A set of musical chairs with new faces appearing, previously outcasts returning to the dance and departures. On Wednesday afternoon, March 16, Malagasy President Andry Rajoelina carried out a cabinet reshuffle, the fifth in three years. In the end, no major upheaval: the head of state retains his close guard and his prime minister.
as reported from Antananarivo, Sarah Tetaud
Five new ministers enter the government, two change portfolios, two others make a comeback after being deposed during a reorganization. Seven were finally thanked.
But at the head of the strategic ministries – finance, defense, public security, communications – the president of the republic has chosen continuity. Only the Home Secretary, Pierre Houlder, had to give way to the governor of Sava, Tokely Justin, to regain the portfolio of regional planning and land services, which was left vacant following the announcement of Haja Andranainarivelo’s resignation.
In justice, the outgoing Minister Herilaza Imbiki (on suspicion of corruption) was replaced by Magistrate François Rakotozafy. It was he who took over the chairmanship of the Special Electoral Court in 2013 at the end of the transition.
The surprise may come from the reintroduction of Richard Randrimandrato, ex-finance minister, and Olivier Rakotomalala, ex-water minister, after being expelled from the government for seven months. The first in Foreign Affairs, the second takes over Water.
“There is no room for error”, had warned last August Andry Rajoelina. Despite tensions, outbursts and mistakes, however, the most important ministers who have been talked about in recent weeks seem to have benefited from the mildness of the head of state. Starting with Tinoka Roberto, former Minister of Transport who excelled by announcing the ban on laptops and rolling suitcases in the cabin. He restores the Ministry of Sports. Its proximity to the inhabitants of the southeastern part of the island, less than two years before the presidential election, is probably not for nothing.