Ending 15 Years Of Civil War
With Highly Cost Effective Measures
How Peace Was Brought To War-Torn Mozambique

In The 1990s
A Radically Different Non-Violent Approach

Chissano-Mandela.jpg (11315 bytes)

President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique with President Nelson Mandela of South Africa in 1998

"Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano has won the first Mo Ibrahim prize rewarding a retired African head of state for excellence in leadership. Mr Chissano, who is credited with bringing peace to Mozambique, had been seen as a frontrunner for the prize. The prize, announced by former UN head Kofi Annan, is worth $5m (£2.5m) over 10 years, and then $200,000 a year. After winning independence from Portugal in 1975 Mozambique suffered a civil war that lasted until 1992. Mr Chissano was president from 1986 to 2005. He also served as chairman of the African Union in 2003 and 2004, and has worked as a UN envoy.  Mr Annan praised Mr Chissano's role at home and more widely in Africa. Mr Chissano is something as a rarity in Africa as a leader who has left office with his reputation intact, says BBC southern Africa correspondent Peter Biles."
Mozambique ex-leader wins prize
BBC Online, 22 October 2007

"Who is responsible for all the good things which are happening in Mozambique? It may be the Mozambicans who are there; but also those people in the world who have been meditating for the change in the world from bad to good. Therefore the honours which are being bestowed on us are honours which should be bestowed on all those who practice this technique of Transcendental Meditation."
President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique
July 1993, on receiving an honorary doctorate from Maharishi Vedic University, Holland,
for his work towards creating the Maharishi Effect in his country,
with many thousands in the country learning Transcendental Meditation, including 12,000 in the military

"Knowing when to give up power. That, largely, is what made former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano the good name he enjoys now and the moral authority he now commands to mediate in conflicts. ... Chissano brought Mozambique from the depths of horror and starvation in the 1980s to a stable country with an economy growing at nearly nine per cent....He is credited with having turned war-torn Mozambique into one of Africa’s most successful democracies.... When Mozambique’s 16-year war finally ended in 1992, it had claimed almost a million lives and uprooted hundreds of thousands of others, left the economy and infrastructure in tatters and society deeply divided. The treaty signed by Chissano earned him the name of 'peacemaker' at home and plaudits for his quiet brand of compromise abroad. In what showed he was not keen on the winner takes all brand of African politics, Chissano offered half of the places in Mozambique’s 30,000-strong army to rebel soldiers. It is in his role in leading Mozambique from conflict to peace and democracy that Chissano is seen to have made his most outstanding contribution....He has been hailed as 'living proof that power doesn’t have to go to the head.'  Chissano is reported to be a believer in and practitioner of 'transcendental meditation'. 'First, I started the practice of transcendental meditation myself, then introduced the practice to my close family, my Cabinet ministers, my government officers and my military. The result has been political peace and balance in nature in my country,' he was quoted saying....His highest awards have not been those he gave himself in his own country, as many African Presidents do. Chissano’s awards have come from Angola, Portugal, South Africa, Brazil, Cape Verde, Nicaragua, France, Bulgaria, Madagascar, Cuba, Benin, Romania, Uganda, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Lesotho and Mozambique itself. He received several prizes and awards including the Hunger Project Prize, the Together for Peace Award and the Kellog Foundation Award. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from St John’s University in New York; Universit» Libre de Brussels, Universidade de Coimbra University in Portugal, University of Macau, University of Malawi, University of Batton Rouge in the USA, and Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique."
Former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano: A Democrat and Global Peace Envoy
Pan-African News, 20 January 2008

How Peace Was Brought To War-Torn Mozambique

In the 1990s thousands of people were taught Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi Programme throughout the armed forces in Mozambique. Depending on the size of groups remarkable reductions in crime and car accidents were noted, as well as an economic growth of 19% compared to an expected 6% during 1993.

