Mozambique president Armando Guebuza has sacked his prime minister Aires Bonifacio Ali in a surprise cabinet reshuffle, which has raised uncertainty over who will run in the country's presidential polls in 2014.
Guebuza's reshuffle, which also affected five ministers and four provincial governors, saw Alberto Vaquina, the governor of the north-western province of Tete, appointed prime minister.
Guebuza, the former general-turned-businessman, leads the ruling Frelimo party. He is halfway through his second term of office and has repeatedly pledged to uphold the law forbidding him a third term as head of state when his current presidential mandate ends in 2014.
The sacked Ali had once been tipped to replace Guebuza as president but political analysts believe that Vaquina is now a contender for the country's top post. The fact that Vaquina is from the north will also count in his favour - according to commentators – as Frelimo wishes to broaden its appeal among voters, the majority of which live in the northern regions of Mozambique.
Frelimo's politburo - the party's highest decision-making body - recently welcomed Vaquina as a new member, while Ali failed to get voted onto the body.