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Chissano, Juaquim (b. 1939)

Justin Corfield


Juaquim Alberto Chissano was the president of Mozambique from the death of Samora Machel in 1986 to 2005. He was one of the longtime members of the Mozambican nationalist movement, FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique), but became a more moderate statesman in his old age. Born on October 22, 1939 at Chibuto village in Gaza Province in the southern part of Mozambique, Chissano decided to turn to the nationalist cause while at high school in Lourenço Marques (modern-day Maputo). Working with other secondary students, he was one of the early members of FRELIMO, trying to bridge the gap between the intellectual elite such as Eduardo Mondlane (1920–69) and the many illiterate “traditionalists.” Chissano was active from at least 1963, and soon became FRELIMO's representative in Paris, France, before becoming an instructor at the FRELIMO camp at Kongwa, Tanzania. Working as secretary to Eduardo Mondlane, the president of FRELIMO between 1966 and 1969, he became FRELIMO's representative in Dar-es-Salaam from 1969 to 1974. When Mozambique moved toward independence, Chissano was appointed premier of the first government on September 20, 1974, a post he held until independence on June 25, 1975. With the rank of major general, he then became foreign minister, retaining that position until 1986. This saw him gain a significant international profile and considerable political experience. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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