A report in the British Sunday newspaper 'The Observer' in November 1994 confirmed President Chissano's view that these programmes had brought peace to his country after more than 15 years of non-stop war. For the first time people were returning to the countryside after years of enforced internal migration as a result of the conflict.

Such dramatic effects from the practical application of 'consciousness-based' programmes by a national administration support earlier research work on conflict resolution around the globe carried out on an experimental basis in places as far apart as the Lebanon and Nicaragua. A number of published studies on this effect, know as the 'Maharishi Effect' named after the man who predicted it, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, have confirmed both the theory and practical reliability of this approach.

According to Lt. Gen. Tobias Dai, Chief of the Delegation for the creation of the new Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique and Former Commander of the Armed Forces:

"After having completed a thorough evaluation of the proposal, the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided to implement the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme in the Armed Forces of Mozambique with the aim to create the Maharishi Effect in our country. It was a matter of decision. Either to try it or to leave it aside. Our decision was to try. This occurred before the arrival of the UNO forces in Mozambique."

At a subsequent international conference on defence, Lt Gen. Dai noted that the maintenance of peace has been possible, and that free and just elections have been carried out - the only successful UNO mission in the world.

A country profile of Mozambique published in the international edition of 'Time' magazine August 1997, whilst recognising that a great deal remained to be done in the country, confirmed the remarkable transformation that was taking place in the fortunes of the Mozambique people.

Outside the capital Maputo, Mozambique was producing enough food to feed itself for the first time in years.

Refugees from the civil war had returned to the land, and in the fertile north crops were abundant after years of the worst droughts in southern Africa's history. Inflation has fallen from 70% to 5%. According to TIME. " ... the country once rated as one of the poorest in the world is beginning to look like an African success story.... the U.N monitoring of the end of the civil war and ensuing general election was a rare African success for the organisation. International assistance was once the only growth industry in Mozambique, but today there are many more new private cars in Maputo than aid agency vehicles."

A Time Magazine follow up article "Africa Rising" 30 March 1998, revealed that the transformation taking place in Mozambique had it roots in something more human than mere political change: "Theirs is a people's peace, driven by a popular refusal to continue the conflict and a fierce determination to live a normal life," and "What really fuels Mozambique's climb, though, is the energy of individuals tackling problems from the bottom up."

Speaking at a fund raising Peace banquet in December 1999 held to inform the New York community about the creation of Maharishi’s University of World Peace campuses around the world guest of honour President Chissano reconfirmed the success of coherence creating programmes in Mozambique. He spoke about how he ended his country’s 20-year civil war and has maintained peace, stability and democracy in his nation for the past seven years, using the technologies that will be offered by the new university: "The culture of war has to be replaced by the culture of peace. For that purpose, something deeper has to be changed in our mind and in our consciousness to prevent the recurrence of war."

President Chissano pointed out that when people have always lived in a peaceful country, they may not comprehend the influence of war on the daily life of a nation. "In Mozambique we know very well what we are talking about when we say, ‘No more war,’ and ‘Peace forever.’"

President Chissano stated that stress is the root cause of fear and conflict. Stress in the family generates domestic violence. Stress in the government generates misperceptions, power struggles, and lack of achievements for the country.

In 1992 the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation technique were introduced to President Chissano. He successfully applied them to his family life and implemented them in the administration of his country. "I had a group of coherence creating individuals next to my office" said President Chissano. "When representatives from other organizations came to me for a meeting, they were all expecting strong disagreements. However, the atmosphere was so relaxed, we were like old friends meeting after a long time." (Source: December 1999, Enlightenment - report by Jennine Fellmer).


