Site icon The Journal of Africa

In Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi surrounds himself with soldiers

Filipe Nnyusi Lazaro Menete

Filipe Nyusi and Lázaro Menete

The successive dismissals of the Mozambican Minister of the Interior, Amade Miquidade, and of the Minister of Defense, Jaime Neto, are debated. According to our sources, President Filipe Nyusi wishes to give several ministerial portfolios to the military.

As the war on terror in northern Mozambique appears to be drawing to a close, especially thanks to the military intervention of Rwanda and Southern African Community (SADC) countries, President Filipe Nyusi took matters into his own hands by sacking ministers. The Minister of the Interior, Amade Miquidade, sacked on Tuesday, and that of Defense, a very close ally of the president, Jaime Neto, sacked last Wednesday, were the first victims of the announced reshuffle.

On the side of the presidency, no explanation was given. Especially since the announced end of the crisis in the north is not a sufficient reason. Indeed, with the military victory against the terrorists Shebabs and Ansar al-Sunna, but also the weakening of the insurgents of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Mozambique is gradually finding peace.

Misunderstanding within the ruling party

A senior military official told Journal de Afrique that two soldiers were approached to take over from sacked ministers. Lázaro Menete, former chief of staff, and Bernardino Rafael, commander of the Mozambican police and general of the army, had been chosen by the president for the Interior and Defense. However, the head of state has changed his mind. “Under Western pressure,” the same source tells us.

The post of Minister of the Interior was therefore finally given to the director of the national immigration service (SENAMI), Arsenia Massingue, army colonel. And, this Thursday, General Cristovao Chume, a key man in the Nyusi regime, trained in the United States, became the new Minister of Defense.

In the camp of the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), the political party of Nyusi, executives denounce a "Western following" on the part of the Mozambican president. Especially since the sacked ministers were long-time allies of Nyusi and Massingue and Chume have little weight in the Mozambican political sphere. Their appointment to important posts, as well as the inexplicable change of mind of the Head of State, raise certain questions.

What is Filipe Nyusi afraid of?

If they had taken place three months earlier, in the midst of a security crisis, these appointments could have made sense because of the rampant insecurity and the terrorist threat in Mozambique. But today, armed groups in northern Mozambique are at bay after an offensive by the African military coalition made up of the Mozambique armed forces, a Rwandan contingent and SADC troops.

At the political level, the Mozambican president is widely criticized, in particular because of a matter of financing his electoral campaign of 2019, but also because of the affair of "The hidden debt" following an audit of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2017. Despite everything, the presidency is not unduly threatened, the political opposition in Mozambique being absent subscribers, especially since the death of Nyusi's best enemy , Alfonso Dhlakama, RENAMO candidate in 2018, as well as that of the leader of the armed wing of his party, Mariano Nhongo, on October 11.

Filipe Nyusi thus places himself as the only presidential politician in the country. However, it is weakened by financial scandals. Despite everything, he should run for a third and final term in January 2024. This leaves the 62-year-old man, at most, seven years in power. In addition, the Mozambican president is accused of using the terrorist threat to suppress his political opponents.

By militarizing the government, is Filipe Nyusi seeking to protect his domination on the political scene and get rid of all opposition? And, above all, is he aiming for the presidency for life, despite a Constitution that would prohibit him from running for a fourth term?

Exit the mobile version