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    28 May, 2010
Members of Council of State sworn in
Maputo, 28 May (AIM) - President Armando Guebuza on Friday swore into office 15 members of the Council of State, an advisory body which the President must consult on key issues such as the dissolution of parliament, or fixing the date of general elections.

The new ex-oficio members of the Council who took the oath of office were:

Veronica Macamo (chairperson of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic);
Eduardo Mulembue (former chairperson of the Assembly);
Aires Ali (Prime Minister).

Also sworn in were those appointed to the Council by the Assembly and by President Guebuza, regardless of whether they had already served on the Council previously. They are:

Appointed by President Guebuza:

Alberto Chipande (former defence minister, and the man who fired the first shots in the Mozambican independence war);
Bonifacio Gruveta (former guerrilla commander)
Brazao Mazula (chairperson of the country's first national elections commission, in 1994, and former vice-chancellor of the Eduardo Mondlane University)

Elected by the Assembly:

Luisa Diogo (former Prime Minister);
Deolinda Guezimane (veteran of the women's detachment in the Frelimo guerrilla army, during the war for independence);
Rev. Dinis Sengulane (Anglican bishop of the Libombos diocese and former President of the Mozambican Christian Council);
Sheik Abdurrazaque Ali Salimo (prominent member of the Islamic Congress of Mozambique);
Manuel Lole (member of the political commission of Renamo)
Antonio Muchanga (Renamo parliamentary deputy between 2005 and 2009).

Unable to take the oath on Friday, for various reasons, were Catholic Cardinal Alexandre dos Santos, former first lady Graca Machel, and Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama (who has a seat on the Council is his capacity as runner-up in the 2009 presidential election).

Those members who served on the Council ex-oficio from 2005 to 2009, and whose status has not changed, did not have to take the oath again. They are former President Joaquim Chissano, the chairperson of the Constitutional Council, Luis Mondlane, and the first chairperson of the Assembly, Marcelino dos Santos.

Addressing the ceremony President Guebuza urged members of the Council of State to make valuable contributions to strengthening the country's sovereignty. "You should continue to promote and defend the values and the principles which inform this very special people, the marvelous Mozambican people".

"Among these principles we can mention national unity, self-esteem and the culture of peace, the rule of law and social justice, and awareness that the right not to be poor is a human right for which we must continue fighting until final victory", said the President.

Under the Constitution, President Guebuza must consult with the Council of State on the date of general elections, any dissolution of the Assembly, any declaration of war, or of a state of siege or of emergency, or on holding any referendum. He may also call Council meetings to seek advice at any time he deems fit.

Of the events that must be preceded by Council meetings, the only one that is certain is the next general election, due in 2014. President Guebuza will have to discuss the date with the Council. The other events are all most unlikely - Mozambique has never held a referendum, chances of a war in southern Africa look very remote, and with an overwhelming Frelimo majority President Guebuza will have no need to dissolve the Assembly.
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