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Felix Tshisekedi audits his emergency program, troubles partners

By Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala, in Kinshasa
Posted on Wednesday, 12 February 2020 10:21

President Félix Tshisekedi with Vital Kamerhe on 23 November 2018. Ben Curtis/AP/SIPA

Félix Tshisekedi, suspecting misuse of the funds allocated for his 100-day emergency programme, ordered an audit of the flyover constructions sites in Kinshasa. The decision has weakened the alliance.

President Félix Tshisekedi’s 100-day emergency programme, launched on 2 March, has focused attention on the controversy surrounding the financial rigour of public works.

The Congolese President’s infrastructure programme, which also included the construction of several road-tunnel crossings, is worth $46m (41.1m euro) to relieve traffic congestion in Kinshasa.

The controversy over delays in the work prompted Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga to call an inter-ministerial meeting on Saturday, 8 February, with representatives of the Budget Office.

Delays in work and… increased expenditure

At the end of the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Jean-Baudoin Mayo Mambeke appealed to the Congolese people to remain patient.

“We ask the people of Congo to be patient. The reason why the leapfrogging has not evolved is because the finances were a bit difficult to manage,” he said, adding the government would immediately release $3.5m (3.2m euro), increasing that amount to $13.5m (12.4m euro) by May.

The deputy minister confidently reiterated “the [government’s] commitment to celebrate June 30 [60th anniversary of our independence, editor’s note] with the Kinshasa leapfrogging in place”.

The Council of Ministers, however, had already commissioned an audit on the funds allocated for the construction of these works, underlining that the Executive is taking the matter seriously.

Jean-Marc Kabund, interim president of the UDPS (an ally within the Cach coalition), was not so confident, and used the opportunity to severely criticise Vital Kamerhe, the chief of staff of the head of state, who had initially denied any delay in the work. Kabun made site visits on Thursday, 6 February.

The financial rigour of the executive in question

Behind these delays and accusations, a new snag in the Cach coalition between the UDPS and the UNC has emerged.

“The 100-day programme is a way of showing the way forward, but it did not pretend to solve all the country’s infrastructure problems,” said Nicolas Kazadi, Ambassador-at-Large of the President of the Republic and former coordinator of the project.

The emergency program as a whole (not just infrastructure) has already spent $422m (386.4m euro), way beyond the $304m (278.4m euro) originally allocated in August 2019.

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