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Cablegate: Guinea-Bissau Cabinet Reshuffle: Pm Consolidates His Power

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FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3281
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 1263
RUEHLI/AMEMBASSY LISBON 0894
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0411
RHMFIUU/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 DAKAR 001362

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TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS KDEM HDP SG
SUBJECT: GUINEA-BISSAU CABINET RESHUFFLE: PM CONSOLIDATES HIS POWER

1. (SBU) Summary: On October 28, Prime Minister Carlos "Cadogo"
Gomes, Jr. finally reshuffled his cabinet after announcing he would
do so during the June-July presidential campaign. As he pledged
last week in a Lisbon press conference, he promised a smaller
government, ostensibly to rein in government expenses. Despite the
presence of people associated with Gomes's rival President Malam
Bacai Sahna in this new cabinet, this reshuffle represents a
victory, at least in the short-run, for Gomes in his struggle with
the Sanha faction of the African Party for the Independence of
Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC). End summary.

THE CHANGES
-----------

2. (SBU) This is the first cabinet reshuffle since Cadogo became PM
for the second time in January 2009. The struggle for leadership in
the ruling PAIGC party continued in the reshuffle. Maria Adiatu
Nandigna, an experienced PAIGC party maneuverer and Sahna partisan
during the presidential campaign, went from being Minister of
Foreign Affairs, an area in which she had little experience, to
Minister of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, of Social
Communication and of Parliamentary Affairs. In the previous
cabinet, Social Communications had its own ministry. She replaces
Manuel Saturnino da Costa, a very old anti-colonial war veteran.
(Comment: Nandigna is one of the few Sahna partisans who seems to
have been a position of influence. However, this could be
interpreted as Gomes holding a political enemy close to him because
the post directly answers to him. End comment.)

3. (SBU) The new Minister of Foreign Affairs is Adelino Mano Queta,
a career diplomat and former ambassador to Portugal, Spain, Italy,
Morocco and Taiwan, and the father of the son-in-law of Prime
Minister Gomes. While this appointment injects some much needed
professionalism into the Foreign Ministry, by appointing Queta,
Gomes reaffirms his reputation as someone who relies professionally
on relatives.

4. (SBU) Haja Satu Camara Pinto, the new Interior Minister, is a
woman, a PAIGC member, and former National Assembly Vice-Speaker.
She is a veteran of the anti-Portuguese bush wars of the Sixties and
Seventies. Camara Pinto has very little education, is very sick and
is very loyal to Sahna. (Comment: Gomes promised to be his own
Interior Minister when he spoke publicly of a cabinet reshuffle, and
this could be the next best thing to the PM's holding this. End
comment.) Camara Pinto replaced Comandante Lucio Soares, a
liberation era PAIGC dinosaur who is very old.

5. (SBU) New Defense Minister Aristides Ocante da Silva is a former
Education Minister, a PAIGC stalwart, a French-trained sociologist,
and former researcher at the country's sole think tank (INEP). He
has been praised for his role in reforming education. (Comment: The
departure of his predecessor, Artur da Silva, is a mixed blessing;
the previous Defense Minister was well respected by the diplomatic
corps and the Embassy had established good relations with him. He
also seemed to have established a good rapport with Chief of Defense
Jose Zamora Induta. However, he was close to former President
Vieira and at times had seemed less than completely committed to
implementing the National Assembly-approved National Defense
Strategy and some questioned whether he had been co-opted by the
CHOD. End comment.)

6. (SBU) New National Education, Culture, Science, Youth, and
Sports Minister Artur da Silva practically exchanged portfolios with
Ocante da Silva. He is a fisheries specialist also trained in
France. Speculation is that he was demoted to Education, etc.
because he came out strongly against the March assassination of
President Joco Fernando "Nino" Vieira. In the previous government,
Culture and Sports was a separate ministry.

