Southern African News Features                                           SANF 07 No 11, February 2007
Kabila names coalition government for DRC
by Joseph Ngwawi

President Joseph Kabila has formed a new government giving key positions to parties that supported him in last yearís crucial second round presidential polls.

The new government will be headed by veteran opposition politician, Antoine Gizenga, who was named prime minister at the end of 2006 under a power-sharing deal in return for backing Kabilaís candidacy during his run-off presidential election.

Gizengaís Unified Lumumbist Party (PALU) got four posts in the Cabinet announced on 5 February, including the key ministries of mines and justice.

Martin Kabwelulu will oversee the development of the mining sector while Georges Minsay Booka will be in charge of the justice portfolio.

The mines portfolio gives PALU considerable control over the economy of mineral-rich DRC. The country is home to some of the worldís largest deposits of diamonds, copper and cobalt. It was the fourth largest producer of industrial diamonds in the 1980s and the mineral continues to account for over half of its annual exports.

Another PALU supporter, Adolphe Muzito, will be a minister of state in the prime ministerís office responsible for administration of the budget.

The new 60-member post-war Cabinet also saw Francois Joseph Nzanga Mobutu, son of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, named as agriculture minister, and Mbusa Nyamwisi coming in as minister of foreign affairs.

A former rebel leader, Nyamwisi was minister of regional cooperation in the previous transitional government that oversaw the holding of the DRCís first democratic elections in July and October 2006.

Mobutu and Nyamwisi were among the 32 presidential candidates who contested against Kabila in the first round of polls on 30 July, but they endorsed the 35-year-old Congolese leaderís candidature in the second round where he faced the challenge of Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Pierre Lumbi was assigned the key position of Minister of Reconstruction whose portfolio will be responsible for infrastructure development and public works.

Kabila ensured that the key finance, interior, and information ministries remain in the hands of his loyalists.

Athanase Matenda, a key figure in the Alliance for Presidential Majority (APM) that backed Kabila in the presidential run-off, was given the finance ministry while Denis Kalume Numbi retained the interior ministry.

Forty ministerial posts were awarded to members of the APM.

The defence and information portfolios were given to Chikez Diemu and Toussaint Tshilombo Send, respectively.

Diemu was the first secretary-general of Kabilaís own party, the Peopleís Party for Reconstruction and Development.

The new government has nine women and includes six ministers of state, 34 full ministers and 20 deputy ministers.

There was, however, no Cabinet position for Bemba, a former warlord who came second behind Kabila in last yearís presidential vote.

Bemba initially challenged the results and his militia clashed with Kabilaís forces before he eventually backed down and accepted the outcome. He later won a seat in the senate.

The appointment of the Cabinet came 10 weeks after presidential election results were announced on 15 November 2006 and two months after Kabila was sworn in as the DRCís first democratically elected leader in more than four decades.

The government faces the challenge of consolidating current macroeconomic reforms, as well as ensuring a general improvement in infrastructure and a return to normalcy in all spheres of life.

The return to sustainable peace will strengthen the DRCís ability to exploit its vast mineral and other resources in a more sustainable and equitable manner.

(sardc.net)

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SANF is produced by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC), which has monitored regional developments since 1985

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