The Prime Minister Of The Democratic Republic Of Congo Resigns: What Does This Show About Congo’s Government?

Introduction – What Happened?

 

The Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) resigned on January 30th 2021. The Prime Minister, called Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba and he resigned by writing a letter, which he submitted to the President, Félix Tshisekedi.

Mr Ilunga has been the head of a coalition cabinet for the past 15 months. A coalition is when two different political parties share government, usually because neither one of them has gained enough votes in the election to govern alone.

Mr Ilunga resigned because the MPs (people who sit in parliament and have a role in government) had passed a vote of no confidence against him.

What is a vote of no confidence? Why was this passed against Mr Ilunga?

 

A vote of no confidence is a vote showing that the majority of those in power do not support the policy of a leader. The vote of no confidence was passed against Mr Ilunga on January 28th 2021. Those who voted against him accused him of ‘inability’ to manage the country. The vote was passed by 367 votes to 7.

The vote of no confidence was passed because of a power struggle in the DRC’s politics. A power struggle is when two or more opposing groups challenge each other for the right to rule.

Mr Ilunga was an ally of the previous President, Joseph Kaliba. The supporters of Mr Kaliba have been sharing government (under the coalition) with the supporters of the current President, Félix Tshisekedi. The vote of no confidence against Mr Ilunga will therefore strengthen the current president, President Tshisekedi, against the previous president.

What are the effects of this on the politics of the DRC?

 

This will enable President Tshisekedi to govern more effectively. When Mr Tshisekedi came to power in 2018, he was forced to accept the coalition. This was because Mr Kaliba’s allies still controlled parliament. However, this limited his power. President Tshisekedi, often forced to compromise and bargain with Mr Kaliba over his policy decisions.

Important areas where Mr Tshisekedi and Mr Kaliba quarrelled:

–       Stopping violence in the East

–       Reforming the judiciary (the law courts)

–       Gaining financial aid from the World Bank (an organisation that tries to fight poverty)

Mr Ilunga’s resignation means that the President will no longer have to share power. Mr Tshisekedi will therefore be able to appoint his own supporters as ministers, giving him greater control over government. He will be able to carry out his policy without being blocked by Mr Kaliba’s supporters.

President Tshisekedi has not yet chosen the new prime minister, who will form the next government.

KATE DORKINS

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