Niger junta appoints new prime minister

Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine

Niger’s military coup leaders announced the appointment of Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine as prime minister on Monday evening in a statement read out on national television, at a time when the international community is seeking to restore constitutional order.

“Mr (Ali Mahaman) Lamine Zeine has been appointed Prime Minister”, Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane reported.

As soon as he came to power, former president Mamadou Tandja appointed Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine cabinet director in 2001, then finance minister in 2002, to turn around a chaotic economic and financial situation.

This was a situation inherited from the military who came to power after the assassination in 1999 of General and President Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara, in a country whose history is punctuated by seizures of power by force.

Mr Zeine was Finance Minister until Mamadou Tandja was overthrown in a coup d’état in 2010 by Major Salou Djibo, before a presidential election won by Mahamadou Issoufou, predecessor of Mohamed Bazoum, who was deposed on 26 July.

Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, an economist by training, was also resident representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Chad, Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon.

Born in 1965 in Zinder (south), the country’s second most populous town, he joined the Ministry of Economy and Finance in 1991 after studying at the Ecole nationale d’administration (ENA) in Niamey. He is also a graduate of the Centre d’études financières, économiques et bancaires in Marseille and Paris-I.

“Lieutenant-Colonel Habibou Assoumane” has also been “appointed Commander of the Presidential Guard”, added Mr Abdramane.

These appointments come a day after the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) gave the ruling military an ultimatum to restore President Mohamed Bazoum to office. The organisation did not rule out the use of force if this demand was not met.

Niger’s Western and African partners are divided on the question of military intervention to return power to civilians, before ECOWAS meets again on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria.

President Bazoum has remained sequestered in his private residence since the day of the coup.

Author: Abu Bakarr Jalloh

Abu Bakarr Jalloh is a Sierra Leonean content writer, author, Neo Pan-African and founder of The African Dream, an online platform for inspiring, positive and compelling African stories. Contact: abubakarrjalloh@theafricandreamsl.com WhatsApp: +23276211583

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