February 17, 2004

Luisa Diogo appointed new Prime Minister

Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano has appointed Finance Minister Luisa Diogo as the country's new Prime Minister. She takes over from Pascoal Mocumbi, relieved of office at his own request, in order to take up a senior position in an international medical body, the WHO. The appointment of Diogo marks a generational leap. She was born on 11 April 1958, and is thus just 46 years old. Mocumbi is 60. Diogo was only 17 when the country won its independence in 1975 - thus she took no part in the armed struggle for independence waged by the Mozambique Liberation Front.

The new Prime Minister comes from the western province of Tete. From 1993-1994, she was World Bank Programme Officer in Mozambique, and often stood in for the Bank's representative. After the 1994 general elections, she accepted Chissano's invitation to leave the World Bank and join the government as Deputy Finance Minister. She was promoted to full minister after the December 1999 elections.

Chissano will not need to find a new Finance Minister. He has decided that Diogo will combine the posts of Prime Minister and Finance Minister. Unlike the two previous prime ministers, Mocumbi and Mario Machungo, Diogo is not a member of the Political Commission of the ruling Frelimo Party, which is in practice the most powerful Frelimo body. However, she was elected onto the much larger Central Committee at the Frelimo Eighth Congress in 2002. Diogo is married to one of the country's top lawyers, Albano Silva, and they have three children. (Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique, Maputo)

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