17. January 2010

Guebuza keeps most ministers

Newly re-elected President Armando Guebuza named his new government on Jan 16, which is largely unchanged from the previous one. The most important change was the naming of former Education Minister Aires Ali as Prime Minister, replacing Luisa Diogo, who will be in parliament but not in government.

The new Minister of Education is Zeferino Martins, who most recently has been Executive Director of the Commission for the Reform of Professional Education (COREP).

The only other ministries to have new ministers are Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare, Fisheries, Public Works and Housing, State Administration, and Veterans’ Affairs. But almost all governors have been replaced.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday parliament named Veronica Macamo as chair (president, speaker). She takes over from Eduardo Mulembue, who had been the parliamentary chair for the last 15 years. Macamo was first deputy chair of the Assembly in the last parliament.

Ali, Diogo, Macamo and Mulembue are all members of the Frelimo Political Commission, as are Minister of the Interior Jose Pacheco, Minister of Planning and Development Aiuba Cuereneia, and Minister for Coordination of Environmental Action Alcinda Abreu.

This is Guebuza's second and last term as President, so the new appointments will be scrutinised for the implications as to who might by the next Presidential candidate. Mulembue and Diogo were widely touted as possible candidates, but both have lost their prominent positions. Cuereneia had often been suggested as the next Prime Minister, but has not been given the post. Aires Ali has been a long time friend of Guebuza, so his nomination as Prime Minister puts him in the leading position to replace Guebuza as president. Ali was born in 1955, and thus could be seen as representing the next generation. (Mulembwe was born in 1954 and Diogo in 1958; Guebuza was born in 1943). (Joe Hanlon)

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