Congo-Kinshasa: Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba's Tall Order

The new Prime Minister has the uphill task of ensuring that ex-President Kabila and his successor, Felix Tshisekedi, work together.

Almost five months after Felix Tshisekedi won the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC's presidential vote of December 30, 2018 and was sworn in on January 24, 2019, the country now has a new Prime Minister. Dr Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba was on May 20, 2019 appointed to form the next government by President Felix Tshisekedi on the proposal of former President Joseph Kabila. He replaces Bruno Tshibala who served Kabila. Kabila's coalition holds the majority of seats in parliament, senate, provincial assemblies and governorship positions.

By law, the party with most deputies pro duces the Prime Minister. An economics lecturer and minister in a number of capacities under former President Mobutu Sese Seko, Ilunkamba was until recently head of the country's railways, SNCC SA. His immediate task is to form a government of national unity. The task is most likely to be tricky, given that his appointment took long. This was because horse trading between Kabila's Common Front for Congo, FCC coalition and Tshisekedi's CACH coalition, took almost five months! The new PM will therefore be expected to ensure that the delicate alliance between Tshisekedi and Kabila is not rocked.

The DRC has been fragmented after last December's general elections, with opposition candidate Martin Fayulu leading street protests against his "stolen" victory. Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba therefore has the arduous task of ensuring national reconciliation. Moreover, strengthening security, ensuring disarmament of armed groups, creating jobs and offering fillip to the economy, will go a long way to stabilise the beleaguered nation. And for all this to become reality, the new Prime Minister - alongside President Felix Tshisekedi - must work to improve relations with the Democratic Republic of Congo's nine neighbours.

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