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Geoffrey Wood and Richard Haines, "Tentative Steps towards Multi-Partyism in Mozambique," Party Politics, 4 (January 1998), 107-118.

First Paragraph:
Following more than a decade of civil war, protracted negotiations between the main warring parties led to a peace settlement, and Mozambique's first ever democratic elections, held in November 1994. However, despite the formal adoption of a multi-party system, Mozambique has yet to achieve the status of a fully functional democracy. This article explores the changing roles and orientations of the various political actors, following the introduction of a multi-party system. Particular attention is focused on the growing lack of coherent policies by the major parties, and their partial degeneration into little more than vehicles for accessing state resources. In this sense, it can be argued that whilst the trappings of a multi-party system have become successfully institutionalized, the substance of such a system remains elusive.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Assembly of the Republic: 1994 election results

Last Paragraph:
There seems little to distinguish the two main political parties in Mozambique other than in terms of different regional constituencies. Both, for example, seem to have equally incoherent attitudes to privatization, reflecting internal divisions. Neither party appears capable of imposing discipline on its parliamentary delegates, and neither seems averse to sweeping policy shifts when expedient. On the one hand, policy flexibility by different political actors could reflect political maturity, signifying a shift away from politics as a 'zero sum game'. On the other hand, the erratic issue-orientated policy shifts associated with Mozambican political parties appear to be largely prompted by concerns of patronage and/or immediate access to wealth by specific interest groupings. It seems that neither party can rely on a disciplined parliamentary caucus (Mozambique file, December 1995). Indeed, it can be argued that Mozambique has progressed from a one, to a multi- to what can be termed a 'no-party system'. Whilst the different political actors remain, their policy foundations have long since vanished. Although retaining regional and ethnic constituencies, their major focus has become that of competing for material resources, resources that remain concentrated in the capital. Given the extremely weak nature of the Mozambican state, it is thus to be expected that there is little to distinguish the main political parties in terms of formal policy. Indeed, they have degenerated into little more than vehicles for accessing rapidly diminishing state resources.