A tension exists between the interests of states in protecting national security through border controls and those of communities in cross-border regions, to whom frequent border crossing is part of daily life – a necessary part of achieving their own wellbeing. The interplay between these two sets of interests has shaped particular ‘border regimes’ with varying degrees of selectivity in measures of the control of movements of people. In Mozambique, the securing of borders since the early 1990s in order to tackle unauthorised migration and organised crime has revealed a tension with border communities – the manifestation of which is regionally specific elements related to commuters (those crossing the border for shopping, schooling or medical care). This thesis applies qualitative research methods to a study of this multilevel (social, economic, cultural, security and political) problem of border governance in Mozambique. Empirical data, drawing on the interpretations and meanings of those who live in cross-border areas, as well as of government officials, are drawn on to reach a deeper understanding of the types of cross-border interactions and challenges that exist. Opportunities and constraints emanating from the demands of regional integration and international models of border governance are also analysed, in terms of their implications for those responsible for border control. By contrasting the national security orientation of border control and examining some of the localised cross-border consequences of its practices on communities living in cross-border regions, the study aims to contribute to a growing body of knowledge on the impact of border control practices on communities in cross-border regions. In order to achieve this, three regions were selected as cases studies, each representing a regional case: the Mozambique-Malawi border (Mandimba); the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border (Machipanda); and the Mozambique-South Africa border (Ressano Garcia). Key findings indicate that, despite some similarities (ethnic, language, religious), each border region is unique in the way that it contains specific aspects of crossing which demand a contextualised approach to border and security. These specific elements include the use of transboundary resources and access to socio-economic facilities (schools, hospitals, mills, markets, jobs). These elements have persisted since colonial times to post-independence and post-war Mozambique. They neither fit into a truncated view of constructivism on security and borders nor into a sovereign-oriented border governance. Drawing on these findings, the study concludes by proposing a human development (or human security) approach to border controls, giving due attention to people’s experiences and needs in daily life.

M.A.R.M. Salih (Mohamed)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
The research was funded by the Netherlands Programme for Institutional Strengthening of Post-secondary Education and Training Capacity (NPT): Project ‘Consolidation of Good Governance and Public Administration in Mozambique’ (GGPA II), Project Number NPT/MOZ/285
ISS PhD Theses
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Seda, F. (2015, November 30). Border governance in Mozambique. ISS PhD Theses. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/78957