The Mozambican government on Tuesday dismissed the chairperson of the board of directors of the publicly-owned Mozambican Television company (TVM), Simao Anguilaze, according to a report on the Mozambican news agency AIM.

His term of office had come to an end in December 2008, and the government declined to offer him a second three year term.

Instead, it appointed Bernardo Mavanga as the new head of TVM. Whereas Anguilaze had built a career in television, Mavanga's experience is as a print journalist. For a decade, from 1993 to 2003, Mavanga was director of the country's main daily paper, "Noticias".

He holds a law degree, and since leaving the director's seat at "Noticias" Mavanga has practiced as a lawyer, has worked as legal advisor to the paper, and has taught at one of Maputo's private universities.

Asked about Anguuilaze's dismissal, the government spokesperson, Deputy Education Minister Luis Covane, told reporters there was nothing abnormal about this. Chairpersons of the boards of public companies are not appointed for life, he said, and Anguilaze's term of office had simply expired.

But when Prime Minister Luisa Diogo commented on the same matter she took a somewhat different line. "It all has to do with what we are building", she said, "and in the case of Anguilaze, he made his valuable contribution. He put his stone in this edifice and put it well. Now we shall see the dynamic of Mavanga in regard to what we need from TVM".

The key problem facing TVM is that it is inevitably losing much of its audience. When it was set up, as "Experimental Television" (TVE), in the early 1980s, it was the sole Mozambican TV channel.

That monopoly has long gone. There are now three private Mozambican television channels, eating into TVM's audience share – not to mention the vast array of foreign stations readily available to anyone who has access to satellite or cable TV.

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