Southern African News Features                                           SANF 09 No 04, January 2010
Mozambique: Continuity with Change
by Phyllis Johnson

The new government of Mozambique announced by President Armando Guebuza is a reflection of his partyís vision for "continuity with change".

Shortly after being sworn in for a second term in office following the confirmation of election results by the Constitutional Council, Guebuza announced his new list of 29 cabinet ministers, 22 deputy ministers and 11 provincial governors.

Most government ministers were re-appointed indicating a continuity of approach to policy and governance, but the few changes were significant and indicate a renewal and a fresh approach to accelerating implementation.

The most significant change was the appointment by Guebuza of a new Prime Minister, the highly regarded former education minister, Aires Ali, replacing Luisa Diogo, who will be in parliament but not in government.

Both incoming and outgoing prime ministers are members of the Political Commission of the ruling party, the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo).

Guebuza appointed Ali to his first cabinet in 2005, as Minister of Education and Culture, after serving for two terms as a provincial governor in the north and south of the country.

His prior professional life was in the education sector, and he headed the office of the Minister of Education in 1989/90 coming to the notice of his colleagues. Born in 1955, he continues to represent a new generation of leadership.

For the Frelimo Party, the term "continuity with change" is not only a slogan but a way of life, and implementation is taken serious by party and government.

The two key economic ministries remain in the same hands, providing a strong continuity to economic governance -- Manuel Chang as Minister of Finance, and Aiuba Cuereneia as Minister of Planning and Development.

There are new ministers of education, fisheries, womenís affairs and social welfare, public works and housing, state administration, and veteransí affairs.

The other main changes in government bring in new faces as governors in the provinces, often seen as a training ground for the next generation of national leadership.

Some of the new ministers have moved up from being deputy ministers, and several of the new deputies were previously provincial governors.

Almost all provincial governors changed and the new list of 11 governors includes three women.

The list of 29 ministers contains 7 women, in the ministries of environment, labour, public service, state administration, mineral resources, womenís affairs and social welfare, as well as the Minister in the Presidentís Office for Parliamentary, Municipal and Provincial Assembly Affairs.

The list of 22 deputy ministers includes only three women, one of them in the key economic ministry of planning and development, as well as environment, and education.

The new education ministry has three deputy ministers, including a historian.

Although the new cabinet falls short of regional targets for representation of women in government at 24 percent, the National Assembly will have a higher profile and representation of women.

The electoral system in Mozambique is based on party lists and the Frelimo party has a policy of presenting a woman candidate as one of every three names on its list. Therefore, women will occupy at least one-third of seats on the government bench in parliament.

The Constitution specifies that people appointed to government cannot continue to be members of parliament, and so the next names on the party list move up. Thus the Frelimo formation of its list ensures the continuity of one-third women on government benches.

In addition, the Frelimo candidate for President of the National Assembly, or speaker of parliament, was approved by the Assembly, and she is Veronica Macamo, the former deputy.

She replaces Eduardo Mulembue, who had occupied the post for the past 15 years.

Macamo and Mulembue are both members of the Political Commission of the Frelimo party, as well are the ministers of interior, planning and development, and environment.

Frelimo swept back into office with more than 75 percent of the vote in the October elections, but the results were challenged by Afonso Dhlakama, whose Renamo party trailed far behind.

This caused a lengthy delay before the results could be confirmed by the Constitutional Council in December.

Dhlakama has said his party will boycott the National Assembly, as he says following every national election. However, this has implications for his members of parliament who have 30 days to take up their seats, and they usually do so within the period rather than risk losing their seats and benefits.

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