Q&A | President Nyusi recycles ministers and rewards best friends, says leading Mozambique analyst

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President Filipe Nyusi. (Photo: Reuters)
President Filipe Nyusi. (Photo: Reuters)
  • President Filipe Nyusi's secondary school friend takes over the Public Works, Housing, and Water Resources ministry.
  • Critics says the new cabinet cannot address the Cabo Delgado crisis as well as Mozambique's economic woes.
  • Surrounding himself with close friends means a continuation of corrupt practices despite the hidden debt scandal embarrassment, says an analyst.

A case of recycling ministers, rewarding friends from as far back as secondary school and perpetuating alleged corruption despite the hidden debt scandal that engulfed one of the poorer nations in southern Africa, is what Mozambique's President Filipe Nyusi's cabinet reshuffle is about, says a leading Mozambican scholar and political analyst.

Professor Adriano Alfredo Nuvunga, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Steering Committee of the Mozambique Human Rights Defenders Network (RMDDH) spoke to News24.

His take on the cabinet reshuffle

What Nyusi has done is to recycle ministers. So the new finance minister Ernesto Max Elias Tonela was in mineral resources and energy. That man is Nyusi's biggest friend; they were friends before he was president. Tonela is an accountant, he understands accounts, but you don't need an accountant to run finance and the economy. You need an economist.

So this is not about technical capacity, but friendships. The man who is now minister of public works, housing and water resources, Carlos Alberto Fortes Mesquita, was in Nyusi's first term as the minister of transport and communication.

At the beginning of Nyusi's current term, he became minister for external commerce and industry. Now he's here and is also Nyusi's longest friend. They were schoolmates at secondary school. So this is someone he trusts, nothing to do with technical capacity. The new Prime Minister, Adriano Maleiane, was finance minister since his first term.

READ | Mozambique president names new premier and finance minister

Why the reshuffle?

He wanted to sack the prime minister, public works and internal waters minister as well as the fisheries minister. So I had been thinking he would bring in the heavyweights from Frelimo to empower him and boost his image vis-à-vis the Frelimo internal politics and interests. They have a congress in September. He didn't do what we expected.

READ | Mozambican PM sacked in major reshuffle

What's the game plan?

There's no policy shift here, no policy debates, this has nothing to do with addressing the key issues in the country. Particularly the Cabo Delgado situation and the overall Mozambique crises, economic and financial.

READ | Mozambique's President fires six ministers

The president and his trusted few

He remains in what he calls a technocrat government which is unable to deliver anything close to that, but what we have seen up to now is corruption. This has nothing to do with the hidden debt, it has to do with the continuation of the corruption schemes. Even the hidden debt scandal has not stopped Nyusi and his government from corruption.


The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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