The newly-appointed prime minister of the Central African Republic (CAR), Elie Dote, has named his 27-member cabinet team.
In a communiqué read over state-owned radio Centrafrique on Sunday, Dote announced that President Francois Bozize, who was elected on 8 May, retains the Defence Ministry portfolio, which he has held since March 2003 when he ousted President Ange-Felix Patasse.
The newcomers in Dote's cabinet include Jean-Eudes Teya from the political coalition Convergence Nationale Kwa na Kwa (KNK - the local Sangho language for 'work, nothing but work'), who is the minister for water and forest, a Member of Parliament from the coalition, Brigitte Epaye, Minister for Industry and Commerce and KNK coalition member Fidele Ngouandjika as minister for telecommunications.
Former Prime Minister Jean-Paul Ngoupande, who lost the first round of the presidential poll and threw his weight behind Bozize during the 8 May runoff, is the new minister for foreign affairs and regional integration. Another unsuccessful presidential candidate, Charles Massi, is the minister for transport.
Bozize's nephew, Sylvain Ndoutingaye, retains his position as minister for mining, a post he has held since March 2003. Desire Kolingba, son of former President Andre Kolingba, remains minister for Youth and Sport.
Lea Koyassoum Doumta, who Bozize sacked from the ministry of justice on 7 January 2005, makes a comeback as minister for public health and population.
Dote dropped several ministers who served in Bozize's transitional cabinet. These include Nestor Mamadou Nali, who was the minister for health; Zarambaud Assingambi, who was the general secretary of government and acting justice minister; Col Jules Bernard Ouandé, who was the security minister; and Idriss Salao, a member of the Rassemblement democratique centrafricain political party, who was the telecommunications minister.
Observers in the CAR, who requested anonymity, said most of the members of the new cabinet were close to Bozize. A group of five opposition parties, known as the Forces vives de la nation, has not yet commented on the formation of the new cabinet.
Asked to comment, several residents of the capital Bangui criticized Doumta's appointment as minister for health.
"I expected Mamadou Nali to remain the minister of health, as a professor of surgery he knows very well the situation of the hospitals in CAR and has done a lot to improve them," a doctor, who declined to be named, told IRIN on Monday.
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