Congo-Kinshasa: DR Congo Govt Surprises With Cabinet Reshuffle Months Before Polls

Jean-Pierre Bemba
24 March 2023

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Félix Tshisekedi, announced a Cabinet reshuffle on the evening of Thursday, March 23.

Among the new heavyweights is Jean-Pierre Bemba, former prime minister from 2003-2006. The former warlord 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. He'd served ten years.

Bemba is now Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence in a country that has been struggling with armed violence for nearly 30 years in its eastern region.

The DR Congo is at the peak of tension with its neighbor Rwanda, accusing them of supporting the rebels of the M23 who occupied large swaths of the province of North Kivu since 2022.

Another official staging a comeback is Vital Kamerhe, former chief of staff for President Tshisekedi. In 2020 he was sentenced to 20 years in jail for embezzlement, but was acquitted on appeal in 2022. Kamerhe is now in charge of the economy and also a deputy prime minister - one of five deputy prime ministers.

A reshuffle was imminent for three months, after the resignation at the end of December of three ministers who are associated with businessman Moïse Katumbi, who has made public his intention to run against the ruling coalition in the next presidential elections.

Translated from RFI by Allafrica's Michael Tantoh

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