Central African Republic, Cold War, FRELIMO, Heritage Foundation, Invisible Children, Joseph Kony, MDM, Mozambique, Mozambique Presidential election, RENAMO, Zimbabwe
At the beginning of the year I noted that the DC policy community may come to regret the lack of focus on the situation in the Central African Republic following the forced departure of the incumbent President (and I reiterated those concerns a few months later). I still find it strange that in a situation where the media portrays a Muslim minority taking control of a Christian majority nation via force and where Hezbollah is alleged to have some sort of presence, DC Africa watchers are not taking greater notice of this situation. It is particularly odd that the Joseph Kony crusaders (like Invisible Children and Enough) are not being more visible during this conflict in light of claims that CAR’s President is negotiating for his surrender. However, outsourcing diplomacy on this issue to France should help the US taxpayer.
Another situation marked by a distinct lack of interest in DC securocrat circles, though not as grave as that in the CAR, is the deteriorating security and political situation in Mozambique. In October, RENAMO repudiated the 1992 Rome Peace Accord that ended the country’s long running civil war. In recent months, RENAMO has launched attacks on civilians and government installations, resulting in numerous fatalities. RENAMO is based very close to the Zimbabwean border and these actions have brought strong warnings from Harare, although as far as I can tell there has not been significant regional concern (and what of Zim following the July elections?).
Amidst this surge in violence, municipal elections were recently held. Although the ruling FRELIMO party continues to dominate the political scene, the MDM, a breakaway faction of RENAMO, now governs three of Mozambique’s four largest cities. In the 1980s, Cold War politics led to RENAMO opening an office within the conservative DC think tank, the Heritage Foundation. Presidential elections for Mozambique are less than a year away. Although I recognize that history has moved on from Cold War intrigues, I am very surprised that the DC Africa scene has not exhibited a greater interest in these tensions, particularly in light of Mozambique’s enhanced economic fortunes as of late.