African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 390

Full Length Research Paper

Religion, politics and war: Reflections on Mozambique’s Civil War (1977-1992)

Mark Chingono
  • Mark Chingono
  • Department of Political and Administrative Studies, University of Swaziland, P. Bag 4, Kwaluseni, M201, Swaziland
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 29 January 2014
  •  Published: 31 March 2014


Religious ideology, in its diverse forms and contradictory roles, was a salient feature of every stage of the Mozambican civil war from 1975-1992. First, the conflict had its roots, partly, in attempts by the state to suppress religion. Second, during the war different groups appropriated and adapted religion to explain, manage and survive the violent turmoil. Third and even more important, religious actors played a crucial role in the peace process and resolution of the conflict. This paper identifies and discusses the varied roles that religious ideology played in the civil war, and highlights the social conditions that made people give to their historical situation a religious interpretation. Based on an interdisciplinary approach, it concludes that religious ideology is a powerful political force that can only be challenged at great cost, and its implications for war and peace are, at best ambiguous, and at worst, catastrophic.
Key words: Conflict, God, ideology, peace, politics, rebel, religion, revivalism, resurgence, war.


CIO, Central Intelligence Organization; Frelimo, Front for the Liberation of Mozambique; MNR/Renamo, Mozambique National Resistance