Africa

Mozambican premier sacked in major reshuffle

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, wearing military fatigue in Pemba, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique, during in September. Simon WOHLFAHRT - AFP

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday sacked his prime minister in a major cabinet reshuffle that appeared calculated to minimise political fallout from bruising testimony at a corruption trial.

Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario has held the post since Nyusi’s presidency began in 2015.

But he was sacked along with six other ministers, including four holding the key portfolios of finance, mineral resources, industry and public works.

Those four had also served throughout Nyusi’s term, and analysts held out the possibility that he might find new posts for them.

But the reshuffle seemed clearly aimed at stemming political damage from the ongoing trial of 19 high-profile officials in a $2 billion corruption scandal that plunged the economy into crisis.

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In testimony last month, former president Armando Guebuza accused Nyusi, who was then defence minister, of taking on $2 billion in debt, hiding the liability from parliament and then buying ships that are still largely at dock.

The reshuffle creates space for Nyusi to bring in political heavyweights who can protect him ahead of a key conference in September of the ruling Frelimo party, said political analyst Adriano Nuvunga.

“The trial has left him with a damaged image – he needs strong figures to defend him,” Nuvunga said.

The ministers sacked were the finance minister, Adriano Afonso Maleiane; mineral resources minister Ernesto Max Tonela; minister for industry Carlos Mesquita; public works minister Joao Machatine; fisheries minister Augusta Maita; and veterans minister Carlos Siliya.

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