Niger’s new government changes course

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Twenty ministers, including five women and five military officers are part of a new interim government cabinet appointed Monday by Mahamadou Danda, the head of Niger’s new government. Most members of this team are unknown and from the Nigerien diaspora.

Niger Monday announced a new government cabinet. A total of 20 ministers were appointed by decree by the head of the junta, Salou Djibo. Led by Prime Minister Mahamadou Danda who was appointed February 23, members of the new government cabinet are to provide the needed support for the pending presidential elections in the country.

Members of the interim government cabinet are unknown to the general public, and no member of the Nigerien opposition or civil society is part of it. Most of them, including the new chief of diplomacy, Nafisa Maïga Toure, Niger’s ambassador to the United States, live abroad. The same applies to the new Interior Minister, Ousmane Cisse, former Director General of Police under President Mamadou Tandja. Badamassi Anu, now in charge of Finance, is an economist who lives in the United States and Me Abba Souley Mamadou, Minister of Mines and Energy, is a lawyer in France.

Five officers from the junta have also been invited to join the group. General Mamadou Ousseini, Chief of General Staff of the Army, received the coveted Department of Defense, while four other officers were appointed to positions of lesser importance. General Oumara Mai Manga, the chief of staff to Mamadou Tandja, got the Sports ministry, and General Abdou Kaza, former aide of the ousted president, became Minister of Environment. Colonel Ahmed Mohamed, who was awarded the Transport ministry has often served as a regional prefect, while Colonel Amadou Diallo, who now holds the Public Works portfolio, was president of the Military Tribunal.

A delegation of the Nigerian junta was present in Paris for a meeting with the International Organization of la Francophonie (OIF) the day the appointment of the twenty ministers was announced. The OIF seized the occasion to condemn the coup in Niger, but did not impose sanctions on the country. The junta has been given a period of six months to hold free and democratic elections. Speaking on behalf of Government of Niger, Abdoulkarim Gukoye, promised to respect the set time-frame.

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