Updates on Tshisekedi’s DRC

A heavyset Congolese man in a suit standing in front of a blue background

(Photo source: Daily Maverick)

There’s been a lot going on in the DRC since Félix Tshisekedi came to power in a transparently rigged election.  Here are a few key updates.

Ex-president Joseph Kabila is technically out of the picture, but behind the scenes he still holds a lot of authority.  Members of his Front Commun pour le Congo alliance won 80 of the 100 seats in the Senate, which is the upper house of Parliament.  Tshisekedi initially refused to seat the Senate at all, ostensibly over allegations of vote-buying, but eventually backed down.  However, Tshisekedi did win a victory in turning down Kabila’s preferred candidate for Prime Minister, a former head of the state mining company named Albert Yuma.  The PM position is still vacant one month later.

Meanwhile, Tshisekedi’s political allies are complaining that they’re not being given enough government jobs.  Martin Fayulu, who appears to have been the real winner of the election, has been sidelined and is touring Europe speaking as the country’s “president-elect.”  In an interesting development, Tshisekedi’s government has dropped an investigation into opposition leader Moïse Katumbi which was preventing him from returning to the country.  Katumbi supported Fayulu, which makes this sudden leniency a surprise.

In other news, Tshisekedi’s been focusing on improving Kinshasa’s infrastructure during his first 100 days in office.  A number of armed groups in the east have recently surrendered, although this probably doesn’t indicate coming drops in overall levels of violence.  Mistrust of the medical system has led to major setbacks in attempts to contain the Ebola epidemic in the east, although the use of a new vaccine against the disease does show promise.

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