Yesterday, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique unexpectedly sacked his prime minister, Aires Ali, who had been in office since January 2010. President Guebuza immediately appointed Alberto Vaquina, a provincial governor, as the new PM.
Former PM Ali was not the only casualty of the reshuffle. Canal de Moçambique reports that four ministers, one vice-minister and three provincial governors were also replaced.
The change occurs just a week after President Guebuza was re-elected unopposed as leader of the ruling Frelimo Party. This re-election was significant because the president of Frelimo serves until the next party congress, which take place every 5-6 years. In the meantime, though, President Guebuza’s mandate as head of state is due to end in 2014. While he could simply resign as party leader then, his re-election is being taken as a signal that term limits might be abolished. If not, then allAfrica reports there would be the prospect of a sort of cohabitation between the new president and Guebuza.
His re-election as party leader has given President Guebuza the authority to shape the government and to hand pick his successor. PM Ali was someone whose name had been mentioned. However, he was not re-elected to the party’s ruling body at the last congress and now his departure as PM is a clear sign that he will not figure in President Guebuza’s future plans.