Kabila’s influence on new DRC cabinet casts shadow over president

Kabila’s influence on new DRC cabinet casts shadow over president

The party of new Dr Congo President Felix Tshisekedi suffered a crushing defeat in Friday's senate election. AFP/File/JOHN THYS

Critics say Felix Tshisekedi will not be able to govern without the dictates of his predecessor.

Following secret discussions south of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) capital Kinshasa, a new cabinet has been formed and 80% of it will comprise of parties which support President Felix Tshisekedi and his predecessor Joseph Kabila.

Kabila’s party, the Common Front for the Congo (FCC) will have 60% of the positions, while Tshisekedi’s CACH coalition will take 20%, UN radio OKAP reported.

The cabinet  – the composition of which was agreed following secret talks in Kasantu, a town 100km south-west of Kinshasa – comes four months after the president’s inauguration and will compromise 39 ministers and 12 assistant ministers.

Kabila will name five of the candidates and Tshisekedi the same number.

Critics say the president will not be able to govern without the dictates of Kabila, given that the FCC has 337 MPs out of the total 500, 23 of 24 provincial governors, and 91 of 100 senators.

This has raised the issue of Kabila’s continuing influence on DRC politics after he refused to step down repeatedly in the past despite his official term in office ending in 2016. His autocratic grip on power caused mass unrest in the DRC.

When he did eventually step down and new elections were held last December, accusations of vote rigging were rife, with presidential contender Martin Fayula widely believed to have won the elections according to a number of non-partisan sources.

Rumours of a done deal between Kabila and Tshisikedi made media headlines shortly after the elections. The latest cabinet composition appears to lend credence to that assertion.

– African News Agency

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