How can the shrinking of civic spaces be reversed? This article suggests an analytical approach to identify mechanisms that cause the shrinking of civic spaces in Mozambique, and presents a starting point for building strategies to react to this process. Based on interviews and participative observation in the field, it explores events and episodes where crucial issues or activists’ groupings were neutralised, and visits the theory of defiance in civil society, power and contentious politics to explain how the shrinking of civic spaces has been taking place in Mozambique in the past ten years. It is reasonable to state that activists need to cope with cultural and cognitive barriers in order to face the various expressions of state and market power in Mozambique. Civil society organizations need to work with their donors to create new forms of relationship together, where issues such as accountability, for example, do not put at risk civic spaces and projects that have made a positive difference to people’s lives. In addition, activists need to establish a joint lobbying focus for constructing a legal framework that facilitates the emergence of new civic spaces in urban and rural areas.
Banks, N. & Hulme, D. (2012). The role of NGOs and civil society in development and poverty reduction, Working Paper 171, Manchester: Brooks World Poverty Institute.
Boletim da República (1994.) Law No. 4/94 13 September: The Patronage Law. Maputo: Imprensa Nacional.
Boletim da República (2000). Decree No. 37/2000 17 October: set procedures to public interest declaration, Maputo: Imprensa Nacional.
Boletim da República (2000a). Decree No.15, 20 June 2000, was approved by the Council of Ministers and changed the treatment to traditional leaders, Maputo: Imprensa Nacional.
Boletim da República (2006). Decree No 44/2007, 30 October: define procedures to youth associations acknowledgement, Law No 8/91, 18 July, Maputo: Imprensa Nacional.
Boletim da República (2010). Decree No 42/2010, 20 October: Land Consultation Forum creation, Maputo: Imprensa Nacional.
Bratton, M. (1994). Civil society and political transition in Africa, IDR Reports, Boston: IDR
Carothers, T. (2000). ‘Think again: Civil society’, Foreign Policy Magazine – Winter 1999–2000:18–29.
Chambers, S. and Kopstein, J. (2001). ‘Bad civil society’, Political Theory, 29.6:837–865
Carothers, T. & Brechenmacher, S (2014). Closing Space: democracy and human rights support under fire, Washington: Carnegie.
Chichava, S. & Pohlman, J. (2010). Uma Breve Análise da Imprensa Moçambicana. In L. de Brito, C.N. Castel-Branco, S. Chichava, S. Forquilha e A. Francisco (Eds.). Desafios para Moçambique 2010 (pp.127–138). Maputo: IESE.
CIP (2015). ‘Conferência acional sobre Liberdade de Imprensa em Moçambique’. artigo apresentado na mesa no Centro de Conferências das Telecomunicações de Moçambique, Maputo 7 May 2015.
Civicus (2011). Bridging the gaps: citizens, organizations and disassocitation, Civil Society Index Summary Report 2008–2011. Johannesburg: Civicus.
Civicus (2018). ‘Monitor Tracking Civic Spaces’ https://monitor.civicus.org/whatiscivicspace/
Cohen, J.L & Arato, A (1992). ‘Civil Society and Political Theory (Studies in Contemporary German Social Thought), Cambridge: MIT Press
Corry, O. (2010). ‘Defining and theorizing the third sector’ in R. Taylor (ed), Third sector research, New York: Springer.
Cox, R.W. (1983). ‘Gramsci, hegemony and international relations’, Millennium Journal of International Studies, 12.2:162–175
De Araújo, M. & Chambote, R. (2009). ‘Civil Society and Development in Mozambique’ in P. Chabal and N. Vidal (ed) Civil Society and Deelopment in Mozambique, Brussels: EP. DW Africa (2015a). Constituição moçambicana “possibilita” províncias autnónomas, 2 February, <http://www.dw.com/pt-002/constitui%C3%A7%C3%A3o-mo%C3%A7ambicana-possibilita-prov%C3%ADncias-aut%C3%B3nomas/a-18230646>.
Ebeku, K.S.A. (2002). Oil and the Niger Delta people: the injustice of the land use act, Verfassung und Recht in Übersee / Law and Politics in Africa, Asia and Latin America, 35.2.201–231.
Ebiede, T.M. (2011). Conflict drivers: Environmental degradataion and corruption in the Niger Delta region, African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review, 1.1.139–151.
Fowler, A. (2014). ‘Civil Society and Aid in Africa: A Case of Mistaken Identity?’ in Ebenezer Obadare (ed), The Handbook of Civil Society in Africa, New York: Springer, 157–173.
Francisco, A., Mucavele, A., Monjane, P. & Seuane, S. (2007). Mozambian society within: evaluation, challenges, opportunities and action. Ketchum: FCDE.
Francisco, A. (2015). Avaliaçã o Nacional sobre o Ambiente Propício para Actuaçã o da OSC: O caso de Moçambique. Report. Maputo: Joint (Draft).
Gaventa, J. (2006). Finding the Spaces for Change: A Power Analysis. IDS Bulletin V37(6), 23–33.
Geffray, C. (1991). A causa das armas em Moçambique: Antropologia da Guerra contemporânea, Porto: Afrontamento.
Grest, J. (1995). Urban Management, Local Government Reform and the Democratisation Process in Mozambique: Maputo City 1975-1990, Journal of Southern African Studies, 21.1:147–164.
