DRC announces new government 7 months after president inaugurated

Coalition government under President Felix Tshisekedi dominated by former leader Joseph Kabila's FCC movement.

    Tshisekedi triumphed in a December presidential election that observers said was marred by irregularities and opponents denounced as rigged [File: Jerome Delay/AP]
    Tshisekedi triumphed in a December presidential election that observers said was marred by irregularities and opponents denounced as rigged [File: Jerome Delay/AP]

    The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has announced a new coalition government, seven months after the inauguration of President Felix Tshisekedi.

    Announced on Monday by the president's spokesperson, the power-sharing agreement saw 23 members of the executive drawn from Tshisekedi's Direction For Change party, and the remaining 42 from former long-time president Joseph Kabila's Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition.

    Gilbert Malaba, a member of Tshisekedi's party, was appointed minister of interior and security, while the defence ministry went to Ngoy Mukena, a close Kabila ally.

    The mining portfolio went to Willy Samsoni, a member of Kabila's coalition and a former mines minister in the local government of Haut-Katanga province, while the DRC's former director general of taxes, Sele Yalaghuli, also a Kabila stalwart, was named finance minister.

    "The government is finally here ... the president has signed the decree and we will begin work soon," Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba told reporters.

    Ilukamba said the delay in forming the government was a result of both sides needing time to "remove everything that could be an obstacle" to its "functioning".

    About three-quarters of those in the new administration were serving in government for the first time, he added, hailing this as an "important innovation".

    Tshisekedi-Kabila coalition

    Tshisekedi took office in January after winning a December 30 election which observers said was marred by irregularities and opponents denounced as rigged.

    The 56-year-old beat Kabila's hand-picked candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary and rival opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, among others, in the presidential ballot.

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    Fayulu came in a close second but rejected the result and accused Tshisekedi of making a secret deal with Kabila to deprive him of victory. Tshisekedi and Kabila denied the existence of a deal.

    The FCC dominated concurrent legislative elections, winning 342 of the 485 seats in the DRC's parliament.

    Following the polls, Kabila and Tshisekedi issued a joint statement in March confirming "their common will to govern together as part of a coalition government".

    Kabila governed the largely impoverished but mineral-rich Central African country for 18 years before leaving office.

    His final two years in charge saw him stay beyond the maximum term limit permitted by the DRC's constitution and instead oversee a crackdown on protesters calling for him to quit.

    Since his inauguration in January, Tshisekedi has signalled a break with his predecessor in some areas.

    In March, he pardoned hundreds of political prisoners, a marked shift away from the policies of Kabila, who had scores of his opponents jailed.

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    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies