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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 December, 2004, 11:04 GMT
Profile: Mozambique's new hard man
By Jose Tembe
BBC, Maputo

Guebuza poster
As the ruling party candidate, Guebuza is in a strong position

Newly elected Mozambican President Armando Emilio Guebuza succeeds Mozambique's President Joaquim Alberto Chissano, who is stepping down after 18 years in charge.

A veteran of the ruling Frelimo party, Mr Guebuza - who is the outgoing president's nominee - made his name during Mozambique's long struggle for independence from Portugal, in which he played a leading role.

His reputation for cracking down on corruption made him a popular choice.

Mr Guebuza won his stern reputation in 1974 when he gave Portuguese settlers just 24 hours to leave the country if they felt unable to accept life Mozambique's approaching independence.

He has the aura of a military man, like Mozambique's first leader Samora Machel, whereas Mr Chissano is more diplomatic and relaxed.

Peace talks

But he is also known as a highly sociable if rather unsmiling man, who loves traditional Mozambican food, especially Matapa - cassava leaves and groundnut sauce.

Mr Guebuza, 61, left the country in 1964 to join Frelimo in Zambia and later joined the movement's armed wing in Tanzania.

Woman waits to vote in previous elections
Mozambicans are getting used to elections
He led the Frelimo government delegation to the Rome peace talks that ended 16 years of conflict in 1992, and paved the way for the first multiparty elections in 1994.

The success of the peace talks raised his popularity and softened his reputation at home, as many Mozambicans had been doubtful that war would end.

As a minister, he has held the internal affairs portfolio more than once, been deputy defence minister, and minister of transport.

He was elected the Frelimo party's general secretary in 2002.

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