On-line Media Articles On Mozambique's Consciousness-Based Initiatives
Preventing war with consciousness-based defence - Mail and Guardian (South Africa)
Mozambique's Prevention Wing of the Military - Africa Economic Analysis
Meditation is path to peace, Mozambique leader says - Guardian (UK)

"Yesterday, however, at City Hall in London, the focus was on Africa's good things. Well one good thing to be precise – Africa's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, whose very first winner is Joaquim Chissano, the former President of Mozambique. It was without doubt the most lavish of all the presents Mr Chissano received as he celebrated his 68th birthday yesterday. The Achievement in African Leadership, to give it its proper name, comes with $5m in prize money, making it the world's largest individual award....Mr Chissano is living proof that power doesn't have to go to the head. Perhaps his zen comes from the transcendental meditation he is said to practise. Indeed, in literature published by devotees of guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Mr Chissano is quoted as saying: 'First, I started the practice of transcendental meditation myself, then introduced the practice to my close family, my cabinet of ministers, my government officers and my military. The result has been political peace and balance in nature in my country.'"
Joaquim Chissano: Democrat among the despots
Independent On Sunday, 23 October 2007

"In the early 90s, President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique introduced TM to his family, military, government officers and cabinet of ministers. It became part of the curriculum for military and police recruits, requiring them to meditate twice a day for 20 minutes. A transformation of the country took place. Crime rates fell, the economy grew. And it all started in Chissano's office."
Relax, and let your worries go
Guardian, 29 October 2001

"President Joaquim Alberto Chissano of Mozambique is one of Africa's more enlightened leaders. Twice a day, he tries to attain pure consciousness through transcendental meditation (TM). The president discovered TM, the teaching of the Beatles' guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, in 1992, shortly before the end of Mozambique's 16-year guerrilla war. It was no coincidence.  'First I started the practice of transcendental meditation myself, then introduced the practice to my close family, my cabinet of ministers, my government officers and my military,' Mr Chissano, a former Marxist bush-fighter, is on record as saying in literature published by Maharishi devotees. 'The result has been political peace and balance in nature in my country.' Said to originate in India's ancient Vedic tradition, TM is based on the theory that stress is the cause of all evil. Yogic flyers, its most advanced practitioners, decrease environmental stress by tapping into pure, or universal, consciousness; thus righting the balance in natural law..... From the end of 1994, all military and police recruits were ordered to meditate for 20 minutes, twice a day. More than 16,000 soldiers were taught yogic flying and TM, according to Mozambique's defence minister. So were 30,000 Mozambicans, according to the Maharishi movement. In October, 1994, the deputy defence minister of the day, Antonio Hama Thay, wrote to the national military school ordering that, 'transcendental meditation must be an integral part of the curriculum of the cadets in the school, as a requirement for them to become officers'. According to the current defence minister, Tobias Dai, the effect was overwhelming. Crime levels dropped; a drought was averted and economic growth, predicted at 6%, soared to 19%.... Mr Chissano told the Guardian this week: 'For me it is very relaxing and very simple - I just keep quiet and chant the mantras. The results have been scientifically proven. Many of my ministers find it enhances their capacity to work.'"
Meditation is path to peace, Mozambique leader says
Guardian, 22 September 2001

"His Excellency President Joachim Alberto Chissano Rama, President of Mozambique, is the first leader of a nation to create a group of Yogic Flyers to create national invincibility and promote world peace. He has also spoken with several heads of state in Africa and leaders of other countries in the world to encourage them to take the same steps. President Chissano has declared that he is ready to speak with any head of state about this plan. An April 9, 1999 article in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung documents Mozambique’s miraculous rise: 'Ten years ago Angola and Mozambique both had civil wars. Angola possessed rich resources of oil and diamonds. According to World Bank statistics, Mozambique was the poorest country in the world. Ten years later the war in Angola is worse, whereas Mozambique is considered an example of how to peacefully settle a quarrel. Its respected government now settles regional conflicts. The economy has a growth rate of more than 10 percent and zero inflation, and the currency has risen on the free market in comparison to the US dollar.'"
Mozambique: Good News Rises as Nation Creates Coherence
Enlightenment Online, June 1999

