Page last updated at 20:15 GMT, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Mozambique's poll line-up

Election campaigning montage

Mozambicans are set to vote in the fourth election since the brutal civil war ended in 1992. The BBC's Jose Tembe profiles the main presidential candidates.

Armando Guebuza, file image
The president has earned himself the nickname "Four by Four"

After more than three decades as a top general, minister and eventually president, Mr Guebuza has left his mark on Mozambique.

Known as the general who booted out the Portuguese and ended colonial rule, he has again won praise for bringing power to the people, this time in the form of electricity.

Two years ago he nationalised the hydroelectric Cahora Bassa dam, which was owned by a Portuguese firm.

Immortalised in the nation's architecture - the Armando Guebuza Bridge links the northern and southern parts of the country - he has also been immortalised in song by the popular musician MC Roger.

His lyrics have been the sound track to the incumbent's campaign.

The president has also earned himself a new nickname since taking over as president.

He is widely known as "Four by Four" as unlike his predecessors has had made an effort to see the country, criss-crossing the nation.

But his use of helicopters during the election campaign - sometimes using as many as four to six at a time to move his team - has been criticised by the opposition.

Since his election in 2004 Mr Guebuza, a veteran of the ruling Frelimo party, has been betting on the fight against poverty to win him popularity.

He says if elected he will continue to build "more schools, more hospitals, more roads and bridges and developing agriculture through the green revolution".

But corruption, crime and bureaucracy are problems he has failed to tackle head on during his first term.

He made his name during Mozambique's long struggle for independence from Portugal.

In 1974 he issued the infamous order telling Portuguese settlers they had just 24 hours to leave the country if they felt unable to accept the country's approaching independence.

Daviz Simango
Davis Simango is the youngest candidate

Mr Simango is being touted by Mozambique's middle class as the new face of the opposition.

Unlike the other two candidates he is not a military man and is not associated with the civil war.

But his entry into this year's presidential race was nothing if not dramatic - he survived an assassination attempt which has been blamed on Renamo, the party he had recently split from.

He was born on 7 February 1964 in Tanzania, where his parents were preparing for Mozambique's war of independence.

Mr Simango is Protestant, unusual in Mozambique where most people are either Catholic or Muslim.

His father, Uria Simango, was a Protestant pastor of the United Church of Christ in Mozambique and was the first vice-president of Frelimo, but was assassinated by the movement during the civil war for being "reactionary".

With a degree in civil engineering from the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mr Simango started his political career in Renamo in 1997.

By 2003 he had become the party's mayor in Beira, Mozambique's second largest city.

He won several awards for good leadership and governance during his time there.

But five years after he was first elected Renamo refused to renew his candidacy and, after a row in the party, he was expelled.

His newly formed party Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) has taken on the symbol of a cockerel, and in some villages ruling party supporters have taken delight in roasting a bird in front of his campaigners.

In his manifesto Simango, who is the youngest in the race, focuses on employment and opportunities for the youth.

Afonso Dhlakama
Afonso Dhlakama has been criticised for his arrogant leadership style

Like his ruling party rival, Mr Dhlakama, 53, is both a military man and a politician.

His home in an upmarket part of the capital, Maputo, is nicknamed "Maringue" - the name of his former rebel base - underlying his close association in the minds of Mozambicans with the brutal civil war.

In the colonial war Mr Dhlakama was a soldier of the Portuguese army before joining Frelimo, which led the country to independence in 1975.

However in 1976 he left the party to become one of the founders of Renamo - a movement initially backed by Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and afterwards by South Africa's apartheid regime.

For the next 16 years Mr Dhlakama fought a guerrilla campaign against Frelimo government - eventually becoming the leader of Renamo.

His failure in the 1999 election, and subsequent accusations of vote rigging, led to violent demonstrations in November 2000.

Earlier this year, he denied accusations that he was behind an assassination attempt on Daviz Simango, who broke away from Renamo in March to form his own party and stand for president.

On the political stage, Mr Dhlakama is charismatic but has been criticised by his some in his own party for being arrogant and dictatorial.

They say he has found it difficult making the transition from being a leader of soldiers to a leader of politicians when the war ended in 1992.

It is Mr Dhlakama's fourth time running for president - and he says it will be his last if he loses.

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