Cablegate: President Chissano Appoints New Mozambican Prime

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.


E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) On Tuesday, February 17, President Chissano formally
announced the appointment of Luisa Diogo, the current
Minister of Planning and Finance, as Prime Minister. The
announcement of a new PM was expected, as former PM Pascoal
Mocumbi had already announced his intention to leave his GRM
post early (before the October 2004 national elections) to
serve as High Commissioner of a new European Commission
health body, the Europe-Developing Countries Clinical Trial
Partnership (EDCTP). Mocumbi was relieved of his PM duties
and Diogo installed on the same day. Diogo also retains her
position as Minister of Planning and Finance.

2. (SBU) The choice of Diogo to serve as PM does not come as
a complete surprise -- Diogo and Minister of Transport and
Communications Tomas Salomao had been widely seen as the two
most likely candidates to replace Mocumbi. She is the first
woman in Mozambique to be appointed PM and is from the
western province of Tete, as opposed to the other major GRM
leaders that hail from the FRELIMO-heavy south. Diogo is a
sharp leader and a tough manager in her position as Minister
of Planning and Finance. She is currently one of three female
ministers serving in the GRM. Unlike the two previous PMs,
Diogo is not a member of the FRELIMO Political Commission,
the most powerful FRELIMO body; however, she is a member of
the larger FRELIMO Central Committee. She has sought out and
established critical international relationships with donors
and lending organizations. Her astute knowledge of the Paris
Club process has been key to her prominent position in the
GRM, given Mozambique's dependence on external budget
support. Diogo studied economics at Maputo's most prestigious
university, Eduardo Mondlane, and went on to receive a
Masters degree in Economics from the University of London in
1992. She began working in the Ministry of Planning and
Finance in 1980, making her way up to Department Head,
National Budget Director, and Deputy Minister. Diogo was
promoted to Minister by President Chissano after the 1999
national elections. In the early 90's, Diogo spent two years
working for the World Bank as a Program Officer in
Mozambique. Diogo is the founding force behind the GRM's
Poverty Reduction Strategy (PARPA), approved by the Council
of Ministers in April 2001. This strategy, which emphasizes
economic growth through investment in human capital and
productive infrastructure and institutional reform to improve
the private sector investment climate, is a high priority for
the GRM and will continue to be through 2005. President
Chissano has communicated that Diogo will retain her position
as Minister of Planning and Finance and fulfill new PM duties

3. (U) Radio de Mocambique reported the following additional
candidates were also considered for PM: Minister of
Transportation Tomas Salomao (short-listed with Diogo),
FRELIMO Parliamentary bench leader Manuel Tome, former
Minister of State Administration Oscar Monteiro, and Governor
of Cabo Delgado Province Jose Pacheco.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: The appointment of Diogo to PM arguably
makes her the most powerful woman in Mozambique. She is
nationally and internationally respected in her position as
Minister of Planning and Finance and has close ties with the
donor community. Diogo's appointment serves various purposes
and is timely for the FRELIMO-ruling GRM. With the country's
third national elections set for late 2004, Chissano played
his card at installing the country's first female PM in
history and choosing a candidate from the country's central
region. FRELIMO is hoping to make a statement with this
appointment; the FRELIMO party is responsive to women around
the country and to all regions, the south, central, and
north. Post believes that Diogo will not do much to change
the tide of Mozambique's political, economic, or social
fabric in the ten months in which she serves as PM. Chissano
is stepping down in the 2004 elections, and the new
Mozambican president, whether he be FRELIMO or RENAMO, is
expected to revamp the cabinet and appoint new ministers.
Diogo may or may not be chosen to take part in the new GRM.

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