With the recent announcement of the new Congolese Cabinet, the authorities showed that former president Joseph Kabila still had a huge influence within the country’s political sphere.
Last December, Felix Tshisekedi, the leader of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), won the presidential seat in a long-delayed election, defeating the candidate officially supported by Kabila. The opposition members soon claimed the results had been rigged through a secret deal between Kabila and Tshisekedi, a suggestion denied by both of their camps.
However, the government appointments announced on Monday might confirm that the politicians could actually have an agreement as around two-thirds of posts went to Kabila’s supporters, mass media stated.
42 out of 65 Cabinet slots were taken by the members of the former president’s camp, including the Defence Minister post that is now controlled by Ngoy Mukena, a close Kabila ally. The mining portfolio went to Willy Samsoni, while the Finance Minister’s chair was granted to Sele Yalaghuli — both of them are the ex-leader’s Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition representatives.
Tshisekedi’s stalwarts only received the portfolios of the Interior and Security Minister as well as the Budget Minister (ranks below the Finance Minister in the hierarchies).
“Apparently, the FCC will maintain its grip because it controls many of the ministerial departments,” Jonas Tshiombela, a prominent figure in Congo civil society, said in an interview.
After the change of power in the DR Congo, Tshisekedi demonstrated that his company would run counter to his predecessor’s in some of the areas. He granted amnesty to three political prisoners and 700 regular prisoners and allowed the political protests to be held within the country.