- Title: DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Congo keeps mines, finance ministers in new cabinet
- Date: 28th October 2008
- Summary: HEADLINE
- Embargoed: 12th November 2008 12:00
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAF3WPRZQDWETVLJBW97F5VB7MN
- Story Text: DR Congo's president, Joseph Kabila has named a new cabinet but has kept key mines and finance ministers in their posts.
Democratic Republic of Congo created new senior defence and reconstruction posts in a new government named on Sunday, (October 26) but other key portfolios such as mines and finance were unchanged, state television said.
A decree from President Joseph Kabila read out on TV named a new defence minister and created a new post of deputy prime minister for defence and security, bolstering the focus on security on a day eastern rebels launched a fresh offensive, capturing the headquarters of Virunga National Park, home to 200 of the world's 700 mountain gorillas.
Mutombo Bakafua Nsenda, previously justice minister, was named deputy prime minister for defence and security, while the former transport minister, Charles Mwando Simba, was appointed defence minister.
The reshuffle was triggered by the resignation last month of Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga.
Gizenga, who stepped down shortly before his 83rd birthday, had been named prime minister two years ago after Congo's first free elections in more than 40 years, in which he backed Kabila in a presidential run-off after coming third in the first round.
Adolphe Muzito, who was budget minister in Gizenga's previous cabinet and is a member of Gizenga's Unified Lumumbist Party (PALU), was appointed prime minister on October 10 but negotiations to form the new cabinet have dragged on.
"We have a new prime minister Muzito. We are hoping that a lot of things will change with him at the head of government. He will improve many things, the roads will be cleaner and Congo will conquer,"
said Junior Kimfundu, a Kinshasa Resident.
The number of ministries rose to 37 from 33, partly due to the separation of portfolios previously such as foreign affairs and cooperation, which are now two separate ministries. Eight ministers in total remained in the same jobs.
Kinshasa residents expressed their support for the new cabinet but some people said that this was a trial period for the country's leaders who will have to face the electorate in 2011's poll.
"We think that they need to win, because they are half way in their mandate. All the unresolved issues have now come to light, they have to do all they can for 2011. They have no choice, they either fail or succeed," said A C Minanude, another Kinshasa resident.
"We are counting on them, we hope that their collaboration with the president of the republic, things will move forward," added Jeanne, a Kinshasa resident.
Francois-Joseph Nzanga Mobutu, son of late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and agriculture minister in Gizenga's cabinet, was named deputy prime minister for social needs.
Emile Bongeli, previously communications minister, was named deputy prime minister for reconstruction, a potentially important role in a country devastated by a 1998-2003 war that dragged six foreign armies into a fight over Congo's mineral riches.
Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu, as well as his powerful deputy Victor Kasongo, retained their posts.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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