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DRC: Tshisekedi can now plot his moves ahead of 2023 polls

By Romain Gras
Posted on Wednesday, 2 June 2021 17:37

Financing of African Economies summit in Paris
President of DRC Felix Tshisekedi in Paris, France May 18, 2021. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Five months after ending his coalition with former president Joseph Kabila, DRC’s President Felix Tshisekedi has a new government. This should allow him to prepare for the 2023 election as well as make up time lost during the two years of laborious collaboration with his predecessor. Already halfway through his term, this seems like an immense task and time is running out.

Did Tshisekedi really believe that the building could collapse as quickly as it had been erected? In mid-April, the day after the new government was announced, the Union Sacrée, which was the mega-coalition that he had set up four months previously, was having to contend with a lot of disappointed members.

After several weeks of intense negotiations, 56 ministers of Sama Lukonde Kyenge’s proposed government were retained. As expected, many of them were rejected, some of whom had already prepared their acceptance speech. A rebellion was already being organised, led mostly by members of the alliance Front Commun pour le Congo (FCC). This clique of “revolutionaries” was demanding a reorganisation of the government as they felt that they had been shortchanged given the crucial rule they had played in overthrowing Kabila’s government.

Behind the scenes, concern was mounting and Tshisekedi was working to clear the air. “At this stage, if we include the rebels and the opposition, this government has no chance of succeeding,” said a worried heavyweight within the coalition the day after an exchange with the head of state.