7. (SBU) Minister Carlos Mussa Balde was removed from the post of
Fisheries Minister. In that capacity, he was criticized for
allegedly having embezzled funds. He has now been appointed
Education and Rural Development Minister. He is a close friend to
the PM and has been in all his governments, particularly in
ministries through which pass large quantities of money. The
Fisheries Ministry was ostensibly downgraded into a secretariat
reporting directly to the Prime Minister. (Comment: Illegal fishing
has become a more high-profile issue in Guinea-Bissau. The GOGB
announced that it is cracking down on illegal fishing and recently
seized two South Korean and several Senegalese vessels illegally
fishing in Bissau-Guinean waters. It could be that Gomes wants to
have direct control over the revenue resulting from these seizures.
End comment.)

8. (SBU) Luis de Oliveira Sanca, the new Minister of Territorial

DAKAR 00001362 002 OF 003


Administration, is an old guard PAIGC member, has had other
ministerial appointments in the past, including Interior Minister in
the early Nineties, and is viewed by some observers as a Sanha
partisan.

GOMES POWER CONSOLIDATION, OR SET-UP FOR SELF DESTRUCTION?
--------------------------------------------- --------

9. (SBU) Comment: This appears to be a mainly Gomes cabinet, with
some Sahna partisans and no Party for Social Renovation (PRS)
figures, despite speculation that an entente between former
President Kumba Yala and Sanha would result in greater PRS
influence. Gomes seems to have successfully put in place a cabinet
loyal to him. However, Sanha could simply be biding his time. At
the first sign of crisis, Sahna could invoke his constitutional
powers to remove the PM, as Vieira did the last time Gomes was PM.
Given the magnitude of the challenges facing the country - among
them, endemic poverty, military impunity, security sector reform,
corruption, poor governance, and weak institutions - it is only a
matter time before there is a crisis.

THE NEW GOVERNMENT
------------------
10. (SBU) Following is the new 29-person Government (PM not listed),
according to the decree of October 28:

Ministers:

Maria Adiato Djalo Nandigna, Minister of the Presidency of the
Council of Ministers, Minister of Media and Parliamentary Affairs

Antonio Oscar Barbosa, Minister for Energy and Natural Resources

Hadja Satu Camara Pinto, Minister of the Interior

Luis de Oliveira Sanca, Minister of Territorial Administration

Aristides Ocante da Silva, Minister of Defense and War Veterans

Artur Silva, Minister of Education, Culture, Science, Youth and
Sports

Botche Cande, Minister of Commerce, Industry, Tourism and Artisan
Minister

Carlos Mussa Balde, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development
Minister

Adelino Mano Queta, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mamadu Djalo Pires, Minister of Justice

Maria Helena Embalo, Minister of Economics, Planning and Regional
Integration

Jose Mario Vaz, Minister of Finance

Jose Antonio Almeida, Minister of Infrastructure

Lurdes Vaz - Minister of Women's Affairs, Family, Social Harmony and
the Struggle Against Poverty Minister

Camilo Simoes Pereira - Minister of Health

Fernando Gomes, Minister of Public Affairs, Labor and State
Modernization


Secretaries of State:

Mario Dia Sami, Secretary of State for Fisheries

Fernando Augusto Gomes Dias, Secretary of State for Communities

Lassana Ture, Secretary of State for International Cooperation

Besna Na Fonta, Secretary of State for Educational Instruction

Barros Bacar Bandjai, Secretary of State for the Environment and
Sustainable Development

Octavio Alves, Secretary of State for National Security and Public
Order

Jose Carlos Varela Casimiro, Secretary of State for Tourism

DAKAR 00001362 003 OF 003

Gabriela Fernandes, Secretary of State for Budget and Fiscal
Affairs

Fernando Saldanha, Secretary of State for Youth, Culture and Sports

Jose Carols Esteves, Secretary of State for Transport and
Communications

Augusto Paulo Jose de Silva, Secretary of State for Health

Wasna Papae Danfa, Secretary of State for Energy.

BERNICAT

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