"His Excellency Joaquim Alberto Chissano, president of the Republic of Mozambique, will speak at the Maharishi University of Management Commencement Ceremony via video teleconference July 2.... President Chissano has spoken highly of the University's unique system of education. 'I congratulate the University for its ability to develop in the students a creative genius and to increase in them the sense of self-sufficiency. I welcome the University's endeavors to increase the application of knowledge to practical, professional values and to keep an environment and daily routine conducive to focused learning and growth of academic and professional excellence.'"
Mozambique President to Speak at Commencement
The Review, Vol. 13, #16, June 24, 1998

".... one of the Maharishi's most enthusiastic devotees is the Mozambican President, Joaquim Chissano. Mr. Chissano has credited meditation with ending Mozambique's 16-year civil war and the century's worst drought. He promotes the practice throughout his Government and in trips to the countryside. 'We are happy to notice that the behavior of our population is changing,' he told the Maharishi when the President and several of his ministers visited the movement's headquarters in the Netherlands last July. 'Crime and accidents are down. We still have to do a thorough study, but we can feel the positive effects.'.... The Government has allocated the instructors a house near the presidential villa where they conduct classes for military and civil service officials and their families. President Chissano lectures anyone who will listen about the Maharishi's promise that meditating can tap wellsprings of mental energy, and that if enough people meditate they can bring harmony and prosperity to society. "
Beatles' Guru Offers Nirvana to Mozambique
New York Times, 10 February 1994

Can Meditation Change the World?
Steve Taylor - The amazing story of the 'meditating president.'
Psychology Today, 10 December 2012


"... In 1992, Mozambique’s civil war came to an end, after 15 years of devastation, and around a million casualties. The country was completely broken, and showing all signs of being trapped in the cycle of conflict and corruption which has afflicted many African countries. But Joachim Chissano - whose forces had won the war - surprised the world by acting sensibly and empathically. Rather than trying to shore up his own power base and enacting revenge, Chissano treated the rebel forces who had been trying to overthrow his government with respect. He made compromises, promised there would be no prosecutions or punishments and offered the rebels half of the places in the Mozambiquan army. He gave them the chance of gaining power through political means. Rather than trying to crush the rebels, he began to work with them.

Two years later, Mozambique's first ever multi-party elections were held, and Chissano and the former rebel leader came face to face in the polls. Chissano won the election, and set about the task of establishing lasting peace by reducing poverty. Between 1997 and 2003, almost three million people were rescued from extreme poverty, out of a total population of almost 20 million. This lead to a 35% decrease in the number of children dying under the age of five, and an increase of 65% in the number of children going to primary school. Through Chissano’s ability to set aside differences and connect with his former enemies, Mozambique was brought back from the brink of self-destruction and has instead become one of Africa’s most stable and peaceful countries.

What was it that made Chissano so rational and compassionate as a leader?

In 1992, he learned transcendental meditation. Quickly becoming aware of the benefits of the practice himself, he taught it to his family, then his cabinet ministers and his wider government. In 1994, it became a requirement for all military and police recruits to meditate twice a day, for 20 minutes.

Chissano himself is in no doubt that this collective meditation was responsible for the peace and increasing prosperity of the country. As he said, ‘The result has been political peace and balance in nature in my country... The culture of war has to be replaced by the culture of peace. For that purpose, something deeper has to be changed in our mind and in our consciousness to prevent the recurrence of war.’

In 2004, Chissano’s second term in office came to end. Rather than pursuing a third term – as he would have been legally able to do under Mozambique law – he stepped aside. Since then he has been an elder statesman, campaigning for peace and working as an envoy and negotiator for the United Nations. In 2007, on his 68th birthday, he was awarded Africa’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the $5 million prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

... In the short term, meditation reduces anger and aggression. In the long term, it increases our capacity for empathy, compassion and rationality. It leads to less self-centred behaviour, and reduces cravings for power and wealth. It generates a sense of well-being which makes us less liable to be affected by slights or prejudices."

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