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Alice Mabota, who on Monday submitted her candidacy for Mozambique’s October 15 presidential elections, is the country’s most well-known activist in the struggle to promote human rights, having been the founder of the League of Human Rights and its president for more than two decades. She is the first woman to stand for the position of President of the Republic in the history of Mozambique.
The presidential elections now have five candidates: the current President of the Republic, Filipe Nyusi, running for the Liberation Front of Mozambique (FRELIMO), ruling party; leader of the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), the main opposition party, Ossufo Momade; the leader of the Democratic Movement of Mozambique, the country’s third largest party, Daviz Simango; and Hélder Mendonça, who is standing for the new ‘Podemos’ extra-parliamentary party.
Alice Mabota spoke to DW Africa, in an exclusive interview, after submitting her candidacy to the Constitutional Council.
DW Africa: Today, you submitted your candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic of Mozambique in the October 15 elections. What is the intention as regards this initiative?
Alice Mabota (AM): I want to open a space so that, over the next five years, the State [apparatus] will stop being politicised and become a state where Mozambicans can compete on an equal footing, without interference from political parties.
DW Africa: The country has recently recorded many cases of human rights violations. What do you want to do if elected?
AM: There has to be primacy of the law. Primacy of the law means that things should work as the laws command. Liberating justice from political interference, restoring the dignity of the Mozambican citizen to the sense that he [currently] is supposed to serve the State, humanising education, encouraging education, and start the fight against corruption in education.
DW Africa: What “magic wand” will you use if elected, so that corruption in the country will be reduced or banished?
AM: Strengthen civil society to control of the state. You are now seeing what a strong civil society is doing in the case of hidden debts. But it needs to be strengthened with legal mechanisms, valuing those who are not involved in corruption. Today, those who are not involved in corruption are not wanted in the civil service – are not good civil servants. The good employee is the one who prevaricates.
DW Africa: Could criticisms of the way you left the Human Rights League (LDH) and the allegations of mismanagement in the League not embarrass your candidacy?
AM: They might as much embarrass as not. If you compare what they say about the LDH with what I have proved and what they say about the state, people can assess for themselves which is more serious. I left the LDH after three audits: one by Ernest & Young, which did not find the problems raised, and two from international entities – one from South Africa and one from Norway. I have a clear conscience that not a single penny was spent in my favour. I have no wealth that could be said to be from money stolen from the League., on the contrary. The LDH was not dilapidated.
DW Africa: Has your work in the lead-up to the LDH been a driving force for this candidacy?
AM: The people who should assess the work I have done are the citizens themselves, when faced with my candidacy. The will to change will come from the citizens themselves. That’s what drives me forward.
DW Africa: Is the fact of being the only woman ever to submit a candidacy for the Presidency of the Republic an added value for you?
AM: It’s not as much an added value as it sounds. The added value is the youth who understand. The Mozambican woman has been greatly used by the politicians.
DW Africa: You have submitted your candidacy at a time when the results of the voter registration process are being discussed, as also the numbers of voters in Gaza, where there is a complaint that 300,000 more voters than planned have been registered. How do you react to these numbers,, and how does your coalition (Coalition Democratic Alliance) plan to deal with possible electoral fraud?
AM: What saddens me the most is that all this is happening under the noses of the international community, and they have remained silent about it. It does not make sense to discuss these figures until the National Statistics Institute (INE) confirms that, in fact, they cannot be right. And it is shameful that, in a state such as ours, this discussion is taking place.
Watch below Mabota’s address on the day she submitted her candidacy:
Source: Deutsche Welle / Voa Portugues