|Joaquim Alberto Chissano|
|2nd President of Mozambique|
November 6, 1986 – February 2, 2005
|Prime Minister||Mário da Graça Machungo
|Preceded by||Samora Machel|
|Succeeded by||Armando Guebuza|
October 22, 1939 |
Gaza Province, State of East Africa
|Spouse(s)||Marcelina Rafael Chissano|
Joaquim Alberto Chissano (born 22 October 1939) served as the second President of Mozambique from 1986 to 2005. He is credited with transforming the war-torn country of Mozambique into one of the most successful African democracies. After his presidency, Chissano became an elder statesman, envoy and diplomat for both his home country and the United Nations.
Joaquim Chissano was born in the remote village of Malehice, Chibuto district, Gaza Province of the Portuguese colony of Mozambique (then called Portuguese East Africa). Chissano was the first black student to attend the only high school in the colony, Liceu Salazar in Lourenço Marques (present-day Maputo). After leaving secondary school, he went to Portugal to study medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon. However, his political leanings caused him problems and he moved to Tanzania.
Chissano became "one of the founding members" of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) which demanded autonomy from Portugal. A few decades later Chissano played a fundamental role in the negotiation of the Lusaka Accord of 1974, which led the way for the country's independence in 1975. The new president of Mozambique, Samora Machel, appointed him foreign minister.
President of Mozambique
Chissano succeeded to the presidency and Frelimo part leader in 1986 when Samora Machel's presidential aircraft crashed in mountainous terrain in South Africa. Chissano ended the Mozambican Civil War in 1992 by negotiating a peace treaty with the rebel forces that "promised no prosecutions or punishments" and gave the them 50% of the positions in the Mozambiquan army. The Renamo rebels later established their own political party.
In 1992, Chissano learnt the Transcendental Meditation technique and introduced it to other government officials and their families. Two years later, Chissano and his generals ordered all police and military to "meditate twice a day for 20 minutes." In addition, 16,000 soldiers and 30,000 civilians were taught Transcendental Meditation and its advanced technique of Yogic Flying. According to Transcendental Meditation literature, Chissano said the result was "political peace and balance in nature in my country." According to Tobias Dai, the 2001 defence minister, "the effect was overwhelming" and included reduced crime, drought aversion and three times the expected level of economic growth. In 1993 Chissano received an honorary degree from Maharishi Vedic University in MERU, Holland and in 1994 negotiated an agreement with Maharishi Heaven on Earth Development for the agricultural development of 20 million hectares (49,000,000 acres) of "unused land" beginning with 2.5 million acres of timber, cotton and fruit. The 50-year contract promised 20% to 40% of the profits for the Mozambique government but other government officials refused the deal.
Chissanno was reelected to the presidency in 1994 and again in 1999, when he defeated the former rebel leader, Afonso Dhlakama. After winning re-election Chissano's priority became poverty eradication but his efforts were complicated by a severe flood in 2001. However, Chissano had a fundamental role in convincing the G8 to write off £22 billion of Mozambique debt in 2005. Chissano chose not to run for a third term in the elections of 2004, although the constitution would have allowed him to do so. During Chissano's presidency, 20 million people, almost 15% of the country's citizens were removed from "extreme poverty"  and the country achieved an economic growth rate of eight percent. In addition, child mortality rates for children under age five decreased by 35% and there was a 65% increase in primary school attendance.
Since leaving the presidency Chissano has assumed the role of elder statesman and has campaigned for peace through his work as an envoy and peace negotiator for the United Nations. Chissano served as Chairperson of the African Union from July 2003 to July 2004. On 4 December 2006, the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Chissano the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General to Northern Uganda and Southern Sudan, to resolve the conflict with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). On Chissano's 68th birthday in 2007, he was awarded the inaugural $5 million Prize for Achievement in African Leadership awarded by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Chissano was absent from the award ceremony because he was still working on his United Nations mission in southern Sudan. According to the award's judges "Mr Chissano's decision not to seek a third presidential term reinforced Mozambique's democratic maturity and demonstrated that institutions and the democratic process were more important than the person".
In 2010, Chissano wrote an article for The Huffington Post about water scarcity in Africa. Chissano is a member of the Fondation Chirac's honour committee. He is also an independent non-executive director at Harmony Gold Mining, a South African underground and surface gold mining company, as well as an Eminent Member of the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation and a member of the Club of Madrid.
Awards and nominations
- Inaugural Prize for Achievement in African Leadership by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation (2007)
- Chairs the Joaquim Chissano Foundation and the Forum of Former African Heads of State and Government
Joaquim Chissano is married to Marcelina Rafael Chissano. He is the father of four children and his son received a scholarship to Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa. Chissano has been criticized for his continued friendship with President Robert Mugabe and there have been allegations that Chissano's now deceased son, Nyimpine Chissano had promised payment for the assassination of journalist Carlos Cardoso.
- Soares, Claire (October 23, 2007). "Joaquim Chissano: Democrat among the despots". The Independent. Retrieved Jan 23, 2013.
- Unknown author (2012). The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Columbia University Press.
- Mozambican Tupolev Tu-134 air disaster
- Taylor, Steve (Dec 10, 2012) Can Meditation Change the World? The amazing story of the 'meditating president Psychology Today, accessed Dec 31, 2012
- Keller, Bill (February 10, 1994). "Beatle's Guru Offers Nirvana to Mozambique". New York Times. Retrieved Jan 23, 2013.
- Astill, James (September 22, 2001). "Meditation is path to peace, Mozambique leader says: Former Marxist guerrilla turned president spreads the word of the Beatles' guru to his ministers and the military". The Guardian (Manchester (UK)). p. 19.
- VAN NIEKERK, PHILLIP (November 27, 1994). "Mozambique and yogic cult start project to create Utopia Phillip van Niekerk reports from Maputo on moves by the guru of the Beatles to run a quarter of the country.". The Guardian (Manchester (UK)).
- BERESFORD, DAVID (October 28, 1994). "Guru to create heaven on earth". The Guardian (Manchester (UK)).
- Abgrall, Jean-Marie (2000). Soul snatchers: the mechanics of cults. Algora Publishing. p. 48. ISBN 978-1-892941-04-6.
- VAN NIEKERK, PHILLIP (November 27, 1994). "Mozambique and yogic cult start project to create Utopia Phillip van Niekerk reports from Maputo on moves by the guru of the Beatles to run a quarter of the country". The Guardian (Manchester (UK)).
- Joaquim Chissano wins the largest prize in the world
- "Mozambique ex-leader wins prize". BBC News. 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
- "For Africa, Water Is Life", 22 March 2010, Huffington Post
- Fondation Chirac's honour committee
- Joaquim Chissano on Forbes, Forbes
- Unknown author, (May 1, 2012) The Club de Madrid supports the Mexican Presidency of the G20 in its Green Growth Agenda Club de Madrid official web site, accessed January 24, 2013
- Aislinn Laing, Past winners of the Mo Ibrahim Prize, Telegraph, 10 October 2011
- BBC News profile of Joaquim Chissano
- KELLER, BILL (February 20, 1994). "Heavenly Plans for Mozambique". San Francisco Chronicle. p. 3.
|President of Mozambique
|Chairperson of the African Union
|Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for LRA-affected areas
|Awards and achievements|
|Prize for Achievement in African Leadership