The Democratic Republic of Congo announced a coalition government Monday, seven months after the inauguration of new President Felix Tshisekedi.
“The government is finally here. The president has signed the decree and we will begin work soon,” Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga told reporters before the members of the new government were announced by the president’s spokesman.
The power-sharing agreement will see 23 members of the executive drawn from Tshisekedi’s Direction For Change, and the remaining 42 from former president Joseph Kabila’s Common Front for Congo.
Kabila presided over sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country for nearly two decades and still commands widespread support. Forming the coalition had taken time as both sides had to “remove everything that could be an obstacle to the functioning of the government”, said Ilunga.
The executive will have a female vice prime minister, minister for foreign affairs and minister for planning, Ilunga said. Around three-quarters of members were serving in government for the first time, he added, hailing this as an “important innovation”.
Tshisekedi emerged victorious in elections that marked the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first peaceful transition of power since the mineral-rich nation gained independence from Belgium in 1960. The country’s politics remain overshadowed by Kabila, who amassed extensive clout after 18 years in power.
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ADF rebels claim lives in Democratic Republic of Congo
Between 10 and 21 civilians were killed in two attacks by a notorious ADF militia in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where government forces have vowed to root out armed groups, sources said Wednesday.
Seven people were killed in the city of Beni and between three and 14 were killed near Oicha, 30 kilometres (18 miles) away, according to the UN radio Okapi, which quoted the military, and local civil society.
The attacks late Tuesday were blamed on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a militia of Ugandan origin targeted by an army campaign to restore peace to DR Congo’s troubled east.
At least 60 people have been killed by the ADF since the offensive began on October 30, according to a toll compiled by reporters.
Commentators see the massacres as warnings to the local population against collaborating with government forces.
The city of Beni was last targeted by the ADF in October 2018.
The latest attacks sparked an exodus in the Beni district of Boikene and in the Mavete district of Oichi.
Protests erupted against poor security, and members of the UN peacekeeping force, MONUSCO, were advised not to go out on the streets of Beni.
The ADF’s historical roots lie in Islamist Ugandans opposed to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
The group has plagued the North Kivu region bordering Uganda since the Congo Wars in the 1990s, although its membership has since broadened to non-Ugandans and it has not carried out an attack on Uganda for years.
Hundreds of deaths have been attributed to the shadowy organisation since 2015.
The so-called Islamic State group has claimed some of the attacks ascribed to the ADF this year, but there is no clear evidence of any affiliation between the two groups.
Rebels in DR Congo kill 14 civilians in revenge for army offensives
Assailants in DR Congo have killed 14 civilians in revenge for army offensives against Ugandan rebel strongholds in the east of the country,
Assailants in DR Congo have killed 14 civilians in revenge for army offensives against Ugandan rebel strongholds in the east of the country, a local official said on Saturday.
The latest killings, which occurred in the night from Friday to Saturday, take the total number of those killed in revenge attacks in the past two weeks to more than 30.
The attacks took place in two locations in the Beni region of the North Kivu province where the Congolese army last month announced an offensive to root out insurgents belonging to the Islamist-inspired rebel group the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) — a militia of Ugandan origin that has long operated in the border region.
Beni administrator Donat Kibwana said the attackers used machetes and knives and were believed to have gone on to loot shops and homes.
The army said on October 30 it had launched “large-scale operations”, including shelling and troop deployments, aimed at ridding the area of armed groups.
But the civilian death toll in ADF attacks has been rising, and residents have accused the army of focusing their efforts on the wrong areas.
“It’s a complicated situation because the population is the target of ADF revenge attacks against army operations,” said Teddy Kataliko, president of the Beni Civil Society.
The ADF, which has been present in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1995, is accused of having killed hundreds or even thousands of civilians in the Beni region in the past five years.
The Islamic State jihadist group has claimed some of the ADF’s recent attacks but there is no clear evidence of any affiliation between them.
Angolan parliament suspends ex-President’s daughter, Welwitschia dos Santos
Nicknamed “Tchize”, Welwitschia was elected to parliament in 2008 and joined the central committee of the ruling MPLA in 2016
Angola’s parliament has suspended a daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos for “unjust enrichment” as his successor seeks to crack down on nepotism past and present.
Dos Santos appointed several family members to key economic and political positions during his 38-year rule, which ended after he stepped down in September 2017.
Welwitschia dos Santos, nicknamed “Tchize”, was elected to parliament in 2008 and joined the central committee of the ruling Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) in 2016.
The National Assembly late on Tuesday voted to suspend Welwitschia — one of the ex-president’s six children — from parliament, saying her absenteeism from the body amounted to “unjust enrichment”.
Tchize, the former president’s second daughter, moved to Britain last year after claiming Angola’s secret services were threatening her.
Lower profile than her half-sister Isabel — a billionaire businesswoman appointed to head the state oil company during her father’s reign — Tchize was an influential figure in Angolan media and controlled one of the country’s leading advertising agencies.
From Britain, Tchize has repeatedly used WhatsApp to blast her father’s successor Joao Lourenco.
In her latest recording, she accused parliament of political persecution and claimed she did not choose to leave Angola.
“I had to flee because I was being threatened with death by the MPLA,” Tchize said via WhatsApp on Tuesday.
“I am completely censured by public press and even by most private media (outlets) controlled by people linked to the regime,” she added.
The MPLA had already threatened to suspend Tchize’s mandate in May for spending more than 90 consecutive days abroad.
Lourenco has launched a large-scale purge of the administration and public companies, mainly targeting dos Santos’ relatives.
The President dismissed Isabel dos Santos from her position as chair of state oil company Sonangol two months after he took office.
Her brother, Jose Filomeno who was appointed in 2013 by his father as head of Angola’s sovereign fund, was also dismissed from his post in January 2018.
Most members of the dos Santos family have moved abroad.
Lourenco is struggling to wean Angola’s economy off of oil, which accounts for one-third of the country’s GDP and more than 90 per cent of exports.
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