Maputo — Key allies of Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi entered the Political Commission of the ruling Frelimo Party in the small hours of Monday morning, at the end of the Party's 11th Congress, held in the southern city of Matola.
The new entrants to the Political Commission include Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario. He had been the long-serving Mozambican ambassador to India, when Nyusi called on him, in early 2015, to become Prime Minister. At the Congress, Rosario was elected first to the Central Committee, and the incoming Central Committee then elected him to the Political Commission, effectively the most powerful Frelimo body.
Two other members of the government entered the Political Commission - Interior Minister Jaime Monteiro, and Deputy Foreign Minister Nyeleti Mondlane. She is the daughter of the founder and first president of Frelimo, Eduardo Mondlane, who was assassinated by a parcel bomb sent by the Portuguese secret police, the PIDE, in 1969.
Three people who had left the Political Commission during the period when Armando Guebuza was President of Frelimo and of the Republic were once again elected to it. They are former Prime Minister (and currently ambassador to China) Aires Aly, a former Frelimo general secretary and once the director of Radio Mozambique, Manuel Tome, and the former Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Tomas Salomao, who has also served as Finance Minister and Transport Minister.
The final newcomer to the Commission is prominent Frelimo parliamentarian Ana Rita Sithole. Her name was persistently mentioned as a possible candidate for General Secretary, but in the event she chose not to stand.
Those re-elected to the Political Commission include former Defence Minister Alberto Chipande. He is the man who fired the first shots in Frelimo's independence war, in 1964. Others re-elected are another former guerrilla commander, Raimundo Pachinuapa, the president of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Veronica Macamo, and her predecessor Eduardo Mulembue.
Also re-elected were the chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Frelimo parliamentary group, Margarida Talapa and Sergio Pantie, Education Minister Conceita Sortane, former environment minister Alcinda Abreu, the former mayor of Maputo, and currently chairperson of the parliamentary Plan and Budget Commission, Eneas Comiche, and Filipe Paunde who was Frelimo General Secretary between 2006 and 2014.
Those who failed in their bids for re-election were Agriculture Minister Jose Pacheco, former Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina, former Tourism Minister Carvalho Muaria, former Minister of Mineral Resources, Esperanca Bias, and former governor of Maputo City, Lucilia Nota Hama. The former Public Works Minister, Cadmiel Muthemba, could not stand for re-election since he had lost his Central Committee seat the previous day.
The outgoing general secretary, Eliseu Machava, chose not to stand for re-election, specifically in order to clear the way for his successor Roque Silva, elected on Sunday. He thanked the members of the Central Committee for the unconditional support they had given him, and promised that he would be the first to support Roque Silva.
In addition to the 17 members elected by the Central Committee, three others sit on the Poltical commission ex oficio - the President of the Party, Filipe Nyusi, the General Secretary, and the secretary of the Verification Committee, the Frelimo disciplinary body, Raimundo Diomba.