Police Reform: General Peace Agreement for Mozambique

Protocol IV.V. Depoliticisation and restructuring of the police forces:

1. During the period between the entry into force of the ceasefire and the assumption of power by the new Government, the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) shall continue to perform its functions under the responsibility of the Government.

2. The Police of the Republic of Mozambique shall:

(a) perform its duties and functions strictly in accordance with the spirit and the letter of internationally recognized democratic principles;

(b) respect the civil and political rights of citizens, as well as the internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms;

(c) be guided in the performance of its functions by the interests of the State and common welfare, in a manner free from any partisan or ideological considerations or regard for social standing and from any other form of discrimination;

(d) act at all times in conformity with the terms and spirit of the General Peace Agreement;

(e) act at all times with impartiality and independence vis-a-vis all political parties.

3. The PRM shall be composed of citizens selected on the basis of criteria that are in conformity with the principles specified above.

4. The basic tasks of the PRM shall be:

(a) to ensure respect for and defence of the law;

(b) to maintain public order and tranquillity and to prevent and suppress crime;

(c) to guarantee the existence of a climate of social stability and harmony.

5. (a) The measures taken by the PRM, as well as all actions of its agents, shall at all times be governed by the law and the legislative provisions in force in the Republic of Mozambique and by the principles agreed upon in the General Peace Agreement;

(b) The activities and prerogatives of the PRM shall be exercised within the limits authorised by the juridical order, but with strict respect for the principles of the State ruled by law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms. These activities may not be directed towards limiting the exercise of the democratic rights of citizens or favouring any political party.

6. The Commander and Deputy Commander of the PRM shall be appointed by the President of the Republic of Mozambique.

7. (a) For purposes of verifying that the actions of the PRM do not violate the legal order or result in violation of the political rights of citizens, a National Police Affairs Commission (COMPOL) shall be established;

(b) COMPOL shall be composed of 21 members whose professional and personal qualities and past record afford guarantees of balance, effectiveness and independence vis-ˆ-vis all political parties;

(c) COMPOL shall be established by the President of the Republic of Mozambique within 15 days following the entry into force of the General Peace Agreement and shall be composed of six citizens nominated by RENAMO, six nominated by the Government, and nine selected as a result of consultations to be held by the President of the Republic with the political forces in the country from among citizens meeting the requirements specified in subparagraph (b);

(d) COMPOL shall have full powers to investigate any matter relating to the activity of PRM that is held to be contrary to the legal order and to the principles specified in paragraphs 1, 2, 4 and 5. On being apprised of a matter, the Commission shall conduct a preliminary internal analysis in order to determine whether it falls within the sphere of police activities. The Commission shall decide to proceed with the investigations if more than half of its members so agree;

(e) COMPOL shall submit systematic reports on its activities to CSC;

(f) COMPOL shall inform the competent State authorities of any irregularities detected, in order that they may take the appropriate judicial or disciplinary measures.

Implementation History


Intermediate Implementation

“The Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) was created on 31 December 1992 by Law 19/92, to replace the existing Mozambique People's Police (PPM). The General Peace Agreement (Protocol IV, Section IV) also established clear objectives relating to the depoliticization and restructuring of the police force.”1

The CNI, established under the terms of the peace accord, had been assigned the task of verifying that the State Information and Security Service did not violate the law during the transition period.2

  • 1. Mark Malan, “Peacebuilding in Southern Africa: Police Reform in Mozambique and South Africa,” International Peacekeeping 6, no. 4 (1999): 172.
  • 2. “Mozambique: President Meets Body Charged with Overseeing Security Service During Transition,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, January 8, 1993.

Full Implementation

In an interview with Radio Mozambique on 11 February 1993, Aldo Ajello, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Mozambique, said the National Information Commission and the National Commission for Police Affairs, two commissions established within the framework of the general peace accord, had not begun operating because the MNR (RENAMO) had not yet named its representatives, even though there were MNR accusations that the government had integrated approximately 15,000 soldiers and 3,000 employees of the State Information and Security Service into the police force.3 In an interview, the Special Representative reported that President Chissano already had the names on the government side, the names of the nine people who would be appointed after consultation with the other parties, and he was still waiting for a designation from MNR.

On 21 June 1993, two presidential decrees established the National Information Commission (COMINFO) and the National Commission for Police Affairs (COMPOL), both of which were called for in the General Peace Accord (GPA). Each commission consisted of 21 members. COMINFO was charged with the task of verifying that the State Information and Security Service (SISE) did not violate the law or citizens' political rights. COMPOL was assigned the task of verifying that the police did not violate the law or citizens' political rights. The two presidential decrees stated that COMPOL and COMINFO members would be sworn in by the President of the Republic and would operate from the day they were sworn in.4

(Comments from External Reviewer: “While COMINFO and COMPOL were created, they were established late and were far less functional than the other peace commissions. Most importantly, the failure to deal decisively with the question of Dhlakama's personal security detail has resulted in ongoing disagreements between RENAMO and the government, including government raids on houses in Beira where these armed bodyguards stay, the ongoing presence (for several years after the first elections) of armed men in Maringue that Dhlakama claimed were members of his security detail awaiting integration into one or another police force, etc. So while there has been "relative peace and security in society," police behavior has continued to be a bone of contention between the two former belligerents and indeed the behavior of the police in some districts has been pretty reprehensible, both toward ordinary citizens and toward the political opposition.

"Wherever it could, the government sought to stall the work of commissions that dealt with issues it felt were properly the domain of government and not of a bilateral peace commission. In other words, the FRELIMO government went through the motions on the commissions related to security reform and territorial reintegration with the hope that once the transitional elections were over, the government (FRELIMO, confident that it would be in government) would be able to resolve these matters as it saw fit. This is important because it was not as if all provisions of the peace agreement were uniformly and comprehensively implemented, yet the outcome was still durable peace and some degree of democratic politics.”)

