Back to top

His Excellency Mr Joaquim Alberto Chissano (Mozambique)

The Order of the Companions of O.R. Tambo in

Gold
His Excellency Mr Joaquim Alberto Chissano (Mozambique) Awarded for:
His exceptional contribution to the liberation struggle in Southern Africa. As the second President of liberated Mozambique, he was instrumental in transforming Mozambique into a thriving democracy.
Profile of His Excellency Mr Joaquim Alberto Chissano 

His Excellency Mr Joaquim Alberto Chissano was born on 22 October 1939 in the remote village of Malehice, in the district of Chibuto in Gaza Province.

He became the first black student enrolled at Liceu Salazar, and while completing his secondary education, became a member and then leader of the African Secondary School Students’ Organisation in Mozambique.

He went on to study medicine in Portugal but fled to Dar es Salaam, via Paris, when his political activism made further study impossible. He played a fundamental role in negotiating the 1974 Lusaka Accord that ended colonial rule. He was Prime Minister of the transitional government that led up to independence in 1975 and thereafter was Foreign Minister under independent Mozambique’s first President, Mr Samora Machel.

He built bridges with South Africa, which at the time was the principal sponsor – along with Rhodesia – of the rebel Mozambican National Resistance. Chissano then led negotiations with Renamo, which in October 1992 succeeded in ending 16 years of destabilising internal conflict.

Diplomats said his ability to compromise and negotiate was a great strength which helped Mozambique become a stable, modernising and democratic country.

Mozambique was in the grip of a civil war when President Machel died in a mysterious air crash in 1986. Chissano succeeded him as leader, and devoted himself to restoring peace and stability to his country. He is credited with initiating the constitutional and economic reforms which culminated with the adoption of the 1990 Constitution that led Mozambique to the multiparty system and to an open market.

In 1994, he won the first multiparty elections in the history of the country, and was re-elected President of the Republic of Mozambique in 1999. Despite the fact that the Constitution of Mozambican allowed him to stand in the 2004 presidential elections, Chissano decided voluntarily not to do so.