Category Archives: Mozambique

Mozambique – PM sacked

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.

Mozambique – Ad hoc committee on constitutional reform established

The Mozambique parliament has approved the creation of an ad hoc constitutional committee. The decision was taken on 22 December.

The aim of the committee is not to write a new constitution but to consider amendments to the existing document, though the ruling Frelimo party has not indicated which aspects on the constitution need amending. The opposition fear that presidential term limits will be abolished. Allafrica reports that the constitutional committee will have 21 members.

In the meantime, Canal Mozambique is reporting that a period of public consultation on constitutional reform has begun. It will last until 16 March and will take place in the major towns.

Mozambique – Parliament to debate constitutional reform

The current version of the Mozambique constitution dates back to 2005. (A copy of the text is available here.) Even though the document is still very young, deputies are likely to begin debating revisions in the near future.

Notícias is reporting that at the opening of the parliamentary session on Monday, the President of the National Assembly reiterated the ruling party’s desire to update the constitution. Interestingly, though, it was explicitly declared that amending the constitution to allow President Armando Guebuza to stand for a third term was not under consideration. Reforms to the judicial process were explicitly mentioned.

In addition, it was stated that the country’s electoral law would be revised. This is important because last year’s elections were considered by many not to be free and fair.

Generally, the quality of Mozambique’s democracy has declined recently. In 2009 Freedom House withdrew the status of an electoral democracy there. Also, in 2010 Polity retrospectively downgraded its score for Mozambique from +6 to +5 from 1994-2009 inclusive, meaning that the country should be classed as an anocracy rather than a democracy. Mozambique’s Freedom House score also declined slightly in 2009.

Hopefully, a revision of the electoral law and perhaps constitutional changes may help to reverse this decline.

Mozambique – Change of PM

I was checking worldstatesmen.org and I discovered that I had missed a change of prime minister. The change dates back to January 2010. So, this is a very belated post.

Anyway, just after being sworn in for his second term, President Armando Guebuza changed his government and appointed a new prime minister. The previous incumbent, Luisa Diogo, had been in office since February 2004. She was not given a position in the new government.

The new(ish) prime minister is Aires Ali. Previously, he was Minister of Education and Culture. The government is listed here with a brief report.

PM Ali represents FRELIMO, which is the president’s party and which won an overwhelming victory at last year’s legislative election. The circumstances surrounding the election provoked Freedom House to withdraw the status of an electoral democracy from Mozambique. Partly in response to the problems surrounding last year’s election, a new electoral law is being drafted that will, hopefully, rectify some of those problems in the future. There is a report here.

Mozambique – Presidential and legislative elections

On 28 October Mozambique held concurrent presidential, legislative and provincial elections. The results were only announced by the National Election Commission last Wednesday. The Mozambique New Agency has reported the following:

Presidential election

Armando Guebuza (Frelimo), 2,974,627 votes, 75.00 per cent
Afonso Dhlakama (Renamo), 650,679 votes, 16.41 per cent
Daviz Simango (MDM), 340,579 votes, 8.59 per cent

So, the incumbent president, Armando Guebuza, was overwhelmingly re-elected. Frelimo have ruled the country since the end of the civil war and the process of democratisation. For what it is worth, therefore, Mozambique has not yet passed the ‘two turnover’ test, or even a ‘one turnover’ test!

In the legislative election, the result was similar:

Frelimo, 2,907,335 votes, 74.66 per cent, 191 seats
Renamo, 688,782 votes, 17.68 per cent, 51 seats
MDM, 152,836 votes, 3.93 per cent, 8 seats

The Mozambique Democratic Movement is a break-away movement from Renamo and was formed earlier this year. It was not allowed to contest a number of the constituencies. So, this probably accounts for why its legislative vote was lower than its presidential vote.

In terms of the previous results, Frelimo gained considerably, increasing from 160 seats in 2004 and Renamo has gone down from 90.