DR Congo names new government after months of delay

  • World
  • Wednesday, 29 May 2024

FILE PHOTO: Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi speaks during a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, April 30, 2024. Christophe Ena/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo has appointed a new government, spokesperson Tina Salama said in the early hours of Wednesday, ending an impasse that has mired the country in political uncertainty for months.

President Felix Tshisekedi won a second term after elections in late 2023 that also handed his Sacred Union coalition a large majority in parliament. But internal jostling for jobs has delayed the formation of a new cabinet of ministers.

The president eventually named Judith Suminwa as Congo's first female prime minister on April 1 and his ex-chief of staff Vital Kamerhe as parliament speaker on May 22, paving the way for the appointment of the government.

The new cabinet comprises 54 ministers versus 57 in the last government - a smaller-than-expected downsizing despite pressure to reduce costs.

In an announcement on state broadcaster RTNC, Salama said Guy Kabombo Muadiamvita had been appointed defence minister - a key role given Congo's costly two-year conflict with the M23 rebel group in eastern territories.

Muadiamvita, a lawyer by training, was previously head of Congo's official gazette, the journal of record for legal acts.

Doudou Fwamba Likunde was named finance minister and Kizito Pakabomba was appointed to oversee the mines ministry and Congo's globally significant reserves of coltan, copper and other minerals.

Referring to the delay forming a government, the president's communications director Erik Nyindu said it took time for the different parties in the ruling coalition to find a compromise.

"Better that than a country full of conflict," he said on RTNC.

Tshisekedi formed his first government when he was elected in 2019. It was a coalition with his predecessor Joseph Kabila that broke up in 2021.

Tshisekedi then formed another coalition.

Since the last election in December, the Sacred Union has held around 95% of National Assembly seats.

(Reporting by Sonia Rolley; Writing by Sofia Christensen and Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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