DR Congo rivals forge government pact 7 months after polls

Friday July 26 2019

Felix Tshisekedi

DR Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi delivers a speech after he took the oath of office during his inauguration ceremony at the Presidency in Kinshasa on January 24, 2019. PHOTO | TONY KARUMBA | AFP 

AFP
By AFP
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The two rival political camps in DR Congo Friday forged a pact on forming a government, six months after President Felix Tshisekedi took power from veteran ruler Joseph Kabila, officials said.

Tshisekedi was elected in December to replace Kabila who presided over sub-Saharan Africa's biggest country for nearly two decades.

He took power at the end of January but has struggled to form a government as Kabila's Common Front for Congo (FCC) coalition won comfortable majorities in both houses of parliament as well as provincial assemblies.

Kabila's supporters also dominated elections for governorships across the country.

The current, outgoing government comprises ministers from the Kabila era.

Tshisekedi's CACH alliance in the legislature has been holding tortuous talks with the FCC to break the stalemate.

"An agreement has just been reached on Friday between the FCC and CACH," Nehemie Mwilanya, the coordinator of the pro-Kabila alliance, announced on Twitter.

He said Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunkamba, who was proposed by Kabila and backed by Tshisekedi, could be formally nominated as early as next week.

"This will be a government of 65 members: 42 coming from the FCC and 23 from CACH," said Jean-Baudouin Mayo, a negotiator for CACH.

Mwilanya said both sides had made "reciprocal concessions" but neither provided details on who would get key ministries such as interior, defence, economy, finance and mining.

"Now we are going to join forces. That is to say we will be of the same political family," Tshisekedi said a month ago.

The opposition views Tshisekedi as a puppet of Kabila.

Tshisekedi emerged victorious in elections that marked the Democratic Republic of Congo's first peaceful transition of power since the vast mineral-rich country gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

But the vote was marred by allegations of rigging, and Tshisekedi is struggling to push ahead with pledges of reform.

The unstable country's politics remain overshadowed by Kabila, who amassed extensive clout after 18 years in power.

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