• Mabota is the first female to vie for Presidency since multiparty democracy was introduced in Mozambique in 1992.
  • Mabota was born in April 1949 in Maputo and is well known in the political and economic scene in Mozambique for her strong and vocal character.
  • After spending more than 30 years of her life fighting for justice, she feels that “the country is now going backward in terms of the rule of law” and now wants to put a stop to that by throwing her hat in the Presidential ring.

On Monday, Maria Alice Mabota, a human rights activist and former chairperson of the country’s Human Rights League, filed her nomination papers for the presidential election scheduled for 15 October, effectively becoming the first female to do so since multiparty democracy was introduced in 1992.

The Coalition Democratic Alliance (CAD), a group of non-parliamentary political parties, delivered to the Constitutional Council Mabota’s nomination papers bearing a total of 13, 160 supporting signatures.

Alice Mabote. (Moçambique Terra Queimada)
Alice Mabote. (Moçambique Terra Queimada)

After the submission of her candidacy, Ms. Mabote, who is well known in the political and economic scene in Mozambique for her strong and vocal character, gave a press conference.

“I have accepted the proposal, aware that it will not be easy, there is a machine and an electoral model that constitutes an immense challenge for the viability of this candidacy, but this does not frighten us, I know that I am small, I know that I am going to face pebbles, stones and rocks. But the will to change the country, to put it back in progress is much stronger than what would allow me to give up,” Club of Mozambique quoted her as saying.

We hope that the people will give us a vote of confidence and we will honor this trust, said Mabote. ” With this candidacy we invite all Mozambican citizens, throughout the national territory and even in the diaspora, to embark on this process of a new nation. so that every Mozambican is proud to be Mozambican,” she said.

So, who exactly is Maria Alice Mabota?

Maria Alice Mabota. (Portal Moz News)
Maria Alice Mabota. (Portal Moz News)

Mabota was born in April 1949 in Maputo and like the majority of Mozambicans of her era, she struggled to go to school at an early age. She went to the secondary school in the evening and worked during the day as a cleaner in various institutions.

She finished her seventh grade at the Francisco Manyanga secondary school, her ninth grade at the Josina Machel secondary school in central Maputo. 

In 1973 she began working at the Instituto de Investigação Agronómica of the Colonial Agricultural Authority (or the later Ministry of Agriculture), but ended it in 1980 due to personal differences, according to upclosed.com.

Maria Alice Mabota (in purple blouse) surrounded by her supporters
Maria Alice Mabota (in purple blouse) surrounded by her supporters

In 1993, she founded the Human Rights League after attending a conference on human rights in Vienna. The League's intention is to advocate for justice and human rights.

In the 2010s, she was especially vocal and criticized the increasing polarization of Mozambican two main political parties: FRELIMO and RENAMO. The Human Rights League, along with other organizations of Mozambican civil society, organized several protest marches for peace, equality and against corruption in the Mozambican capital.

A giant statue of Samora Moisés Machel at the Independence Square in Downtown Maputo, Mozambique. (danatours)
A giant statue of Samora Moisés Machel at the Independence Square in Downtown Maputo, Mozambique. (danatours)

In the course of this, she received numerous death threats and also public insults, which she attributed to the radical FRELIMO wing. The Mozambican criminal police also interrogated her, as she was accused of presidential defamation.

After spending more than 30 years of her life fighting for justice, she feels that “the country is now going backward in terms of the rule of law” and now wants to put a stop to that by throwing her hat in the Presidential ring.

She knows its not going to be a walk in the park and she will have to withstand stiff competition from her presidential rivals.  

I am not scared. I know I will face stones and boulders, but I cannot give up,” she said on Monday in the capital Maputo.

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi (cnbcafrica)
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi (cnbcafrica)

Other presidential candidates who have already filed their nominations are the incumbent Filipe Nyusi of the ruling Frelimo party who is running for a second and final term in office, Ossufo Momade who is the leader of the main opposition Renamo party as well as Daviz Simango, mayor of Beira and leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement.

Another presidential candidate is musician Helder Mendonca, better known by his stage name of Dino XS, who is standing for the Party of Optimists for the Development of Mozambique.

In 2010, Mabota received the US Government-sponsored Women of Courage Award. In 2014, Mabota temporarily considered running for the presidential election, but eventually withdrew.