  • 3. “Mozambique: Some UN Military Observers Arrive: Interview with UN’s Ajello on Commissions,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, February 13, 1993.
  • 4. “Mozambique: Presidential Decree Establishes Two Commissions on Citizens' Rights,” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, June 23, 1993.

Full Implementation

“In his 28 January 1994 report, the Secretary-General also stated that recent political developments in Mozambique had evolved in such a way as to allow an increasing shift of focus from monitoring ceasefire arrangements to general verification of police activities in the country and the respect of civil rights. Therefore, the Secretary-General, in an addendum to his report, recommended the establishment of a 1,114-strong ONUMOZ Civilian Police Component  - inclusive of the 128 already authorized by the Council.”5 On 23 February 1994, the Security Council, by its resolution 898 (1994), authorized the establishment of the police component, as recommended by the Secretary-General.

The ONUMOZ Civilian Police Component (CIVPOL) was mandated to monitor all police activities in the country and verify that their actions were consistent with the General Peace Agreement: to monitor respect of citizens' rights and civil liberties; provide technical support to the National Police Commission; verify that the activities of private protection and security agencies did not violate the General Peace Agreement; verify the strength and location of the government police forces and their materiel; and monitor and verify the process of the reorganization and retraining of the quick-reaction police force, including its activities, weapons, and equipment. In addition, CIVPOL, together with other ONUMOZ components, monitored the proper conduct of the electoral campaign and verified that political rights of individuals, groups, and political organizations were respected.

CIVPOL was established in strategic locations. By mid-March 1994, CIVPOL had been established in the central headquarters and regional and provincial capitals. In the second phase, 70% of CIVPOL posts and locations began operating in the months from April to June, which coincided with the voter registration process. The remainder of the components deployed before the beginning of the electoral campaign, which began on 1 September 1994.6

In January 1994, shortly after the first phase of CIVPOL operations had been initiated, the Mozambican police numbered 18,047, with the command structure of national headquarters in Maputo, 11 provincial headquarters, and over 200 stations and posts in the districts. There was also a quick-reaction police force numbering several thousand, as well as various private security companies and agencies. Also, CIVPOL was mandated to oversee police neutrality during the peace process. Its mandate did not include training or technical assistance to the local police force.7 CIVPOL had a positive impact on curbing human rights abuses in the remote parts of the country. Once CIVPOL was concluded after the election period, allegations of human rights abuses increased.

  • 5. “Mozambique – ONUMOZ Background,” United Nations Operation in Mozambique (ONUMOZ), accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/past/onumozFT.htm
  • 6. Ibid.
  • 7. Mark Malan, “Peacebuilding in Southern Africa: Police Reform in Mozambique and South Africa,” International Peacekeeping 6, no. 4 (1999): 171-190.

Full Implementation

“After the elections and the termination of ONUMOZ, a UNDP-financed mission of officers from the Spanish Guardia Civil went to Mozambique during March-April 1995 to carry out an in-depth study of the needs and type of support required by the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) in order to do its job effectively and appropriately. This mission found that a broad and intensive programme of education and training was needed, as well as a fundamental structural reorganization of the PRM - complemented of course, by the requisite investments in equipment and infrastructure. Importantly, the PRM had itself recognized that it had not been effective, attributing poor performance to factors such as inadequate command and control."8

  • 8. Ibid., 177.

Full Implementation

Although the Police of the Republic of Mozambique was established immediately after the signing of the General Peace Agreement and COMPOL and COMINFO were established to oversee and verify that the police did not violate human rights, it was alleged that the Mozambican police force had been taken over by organized crime.9

  • 9. Ibid., 176.

Full Implementation

“On 27 June 1997, an agreement between the Government of Mozambique and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) was signed on a comprehensive project to assist and strengthen the PRM, through the retraining of existing staff and the training of new recruits, as well as through the reinforcement of management capacities. Spain and the Netherlands are the principal backers of the UNDP project, with Spain committing $US 8 million over a seven-year period and guaranteeing $3 million worth of in-kind training and advisory assistance from the Guardia Civil. The government of the Netherlands has earmarked a further $6 million for the project. The total cash value of the UNDP project ($11,228,224) compares very favourably with the cost of the two-year ONUMOZ CIVPOL mission, which is estimated at $30,199,824."10

  • 10. Ibid., 177.

Full Implementation

There were still many human rights abuses by police, who were also found to be involved in corruption. Nevertheless, the reform programs had some positive impact on the organizational capacity of the PRM. The PRM expelled 322 policemen from its ranks for 'incorrect behavior' between November 1997 and November 1998. The General Commander of the PRM was able to report the following police successes over the same one-year period:

·         22,942 registered crimes, down from the 23,528 the previous year.

·         The dismantling of 152 'criminal gangs' (including livestock rustlers, armed robbers and drug dealers) and confiscation from gang members of 185 pistols and 274 kg of narcotics.

·         The discovery of 52 arms caches, resulting in the destruction of 1,107 firearms (including 504 AK-47 rifles), 33 mortars, 43 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and 320 grenades, 95 landmines, 202 hand grenades, and over 50,000 rounds of ammunition.11

  • 11. Ibid., 178.

Full Implementation

The Police of the Republic of Mozambique was established immediately after the signing of the General Peace Agreement in 1992. COMPOL and COMINFO were established in 1993 to oversee and verify that the police did not violate human rights. In the subsequent years, the organization went through substantial reform with training designed to respect human rights. It managed to achieve a level of trust and relative security in society.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.