RWA Mozambique: Unravelling the Conflict in Cabo Delgado

The situation in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, is dire due to a war over control of territory and resource wealth. Land grabs have displaced communities, leading to resistance and conflict. Since October 2017, 869,000 people have been displaced, with over 400,000 being children. Recently, 12,000 hectares of land in Palma were handed over to the Cabo Delgado Economic Development Promotion Centre (CPD) without proper consultation with the occupants, as they were displaced by the conflict. This situation is creating a great deal of tension and resentment among the affected communities.This is because by law, a concession for land can only be granted after consultation with the occupants. But they are not there because they have been displaced by the war, so there apparently has been no consultation.

The conflict in Cabo Delgado is directly linked to the impact of extractives on poor communities. The Mozambican government denies its role in displacing people and blames foreign militants for the conflict. The violence in the region rages on as the insurgents try to keep control of strategic zones and entry points into the region. SADC (Southern African Development Community) and other countries (Uganda and Rwanda) have sent military personnel to Mozambique to combat the insurgents  SADC specifically have a military mission (SAMIM) actually fighting, with personnel from 10 countries: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The armed forces from Rwanda, South Africa and Mozambique have indicated that they cleared this area (Chai and the national road) from insurgents and displaced people had gradually returned, but the locals have fled again because they felt unsafe.  Most displaced people fled to the south of Cabo Delgado where they remain in serious poverty with lack of access to agricultural land, chronic malnutrition and external dependence. Competition for land and firewood increases tension with local people. The presence of multinational companies seeking to exploit the region\’s natural resources adds to the complexity of the situation.

Additionally, there are concerns about the long-term demand for natural gas from the region, as the global gas consumption is predicted to peak and decline by 2035 due to climate change concerns. TotalEnergies\’ decision to restart gas production in Afungi will depend on various factors, including the market demand, climate change policies, and the resolution of the conflict. In order to fully understand and address the conflict\’s root causes, it is essential to listen to the grievances of the displaced communities and address issues of inequality, marginalisation, and lack of opportunities. Sustainable solutions that benefit the local population and protect their rights are crucial to achieving lasting peace and development in the region.

Leave a Reply