Guebuza names cabinet to fight poverty


By Mateus Chale

Maputo - New Mozambique President Armando Guebuza named his cabinet on Thursday, a day after taking over from Joaquim Chissano, pledging to move with speed to tackle widespread poverty in the southern African country.

Guebuza's team of 22 ministers are stalwarts of the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (Frelimo), five retained from the government of Chissano - who turned Mozambique from civil war instability to an African success story.

At his inauguration on Wednesday, Guabuza said he would name a team that understood how to tackle the problems Mozambique faced - poverty, crime, corruption and HIV and Aids - and wanted them to inject urgency in tackling the problems.

On Thursday, Guebuza made economist Manuel Chang, a long-serving deputy minister under Chissano, his finance minister. Chang, 50, succeeded Luisa Diogo who was kept in her other role as prime minister, a largely ceremonial post.

Alcinda Abreu became Mozambique's first woman foreign minister while trusted Guebuza allies Jose Pacheco and Tomas Mandlate were handed the key interior and agriculture ministries after serving previously as regional administrators.

Medicine professor at Eduardo Mondlane University Paulo Garrido was made health minister with a tough mandate to fight a HIV and Aids epidemic, listed as one of Mozambique's biggest development challenges.

But Guebuza did not fill the post of justice minister, where international donors have sought a tough-minded politician to lead the fight against graft and bureaucracy in the legal system blamed for a huge backlog of cases.

Guebuza said his cabinet was committed to transparent management of public assets and a culture of accountability and expected it to back what he called his "open presidency".

"We want the style of open presidency to be replicated at all levels so that our people can follow every step the contribution that each member of the government and institution is making in the fight against poverty," he said.


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