Hossain, N., Khurana, N., Mohmand, S., Nazneen, S., Oosterom, M, Roberts, T., Santos, R., Shankland, A. & Schroder, P. (2018). What Does Closing Civic Spaces Mean for Development? A Literature Review and Proposed Conceptual Framework. IDS Working Paper 515. Brighton: IDS.
Helliker, K., Imagining Civil Society in Zimbabwe and ‘Most of the World’ in Ebenezer Obadare (ed), The Handbook of Civil Society in Africa, New York: Springer, 417–438.
Hultin, N. (2014).‘Civil society and conflict in West Africa’, in Obadare, E, The Handbook of Civil Society in Africa (ed), New York: Springer, 199–214
ITAD & COWI (2012). Avaliação Conjunta do Apoio à Participação da Sociedade Civil no Diálogo sobre Políticas – MNED. Relatório Nacional Moçambique. Novembro
Jornal Notícias (2013). Campanha Eleitoral – Jorge Arroz apoia candidato da FRELIMO, retrieved from <http://www.jornalnoticias.co.mz/index.php/politica/6512-campanha-eleitoral-frelimo-perspectiva-vitoria>.
Jornal Notícias (2015a). Consulta sobre terras: que o sistema seja simples e célere, 20 October <http://jornalnoticias.co.mz/index.php/primeiro-plano/45020-consulta-sobre-terrasque-o-sistema-seja-simples-e-celere>.
Lang, S. (2013). NGOs, Civil Society, and the Public Sphere, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Lewis, D. (2010). ‘Nongovernmental Organizations, Definition and History’, in H.K.Anheier and S.Toepler (eds), International Encyclopedia of Civil Society, New York: Springer.
Lukes, S. (1974) Power: a radical view. 2nd ed. 2005. London: Palgrave.
Mamdani, M. (1996) Citizen and subject: Contemporary Africa and legacy of late colonialism, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Norad (2016) Development aid donations, retrieved from
Pessôa, M. (2018) Defiant Civil Society: Power and Contestation in Mozambique, (PhD/dissertation). IDS, University of Sussex.
Pessôa, M.; Como, J., Freitas, D., Manhiça, S., Nouck, L. & Varimello, A. (2014) Relatório Nacional dos Direitos Humanos em Moçambique 2013–2014. Maputo: LDH (draft).
Portal do Governo (2015) Decree 11/2005 10 June – Law of the local state bodies, retrieved from
Powercube/IDS (2011), retrieved from .
Putnam, R. (1995) ‘Bowling alone: America’s declining social capital’, Journal of Democracy, 6.1:65–78.
Robinson, P. T. (1991). ‘Niger: Anatomy of a Neotraditional Corporatist State’, Coparative Politics, 24.1: 1–20, New York: CUNY
Santos, B. S. e Meneses, M.P. (2010) ‘Mozambique: The Rise of a Micro Dual State’, Africa Development, XXXIV.3-4.2009: 129–166
Scott, J. (1990) Domination and the Arts of Resistance: Hiddden Transcripts, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Tilly, C. & Tarrow, S. (2015) Contentious Politics, 2nd Ed, Oxford: Oxford Press (Kindle edition).
Verdade (2013a) Jorge Arroz foi detido acusado de sedição, Movimento de profissionais de saúde e populares forçou a sua libertação, retrieved from <http://www.verdade.co.mz/tema-de-fundo/35-themadefundo/37247-dr-jorge-arroz-foi-detido-e-acusado-sedicao-movimento-popular-forcou-a-sua-libertacao?livedeskitem=45.5>.
Verdade (2013b) Carta aberta para deter e refletir, retrieved from <http://www.verdade.co.mz/vozes/37-hora-da-verdade/37359-carta-aberta-para-deter-e-reflectir-de-forma-urgente-o-programa-prosavana>.
Verdade (2013c) Dr. Jorge Arroz anuncia o fim da greve, retrieved from <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2S5IZ5Y-BQ>.
Verdade (2016) Há esquadrões da morte para abater opositores, revela agente da Polícia da República de Moçambique, retrieved from <http://www.verdade.co.mz/tema-de-fundo/35-themadefundo/57164-ha-esquadroes-de-morte-para-abater-opositores-revela-agente-da-policia-da-republica-de-mocambique>.
VOA (2013) Profissionais de saúde moçambicanos queixam-se de represálias retrieved from <http://www.voaportugues.com/a/crise-na-liga-mocambicana-dos-direitos-humanos/2614075.html>.
At the moment of the article submission, it is required to the author(s) declare to agree with the conditions and norms of Political Observer - Revista Potuguesa de Ciência Política, as well as guaranteeing the inedited and original character of the text submitted to scientific evolution. Thus, the author(s) declare to accept the instructions and conditions of publication of the journal, sharing with this the author’s rights, respecting the duties of copyright and ceding to the journal the rights over the first publication of the text in its printed and digital version.
This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. The partial or integral publication and sharing of the text (in institutional repositories, book chapters, periodical publications, social media and professional platforms in the areas of science and research, among others) determines the quotation of the initial publication in the journal and the hyperlinking to the website of Political Observer - Revista Potuguesa de Ciência Política, resorting, to that effect, to the available information in the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) system.
Political Observer incentives the sharing and distribution of the work published by the authors in the journal, raising the impact factors and the number of registered quotes, this way contributing to an open (https://www.ciencia-aberta.pt/) and accessible science (http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/portals-and-platforms/goap/open-science-movement/). Published works are under a Creative Commons License - Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International .