Mozambique’s Parliament Approves Extension of Military Service

Mozambique’s parliament has recently passed a draft law to increase the compulsory military service from two to five years for general service, and up to six years for special forces. This move aims to enhance the army’s capacity and professionalism, as well as reduce the country’s reliance on foreign support in combating the Islamist insurgency in the north. With the approval of this law, the armed forces will be responsible for sending conscription summonses and impose penalties for non-compliance. However, concerns have been raised regarding the impact of longer military service on young adults’ entry into the job market.

The extension of military service is part of Mozambique’s efforts to address the ongoing security threats and challenges faced by the country. Currently, neighbouring countries have been providing assistance to combat the insurgency, but the government aims to build a more self-reliant and proficient military force. The Defence Minister emphasized the need for a modern and professional army to safeguard national security and sovereignty.

By lengthening the military service, Mozambique intends to enhance the skills and experience of its soldiers in countering terrorism and other security threats. The current one-year training and six-month field deployments would be replaced with a longer period of service, allowing for more comprehensive training and sustained efforts against terrorism. This move aims to provide better soldiers who are well-prepared to face the country’s security challenges.

President Filipe Nyusi has also emphasized the importance of national self-sufficiency in defense operations. While troops from Rwanda and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been assisting Mozambique in joint operations against insurgents since 2021, the country still faces sporadic attacks. The government believes that by extending military service, they will be able to tackle various national security threats, including piracy, sea pollution, illegal fishing, and the trafficking of drugs and people.

However, there are both positive and negative reactions to the extension of military service. Supporters argue that it will allow the government and conscripts more time to plan for the future, as many soldiers are demobilized after two years without any post-service opportunities. On the other hand, critics express concerns that the prolonged military service may delay young adults’ entrance into the job market, potentially hindering their career development.

It is important for Mozambique to consider the potential consequences and implications of longer military service. While it may provide a more skilled and experienced military force, it should also ensure that opportunities for employment and personal development are available for individuals completing their service. Balancing the country’s security needs with the socio-economic well-being of its citizens is crucial.

Overall, the extension of military service in Mozambique reflects the government’s commitment to strengthening national security and reducing reliance on foreign assistance. It is a response to the ongoing challenges posed by the Islamist insurgency and other security threats. However, careful consideration should be given to the potential impact on young adults and their future job prospects, ensuring that adequate support and opportunities are provided to facilitate their transition into civilian life.