Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday appointed Raul Domingos, the former number two in the main opposition party, Renamo, to the Council of State, an advisory body to the President.
Domingos replaces the Mayor of Beira, and leader of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Daviz Simango, on the Council. Simango died of a heart ailment on 22 February.
Domingos was once chief of staff of Renamo, and effectively second-in-command of the rebel force. He was the head of the Renamo delegation in the negotiations in Rome which led to the peace agreement between the government and Renamo signed on 4 October 1992.
He became head of the Renamo parliamentary group after the first multi-party elections in 1994. But his relationship with the party's leader, Afonso Dhlakama, broke down in 2000, and in July of that year Dhlakama threw him out of Renamo.
Domingos set up his own organisation, the Party for Peace, Democracy and Development (PDD). In the 2004 presidential elections, Domingos came third, but with only 2.7 per cent of the vote. The PDD won two per cent of the vote, but no seats, in the parliamentary election. That was the high point for the PDD. Since then it has faded into obscurity, although Domingos himself remains a respected figure in opposition politics.
Under the Mozambican constitution, the President must consult the Council of State prior to any declaration of war, or of a state of emergency or state of siege. The Council must also be consulted over the date of general elections, and if the President wishes to dissolve the country's parliament the Assembly of the Republic, to hold a referendum, or to sack any provincial governor or district administrator.
Several members of the Council sit ex oficio - the President of the Republic, former Presidents, the Prime Minister, the speaker of parliament, former speakers, the chairperson of the Constitutional Council, the ombudsman, and the runner-up in the latest presidential election.
The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, chooses seven members of the Council, and Nyusi appoints four. He had appointed Simango, and has the right to choose his replacement.