Democratic Republic Of Congo
A reshuffle of the government was announced overnight from Thursday to Friday in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), now in office Prime Minister Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde but redesigning the ministerial team nine months before the next presidential election.
Among the new heavyweights of the government is, at Defense, the former vice-president (2003-2006) Jean-Pierre Bemba. Former warlord, Mr Bemba had been sentenced to 18 years in prison by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed in the Central African Republic before being acquitted on appeal in 2018, after ten years of imprisonment.
He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, as the DRC, which has been struggling with armed violence for nearly 30 years in its eastern part, experiences a spike in tension with its neighbor Rwanda, accused of supporting the rebellion. of the "M23" which has occupied large parts of the province of North Kivu since last year.
Another comeback, Vital Kamerhe, former chief of staff of President Félix Tshisekedi, sentenced in 2020 to 20 years in prison for embezzlement before being acquitted on appeal in 2022, is appointed to the Economy, also in the rank of Deputy Prime Minister.
A reshuffle had been presented as imminent for three months, after the resignation at the end of December of three ministers who were members of the party of businessman Moïse Katumbi, candidate for the next presidential election, who had left the government in solidarity with their political movement in rupture. with the ruling coalition.
The presidency warned early Thursday evening of an "important communication" to come before a spokesperson for Felix Tshisekedi appeared on national television after midnight to read the composition of the new government.
The next presidential election is scheduled for December 20. Félix Tshisekedi, in power since January 2019, has announced for months that he would be a candidate for re-election.
Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde has been Prime Minister since February 2021. President Tshisekedi had appointed him to consolidate his majority after ending the coalition he formed at the top of the state with his predecessor Joseph Kabila.
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