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File photo / President Filipe Nyusi
Four ministers were dismissed late last night by President Filipe Nyusi. They are Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi, Agriculture and Food Security Minister Jose Pacheco, Industry and Commerce Minister Ernesto Max Tonela, and Minerals and Energy Minister Leticia Klemens. No replacements have been named, and, as usual, no reasons given.
Pacheco was seen as close to former President Amando Guebuza. He had been agriculture minister since 2010, and previously served as interior minister 2005-09. Until the Frelimo Congress in September he had been on the Frelimo Political Commission and had been head of the Verification Commission, the Frelimo disciplinary body. In 2014 he was head of the government delegation in negotiations with Renamo. When Nyusi appointed his government in 2015, he kept Pacheco in post but moved rural development out of the agriculture ministry into a new ministry of development and environment under Celso Correia. Pacheco has been accused of being involved in the illegal timber trade, and last year Correia, clearly acting with agreement of Nyusi, launched a crackdown on the illegal timber trade, suggesting Pacheco’s power was waning.
Minerals and Energy is a key post because gas and mining are the key economic areas, and businesswoman Klemens was only appointed a year ago, in October 2016, to replace Pedro Couto. Her appointment had been controversial because she had no prior government experience. Africa Energy Intelligence (18 Oct 2016) said Couto was “very cautious and reputedly incorruptible,” but was sacked when the gas companies put pressure on the government because they felt Couto was pushing too hard in Mozambique’s interests.
Baloi had been foreign minister since 2008 (named by Armando Guebuza) and had held various ministerial posts in the 1990s under President Joaquim Chissano.
Tonela is an economist appointed as minister by Nyusi. Before that he was the Administrator of Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa (HCB) and before that had been finance director of Electricidade de Mocambique (EdM) in an era when it was well run.
By Joseph HanlonSource: Nes reports & clippings