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DRC’s Tshisekedi holds coalition talks with predecessor Kabila1 minute read

According to provisional results, Kabila’s supporters won 337 out of the parliament’s 485. Tshisekedi’s own party only garnered 32 seats.

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DR Congo's outgoing President Joseph Kabila (L) embraces newly inaugurated President Felix Tshisekedi - AFP

DR Congo’s recently elected president, Felix Tshisekedi, held talks on Sunday with his predecessor Joseph Kabila on forming a coalition government, a source in Kabila’s entourage told AFP.

The talks would open the way to naming a prime minister who would form a coalition government to run the country, a member of Kabila’s entourage, who asked not to be identified, said.

Kabila, although no longer president, is head of the majority group in the National Assembly of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The talks were confirmed by the Tshisekedi’s office, which said the two men met at the president’s residence and “even shared a meal in a family atmosphere”.

According to provisional results, Kabila’s supporters won 337 out of the parliament’s 485 seats in the December 30 election, which took place on the same day as the disputed presidential vote that brought Tshisekedi to power.

Tshisekedi‘s own Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) only garnered 32 seats in the incoming National Assembly.

The prime minister’s post, for the moment, remains vacant until the next government can be formed.

Tshisekedi’s election marked DR Congo’s first peaceful change of power since its independence from Belgium in 1960.

He took over from Kabila who had held the presidency for 18 years.

The talks on forming a coalition come after the runner-up in the presidential election last week proposed staging the poll again within six months.

In a letter to the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Martin Fayulu restated his allegation that the vote result had been rigged.

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East Africa looks to end illicit gold trade

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Countries in the East Africa region are discussing the adoption of stringent traceability mechanisms for the gold industry to stamp out rampant smuggling across East and Central Africa to overseas buyers particularly in Asia.


Mining officials from the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) countries are in negotiations and are meeting next month to discuss the body’s Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Strategy which calls for harmonisation of gold export procedures including taxation and traceability and certification.


The ICGLR wants its member countries to adopt the strategy by mid-this year.


According to the director of Democracy and good Governance at ICGLR, Ambeyi Ligabo, It is disheartening to see so much gold being smuggled from the DR Congo through its neighbouring countries while much attention over the past 10 years has focused on implementing traceability for tin, tungsten and tantalum (Three Ts) in which little has been done in terms of monitoring the flow of gold in the region.


Mr Ligabo also revealed they have agreed that it is crucial to implement the ICGLR guidelines on gold trade because the region’s image has been smeared by smuggling. We hope they speed up the process so these guidelines are affected by March this year.


Rwanda’s efforts to boost gold exports has been hampered by constant reports that the country serves as a route through which gold is smuggled out of the DR Congo to overseas buyers. The government is firm that all its gold is traded legitimately.

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Teodorin Obiang faces $30 million corruption fine

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A French court has ruled against Teodorin Obiang Nguema, Vice president of Equatorial Guinea, in a year – long embezzlement process launched by a group of anti-corruption NGOs
Obiang was ordered to pay a $32.9 million fine. He also faces a suspended jail term of three years after a lower court found him guilty on a range of charges relating to graft and money
laundering.
Additionally, the Paris appeals court confirmed the seizure of his property, including a six-level mansion in Paris which had been valued at €107 million in 2012.

According to Marc-Andre Feffer of Transparency International France, the ruling is an important moment.
Obiang has appealed to the International Court of Justice, arguing that his residence should be protected as a diplomatic building. A hearing on the issue has been scheduled in The Hague next week.
His legal team has one final option for appeal left — they could challenge the Monday verdict before the Cour de Cassation, France’s highest appeals court for criminal cases.

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DRC’s artisanal monopoly to seek private partner

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A new state company set up by the Democratic Republic of Congo to manage the country’s artisanally mined cobalt could seek a private partner if the state does not have the funds to purchase all production, according to the country’s minister of mines, Willy Kitobo Samsoni.

DRC currently produces about 60% of the world’s cobalt. Most of which is extracted by industrial operators like Glencore and China Molybdenum, with artisanal miners accounting for about a quarter of output.

The country recently granted the new company a monopoly to purchase and market all cobalt that is not mined industrially in an effort to exert greater influence over prices.

According to Samsoni, the easiest way out is to be financed by the Congolese state, but if the state cannot raise the funds to buy all the artisanally mined cobalt, it will then have to enter into partnership with a company.

He also adds that plans for talks with financiers are on ground.

Samsoni further adds that the new company, Entreprise Generale du Cobalt (EGC) will be managed independently by state mining company,Gecamines.

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