Maputo — A newly formed Mozambican political party, Podemos (Party of Optimists for the Development of Mozambique), claims that it has already collected 15,000 signatures to support its presidential candidate, the musical producer Helder Luis Paulo de Mendonca, better known by his stage name Dinho XS.
Cited in Thursday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", the Podemos spokesperson, Zefanias Langa, said he expected the party to deliver Mendonca's nomination papers to the Constitutional Council, which checks the validity of all presidential candidates, on Friday.
By then, he added, Podemos hoped to have 20,000 signatures supporting Mendonca. All presidential candidates must present 10,000 valid supporting signatures, but the Constitutional Council will not accept more than 20,000.
The Podemos claim is remarkable. Mendonca was only announced as the Podemos candidate on Monday - so Langa is saying that this new party can collect 20,000 signatures from across the country in less than a week.
Since each signature must be recognised by a notary, and must be on a form that contains a photograph of the candidate, a degree of scepticism would seem to be in order.
No minor party in previous presidential elections has managed to collect the necessary signatures in such a short space of time. Some have forged signatures - but the Constitutional Council has always detected such frauds.
Alice Mabota, the former chairperson of the Human Rights League (LDH), says she will submit her nomination papers to the Constitutional Council on Saturday. She said signatures have already been collected in the provinces, and more signatures will be collected and recognised in Maputo on Thursday and Friday.
Mabota's bid for the Presidency is supported by the Democratic Alliance Coalition (CAD), a grouping of five minor parties, none of whom have seats in any provincial or municipal assembly, let alone in the country's parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.