Mozambique’s Nyusi Tightens Grip on Ruling Party After Congress

MAPUTO (Capital Markets in Africa) – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi cemented his grip on the ruling party at its leadership congress that ended Monday, and new leadership elected to Frente de Libertacao Mocambique’s most powerful organ may signal a cabinet reshuffle.

Nyusi, who has ruled the country since the start of 2015, won nearly 100 percent of the vote to secure another five-year term as party president, as well as an endorsement to stand as its candidate in 2019 elections. Nine new members that joined the political commission of Frelimo, as the party is known, are Nyusi allies, which means he may replace some ministers, according to Domingos do Rosario, a political science lecturer at Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, the capital.

“It’s likely there will be in the next months a government reshuffle,” Do Rosario said in an interview. “I think this congress will allow Filipe Nyusi to take the hammer and start to govern.”

Since coming to power, Nyusi, a former defense minister, has faced an armed uprising by the opposition Resistencia Nacional Mocambicana, crashing commodity prices and a hidden-debt crisis that resulted in the government defaulting on payments and donors halting aid. With his stronger grip on Frelimo, Nyusi will be in a better position to tackle the debt impasse with Eurobond holders and satisfy conditions set by the International Monetary Fund before it resumes lending.

Debt Audit
The fund froze disbursements to Mozambique last year after $1.4 billion in hidden loans were uncovered. The financing went toward state-owned companies that bought patrol boats, radar systems and shipbuilding facilities, and a summary of an audit of the loans by Kroll LLC found that $500 million in spending of the loan proceeds remained unexplained. It also found potential overpricing of about $700 million, which the contractor denied.

Nyusi also has a greater mandate to forge ahead with peace talks with Renamo, as the opposition group is known. Fighting corruption will be his first priority, but he also emphasized that securing a permanent deal with Renamo will be important.

“Continuing efforts to seek effective peace and national reconciliation is an urgent task that belongs to all of us, regardless of political affiliation,” Nyusi told the congress, held in the port town of Matola, southwest of Maputo.

Source: Bloomberg Business News


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