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PODEMOS candidate Hélder Mendonça. [Photo: DW]
Although not well known in politics, PODEMOS (Optimistic Party for the Development of Mozambique) presidential candidate Hélder Mendonça distances himself from his better-known uncle, Francisco Manyanga, a legendary Frelimo militant who died in 1973.
Hélder Mendonça was elected from a group of three candidates during the first session of the Central Council of newly created PODEMOS, the Optimistic Party for the Development of Mozambique. He is the party’s candidate for the presidential elections on October 15. Strategically, there is no mention in this interview of his [political] tactics or the date of formalisation of his candidacy.
Hélder Mendonça is the nephew of historical Frelimo militant Francisco Manyanga he but distances himself from his political capital.
In this interview with DW Africa, the presidential candidate speaks about himself.
DW Africa: Running for the presidency of Mozambique was your dream?
Hélder Mendonça (HM): No. In all honesty, we all dream. Although I realise that I started to have more of an interest in politics for some time now. But, with all due respect, I had not thought of any chances at this time or this year. So, no, I never dreamed of being president. But there is always, in anyone’s life, a delusion that ends up sticking. And there are things we want to do, but where life ends without us ever doing them.
DW Africa: Where did this idea come from? Was it a PODEMOS idea?
HM: At this time, I only reflect the will of PODEMOS. And I am carrying out an action that is the wish of the party members at this time.
DW Africa: Have you ever been a member of Frelimo?
DW Africa: And where did the connection to PODEMOS come from?
HM: My connection to PODEMOS came from the party’s vision. And I have thought a lot about the party’s ideals. I realised that this is a party that thinks, discusses ideas, opens space for discussion. There are those who may think that this is the typical action of an embryo, but if we continue with this position, we think that we will be able to win a space in the Mozambican political arena. And, somehow, to move forward and make a difference.
DW Africa: Usually, for this position, those who enter the race are candidates with some political capital – which is not your case. Is your political capital based on that of your uncle, Francisco Manyanga, or family name?
HM: Francisco Manyanga made his own history. His name was Francisco Manyanga, and I call myself Hélder Mendonça. We are two distinct persons. I do not think of this as an element to boost my political capital. Now what I do think is that everyone has a political vein – we all have it. From the time we analyse of our social life, from when we can look with some coherence at our social life, we end up inferring and perceiving political aspects that could be changed or improved. Besides, I think that the true leader is not the wise person. The true leader is the one who knows how to lead people to the wise person and, above all, the one who knows how to listen. So that’s my stance. And, honestly, what must have weighed heavily for the decision of the PODEMOS is my straightforwardness, and the way in which I approach subjects. I am not one of those people who go back and forth, I do not signal to the left and then turn to the right. Therefore, there are some values that, incidentally, are built on a consistent family basis, which today I am proud to be able to harvest and pass on to society.
DW Africa: You spoke about the values of your family as the basis of your life as an individual. Do you want to rescue some of your uncle’s ideals, which you think may have been lost or diluted?
HM: Of my uncle, in the proper sense, no. But I do want to rescue values of the Mozambican society, because I think there are many aspects, even from a psycho-social point of view, that are somehow dispersed or lost today.Source: Deutsche Welle