The Behavioral Adaptation of MPLA and FRELIMO to Dual Transitions: a Mix of Ruptures and Continuities

The post-independence period in Angola and Mozambique was marked by a mono-party regime in the throes of a protracted intrastate war. In both countries, the peace process started in the late 80’s/early 90’s and occurred simultaneously with a transition to a multi-party regime via elections. Although Angola returned to civil war after 1992 elections and Mozambique did not after 1994 elections, the respective former national liberation movements and single parties, MPLA and FRELIMO, would continue to be ruling parties, for almost 4o years now. This paper explores how both parties respond to challenges, especially concerning to dual transitions (to peace and to multi-party democracy). The aim is thus to discuss the behavioral adaptation of these two longest-ruling African parties as an important dimension in the study of post-independence political trajectory and of single-party adaptation to transitions to democracy. An in-depth study of these two former African single parties through an interface model of challenges and party responses is hereby presented. This study finds that, since their foundation, MPLA and FRELIMO are not monolithic blocks and are in an ongoing process of internal adaptation, marked by a mix of ruptures and continuities.

Cláudia Generoso de Almeida, Universidade Complutense de Madrid


PhD student at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, carrying out a comparative case study of dual transitions in Angola (1991-1992) and Mozambique (1992-1994). I have been a visiting scholar at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Universidade Agostinho Neto, and visitor at the Columbia University. I am also collaborating in a Mozambican documentary TV Series, MOZAMBIQUE FROM WAR AND PEACE. I have also collaborated in several research projects at the ICS-UL (2009 -2013), and as a country expert at the Varieties of Democracy Project (2014).