Mozambique is a multiparty parliamentary democracy with a freely elected republican form of government. The most recent national elections for president, parliament, and provincial assemblies took place in October 2014. Voters elected Filipe Nyusi of the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo) party as president. Multiple national and international observers considered voting generally orderly but lacking transparency during vote tabulation. Some domestic and foreign observers and local civil society organizations expressed concern over election irregularities such as delays in observer credentialing, excessive numbers of invalid votes, and inordinately high voter turnout in some districts, which they alleged indicated ballot box stuffing.
Civilian authorities at times did not maintain effective control over security forces.
The country experienced significant domestic upheaval during the year due to the continuing armed conflict between government Defense and Security Forces (FDS) and militarized members of the main opposition party, the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo). Confrontations between the government and Renamo, which the Mozambican Human Rights League (LDH) termed “a low intensity civil war,” increased in rural areas of the central and northwestern parts of the country and contributed to more than 10,000 persons fleeing to Malawi. There were reports of abuses committed by the FDS. The conflict included several retaliatory kidnappings and killings of Renamo and Frelimo officials. In May local residents discovered an alleged mass grave near the border between Manica and Sofala Provinces. Although the government blocked access to the site, reporters found approximately a dozen corpses scattered in the bush nearby. A reported second mass gravesite was later found close by. While a parliamentary investigative team did not come to any definitive conclusions or hold the government responsible, it was the first time such an investigative committee was formed.
The most significant human rights problems included abuses in the internal conflict, arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life, and lack of respect for civil liberties.
Other human rights problems included: disappearances; potentially life-threatening prison and detention center conditions; restrictions on freedom of speech and press; arbitrary arrest or detention; restrictions on freedoms of assembly and association; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; interference with participation in the political process; corruption and lack of transparency in government; restrictions on the rights of women, children, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, and persons with disabilities; HIV and AIDS social stigma; societal violence against persons with albinism; restrictions on worker rights; and trafficking in persons.
The government took steps to investigate, prosecute, and punish some officials who committed abuses; however, impunity remained a problem at all levels.
Allegations surfaced in independent media of government-sponsored paramilitary “death squads” that targeted Renamo members. The government accused rebel forces belonging to Renamo of killing Frelimo officials, attacking civilian vehicles on major highways, and raiding numerous medical facilities. Renamo denied government and international nongovernmental organization (NGO) assertions that it attacked civilian vehicles, arguing it targeted FDS travelling in civilian vehicles wearing civilian attire. The government promised to investigate these actions; however, there were no prosecutions to date.