Madagascar president picks new finance minister, enlarges cabinet

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina attends a World Bank development summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast

Madagascar’s president named a new finance minister in an enlarged cabinet, days after sacking all ministers for what he said was poor performance and weeks after the reported foiling of a plot to kill the former coup leader.

Rindra Hasimbelo Rabarinirinarison will become finance minister, Andry Rajoelina said in a televised address late on Sunday, one of 11 women promoted to a cabinet expanded to 32 ministers, vice ministers and secretaries of state from 25.

Rabarinirinason was previously a senior official in the finance ministry and before that headed the Indian Ocean island country’s public procurement commission.

“You were chosen because you are seen as being able to do better and achieve more,” Rajoelina told the new appointees.

Ten ministers from the previous cabinet, including General Léon Richard Rakotonirina, the defence minister, were reinstated in their posts.

Rajoelina increased the size of the cabinet by splitting up some ministries including the agriculture, livestock and fisheries portfolio.

Prosecutors said on Aug. 2 that 21 more suspects, including 12 military personnel, had been arrested in connection with a plot to kill Rajoelina and topple the government.

Six people, one of them a French citizen, were arrested inn July on suspicion of involvement in the plot after what officials said was a months-long investigation.

Madagascar, an impoverished ex-French colony of 26 million, has a history of political violence and instability. Rajoelina, 44, was sworn in as president in 2019 after a hotly contested election and a constitutional court challenge from his rival.

Madagascar is also suffering its worst drought in 40 years. The number of acutely malnourished children there is expected to quadruple to at least half a million, the United Nations warned in July.

Was it worth reading? Let us know.