New government as President exceeds term of office
Within minutes of his term of office expiring on Monday, President Joseph Kabila Kabange, promulgated a decree appointing a new government of ‘national unity’ which he hopes will survive until the new date for a general election of April 2018.
The new government includes Prime Minister Samy Badibanga Ntita, and 67 other members comprising three Deputy Prime Ministers, seven Ministers of State, 34 Ministers and 23 Vice –Ministers.
The three Deputy Prime Ministers are Leonard She Okitundu, Emmanuel Rarnazani Shadari, and José Makila and they will be responsible for Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration, Interior and Security and Transport and Communication.
The failure of the president to step down has created a major political crisis in the country and although some minor opposition parties have agreed to join a transitional government until the election in 2018 the major opposition parties are objecting to any continuation of the president’s mandate.
The result was an increase in anti-government demonstrations on Tuesday which led to at least twenty people being killed. The headquarters of the ruling party was burnt down and the internet service has been cut as part of a security clampdown.
President Kabila is the son of Laurent-Désiré Kabila who ruled the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) from 1997 until 2001. His son succeeded him eight days after his assassination on 16th January 2001 and has now completed his two permitted terms in office. However, a constitutional court ruled earlier this year that the president should stay in office until a successor was elected. Rather conveniently the electoral commission then said that it was not ready to hold elections for logistical and financial reasons and that an election couldn’t be held until 2018.