Leticia da Silva Klemens, with no experience in government or of minerals, was controversially named Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy last week, replacing the highly respected Pedro Couto, sacked in September. She was chair of the general meeting of the country’s largest commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM, and chair of the Association of Mozambican Businesswomen (FEMME). In swearing in Klemens, President Filipe Nyusi tacitly recognised her inexperience, arguing that “due to the complexity of the industry, no one is competent enough to satisfy everyone.”
"Anadarko, ExxonMobil and Delonex get Couto’s head on a platter" reported Africa Energy Intelligence (18 Oct). "Very cautious and reputedly incorruptible," the gas and oil companies clearly felt Couto was pushing too hard in Mozambique's interests and delaying their projects. Nyusi came under heavy pressure to dismiss Couto when he talked to oil in gas companies on his visit to the US in September. Both Africa Confidential and Africa Energy Intelligence say Couto failed to win the backing of the Frelimo old guard. MediaFax (19 Oct) said Couto resisted the demands of business networks involving leading figures in the government and party. "They say Couto argued excessively for the interests of the population, when you consider that, today, it is 'politically correct' to also accommodate the desires of the business in the promiscuous relationship between businessmen and politicians." Couto was too careful and too honest.
The 44-year old Klemens is part of the new generation of Frelimo children, and she is in business with the children of the key leaders of the independence struggle: former presidents Samora Machel, Joaquim Chissano, and Armando Guebuza as well as influential figures Alberto Chipande and Tobias Dai.
Sources: News reports & clippings - 24 October 2016