Congo’s Tshisekedi Appoints New PM, Further Sidelining Kabila

CONGO President Felix Tshisekedi on Monday appointed the head of the state mining company Sama Lukonde Kyenge as the new prime minister, capping a series of victories for Tshisekedi over his once-dominant predecessor Joseph Kabila.

Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, a close confident of Kabila, resigned from the post on Jan. 28 following a vote of no confidence in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s parliament.

The appointment of Lukonde, director general of Gecamines and an ally of the president, should help Tshisekedi install a more loyal cabinet to push through his agenda.

In December, Tshisekedi announced he wanted to break free of a power-sharing deal with Kabila he entered in the aftermath of a widely disputed election just over two years ago.

The awkward alliance, which forced Tshisekedi to bargain with his predecessor over any policy shift, added to challenges facing his government, such as corruption and spiralling violence in the mineral-rich east.

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