Africa Notes: Mozambique After Machel - December 1986
December 29, 1986
In a transition marked by solemnity but not despair, the leaders of Mozambique's governing party who survived the October 19, 1986 plane crash that took the lives of President Samora Machel and 33 others quietly agreed that Minister of Foreign Affairs Joaquim Chissano should be the successor head of state. President Chissano faces a grim challenge.
Although "approaching collapse" is a relative – and overused - term in Africa, it is an objective fact that Mozambique is approaching mass starvation and financial bankruptcy; that the country's military (Forças Populares de Libertação de Moçambique [FPLM]) is in danger of losing control of several central provinces and vital regional transport routes to antigovernment guerrillas of the Resistência Nacional Moçambicana, known as Renamo or MNR; and that rhetorical, economic, and military pressures by its powerful neighbor, South Africa, are increasing.