Abstract: When Joaquin Chissano, newly-elected president of the East African nation of Mozambique, took office in October, 1994, he inherited the despair and destruction which had followed 16 years of civil war. This so-called "in box" case frames the choices Chissano faced, as he considered how to allocate public spending in his first year in office. With sharply limited funds available, he had to choose his political and budget priorities. Among his competing considerations were such things as the possibility of cleaning up an estimated 2 million land mines; repairing damaged and decayed bridges and roads, or embarking on ambitious education improvements in a nation with a largely (62 percent) illiterate population which had been forced out of rural areas to the cities. In addition, Chissano had to proceed in a new political context--a long-running dictatorship had been replaced by multi-party democracy.