Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi on Monday appointed former police general commander Pascoal Ronda to the post of Minister of the Interior.
Ronda will replace Arsénia Massingue, who had been at the helm of the Ministry of the Interior since November 2021. At the time of her appointment, she became the only woman to reach the top of the ministry since independence.
For some unfathomable reason, it is the third time that Nyusi fires and hires a minister of the interior in his second term. The first was Amade Miquidade, the current ambassador to Rwanda, who was appointed in 2020 and sacked a year later in 2021.
Massingue replaced Miquidade in November 2021, and she herself is now being replaced by Ronda.
Perhaps Nyusi’s revolving door “policy” speaks of something very sinister at the ministry. For one, no minister implements serious policies with the say-so of the president. And tied to this is the constant strong interference from the current Police General Commander, Bernardino Rafael, who many a time acts as the de facto minister.
Governance experts suspect that the minor role of interior ministers means that they are de facto deputy-ministers, which also happens in the Defence Ministry. In the two ministries and to a certain degree in the State Information and Security Service (SISE), Nyusi and his Makonde inner circle control the security cluster. From designing strategies to procurement, everything is decided in the inner sanctum
As a former police general commander, Pascoal Ronda was implicated in a corruption scandal in 2008 with other police top brass in the ministry, which consisted of awarding contracts to a company they had created. However, he and his colleagues never saw the inside of a court room for their role in the syphoning off 200 million meticais (3.1 million dollars at the current exchange rate).
Sixteen months from the end of his second and final term, Nyusi has embarked on another cabinet reshuffle, begging the question of what is happening in the Ministry of the Interior and showing again the mercantile dimension of his second therm.
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