presidential election, while Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama loses heavily in support since the last election to 16.4 percent. Beira’s mayor Daviz Simango, who had formed the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) in March 2009, comes in third place in the presidential election with 8.6 percent of the vote.


Thousands in need after drought

According to the UN, 350,000 people in Mozambique are in need of food aid due to poor crops following drought.