By John Ikani
Mozambique President, Filipe Nyusi on Thursday appointed Adriano Afonso Maleiane as the new Prime Minister, shortly after sacking Carlos Agostinho do Rosário, and filled several other posts including Finance Minister.
The change comes as part of a major cabinet reshuffle that appeared calculated to minimise political fallout from bruising testimony at a corruption trial.
Agostinho had held the position of Prime Minister since the start of Nyusi’s presidency 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 them new posts.
The ousted Finance Minister, Maleiane, has been named as the new PM, the Presidency said in a statement.
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.
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 in Dock.
Political analyst Adriano Nuvunga said the reshuffle could allow Filipe Nyusi to bring in political heavyweights who can protect him ahead of the ruling Frelimo party conference in September. “He needs strong personalities to defend him,” he told AFP. The other two ministers sacked were in charge of fisheries and war veterans.