Monday, October 12, 2009

Mozambican democracy comes to East Hills Middle School

Professor Deegan Krause and I (and maybe one or two more team members)will present Wayne State Univerity's African Democracy Project-Mozambique to 8th grade students at East Hills Middle School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on Thursday. I am hopeful that they will get a sense of our excitement in traveling to Africa to view the elections, talk to former president Chissano, and work in our sub-groups. Mr. Chris Delgado, the principal at East Hills was gracious enough to allow our team to share our global experiences with about 80 students! As I have experienced during presentations in the past, I'll probably learn just as much as the students. Thanks to Mr. Massucci at East Hills for helping to coordinate this effort.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Mozambique Planning

It has definitely been an overwhelming amount of information to digest prior to our leaving for Mozambique. I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that no matter how much time we have to plan prior to leaving, it wouldn’t feel like enough. As I went out to buy some heavy duty mosquito repellant, the reality of how close we are to leaving is becoming more unnerving. I am glad that we are privy to having two authors come to our class to speak to us of their experiences in the country and sharing their research in the democratization of this country after a long-standing civil war. Initially we heard from Anne Pitcher, author of Transforming Mozambique: the Politics of Privatization. Tomorrow, we will hear from Carrie Manning, author of The Politics of Peace in Mozambique: Post Conflict Democratization, 1992 – 2000. After reading Manning’s book, it will be interesting to ask questions in reference to a common theme throughout her book referencing the “elite habituation”, that is, what I interpret as the undercurrent of Mozambican political decision-making as opposed to the open multi-party election process.
One difference I find with Manning and Anne Pitcher is Manning’s emphasis of democracy as the “independent variable” and looks at the democratization of Mozambique as the “process instead of the outcome”. This concept according to Manning is somewhat puzzling when one thinks about the organizational management concepts of the ideal vision, mission and purpose of a government. People and group painstakingly map out processes that inevitably are the quest to an end result.
Listening to these authors add to the excitement of being able to talk to Mozambicans first hand to compare what we have learned to what they express about democracy. It will be equally interesting to see if what we’ve read differs from what we’ll see during the election process. I am anxious to speak to both representatives of Frelimo and Renamo, the two major political parties in Mozambique.