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Cablegate: Mozambique: Agriculture Minister Fired

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0262 0641346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051346Z MAR 07
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6934
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS MAPUTO 000262

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAGR PGOV MZ
SUBJECT: MOZAMBIQUE: AGRICULTURE MINISTER FIRED

REF: HOTR WASHINGTON DC R 020901Z MAR 07

1. (U) President Guebuza dismissed Agriculture Minister Tomas
Mandlate on February 23, replacing him with Erasmo Muhate, a
senior ministry official who recently headed the Mozambican
Cotton Institute. Mandlate is the first minister to be fired
by President Guebuza, fulfilling a pledge Guebuza made
shortly after assuming office in February 2005 that ministers
who did not perform would be replaced. Dismissing a serving
minister is a rarity for Mozambique -- Guebuza's predecessor
Chissano preferred to let failing ministers finish their
five-year terms and then not re-appoint them.

2. (U) The GRM has given no reason for Mandlate's dismissal.
However it is widely believed that Mandlate, a former primary
school teacher, was not up to the job of running a difficult
ministry in the forefront of President Guebuza's "fight
against absolute poverty." (Note: He is rumored to have been
given a new job in the Ministry of Education. End note.)
Mandlate's successor, on the contrary, is an Agriculture
Ministry insider and trained as an agronomist.

3. (SBU) Even before Mandlate's dismissal, the press
speculated that a government shuffle was coming. Over the
past week other names have been mentioned of ministers likely
to be removed or transferred, including the Interior Minister
(see ref) and the nearly invisible Minister for Women and
Social Action.

4. (SBU) Comment: Guebuza has focussed on improving life for
the 80% of Mozambicans who live in rural areas; given his
weak performance, Mandlate was an obvious target for removal.
Also, Guebuza emerged stronger from the 9th Frelimo Congress
last November and, doubtless, feels more confident with his
cabinet in exerting his wishes. Further dismissals are
certainly possible.
Johnson

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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