Maschietto, R.H. (2015) What has Changed with Peace? Local Perceptions of Empowerment in Mozambique, Journal of Peacebuilding & Development, 10:2, 20-35, DOI: 10.1080/15423166.2015.1050797
Democracy promotion and economic liberalisation have been two pillars of contemporary peacebuilding practices. Whereas several studies have discussed the implementation of such reforms, much less has been written about their long-term effects, including repercussions in terms of changing people’s perception about their own power and ability to influence political spaces. Addressing this gap in the literature, this article analyses local perceptions of change following the peace accords in Mozambique. The analysis is based on interviews and focus groups conducted in Northern Mozambique in 2012, as well as on two surveys on democracy conducted by the Afrobarometer project in 2002 and 2012. This article concludes that whilst democratisation has contributed to people’s empowerment by creating formal spaces for participation, economic liberalisation has instead contributed to the reverse; in failing to tackle poverty, it has negatively affected the very spaces for empowerment created by democratisation.