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Cablegate: Niger: President Tandja Names New Cabinet

VZCZCXRO1494
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0787 1621348
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 111348Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 3566
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0557
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MCC WASHDC

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000787

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/W
PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM KCOR NG
SUBJECT: NIGER: PRESIDENT TANDJA NAMES NEW CABINET

REF: (A) Niamey 783 (B) Niamey 737 (C) Niamey 736

1. Summary: President Tandja, on June 9, announced a new cabinet
made up of 32 members (including the Prime Minister), to replace the
one that was dissolved following the National Assembly's May 31 no
confidence vote on the former Prime Minister (ref a). Nineteen
incumbent ministers, including the ministers of Interior, Foreign
Affairs, Finance, and Communication remain in their positions, while
two change portfolios. The departments of Defense and Justice get
new ministers. The new cabinet includes eight women, as compared to
six in the previous one. The reaction to the new cabinet has been
generally favorable, even among those who were disappointed with
Oumarou's appointment as Prime Minister. End Summary.

2. Ministers who were replaced include:

-- Minister of Defense Souley Hassane;
-- Minister of Justice Maty Elhadji Moussa;
-- Minister of Commerce Habi Mahamdou Salissou;
-- Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation Souleymane Kane;
-- Minister of Water Resources Abdou Labo;
-- Minister of Tourism Amadou Nouhou;
-- Minister of Health Kabaou Mahamadou;
-- Minister of Community Development Mounkaila Modi;
-- Minister of Women's Promotion Zeinabou Moulaye;
-- Minister of Animal Resources Djina Abdoulaye; and
-- Minister of Young Business People's Promotion Gazobi Rahamou.

3. New Ministers include:

-- Dagra Mamadou, Minister of Justice;
-- Djida Hamadou, Minister of Defense;
-- Halidou Badj, Minister of Commerce, Industry and
Standardization;
-- Kindo Hamani, Minister of Commerce and Civil Aviation;
-- Issa Lamine, Minister of Health;
-- Mrs. Barry Bibata, Minister of Women's Promotion and Child
Protection;
-- Issiat Kato, Minister of Animal Resources;
-- Mrs. Amadou Aissa Siddo, Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts;
-- Mrs. Saad Souley, Minister of Community Development;
-- Tassiou Aminou, Minister of Water Resources;
-- Salou Gobi, Minister of Young Business People's Promotion and
Public Companies' Restructuring;
-- Mrs. Maizama Hadiza, Minister of Professional and Technical
Training; and
-- Saidou Hachimou, Minister of African Integration and Nigeriens
Abroad;

4. One new ministry has been created: the Ministry of African
Integration and Nigeriens Abroad, which was previously part of the
former Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African
Integration.

5. The Ministry of Programs Monitoring, Evaluation and Dialogue
with Development Partners, which was only created in March, has been
eliminated. It will likely be reintegrated within the Ministry of
Economy and Finance.

6. Comment: The new cabinet was generally well received, even by
those who were disappointed by Oumarou's appointment as Prime
Minister. It appears to reflect President Tandja's pledge to put
the right person in the right place in an effort to improve
performance and limit corruption within Niger's public service.
Five key ministers including those of Interior, Foreign Affairs,
Finance, Justice, and Equipment are known to be the President's
protgs. In addition, the no confidence motion may have given him
the opportunity to purge the government of officials widely believed
to be corrupt, such as the now former ministers of Transport,
Commerce, and Justice. Former Transport Minister Souleymane Kane
(who is the President's son-in-law) faced media allegations of
illegal dealings over the choice of companies in charge of making
vehicle license plates, as well as his management of the Niger
warehousing area at the port of Cotonou and services at the Niamey
airport. Former Commerce Minister Habi Mahamadou Salissou
acknowledged misappropriating about 80 million CFA ($160,000) worth
of foreign food assistance. Former Justice Minister Maty Elhadji
Moussa had been under strong criticism over his alleged interference
in high-profile court cases. One major criticism remains about the
Nigerien cabinet - its size.

Koran

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