The list of the new team was made public on Thursday night, and, like the old government, the new one has 57 ministers.
In the sweeping changes, the Congolese head of state has put a new command at the country’s defence and security docket.
Tshisekedi has appointed his ally Bemba the deputy prime minister for Defence. The former vice president was detained for over 10 years for war crimes. He was acquitted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2018 after spending 11 years in custody. He was arrested in Belgium on a war crimes warrant from the ICC in relation to the ravaging war the rocked Congo and the neighbouring Central African Republic.
Peter Kazadi becomes the deputy prime minister for Interior and Security replacing Daniel Aselo. Mbusa Nyamwisi, another former warlord who has extensive knowledge of the eastern part of the DRC where he is originally from, has been appointed minister for Regional Integration.
The government reshuffle is seen as Tshisekedi’s attempt to breathe a new life into his defence policy amid rising insecurity in the provinces of Maï Ndombe and Kwilu, west of Congo, but more importantly in the eastern part of the country where the entire Great Lakes region hopes to see the war going on there come to an end and rebels withdraw from conquered localities by March 31, the date set for the rebels to cede all ground to the troops of the East African Community Regional Force.
The reshuffle has also seen the return of Vital Kamerhe to the management of public affairs. The former Director of Cabinet in Tshisekedi’s administration has been appointed the deputy prime minister for Economy. He had earlier been removed from Tshisekedi’s government then jailed for nearly two years for corruption and embezzlement, before being acquitted.
Journalist François Kabulo has been appointed the ministry for Sports. He will be tasked with restoring the prestige of Congolese sports a few months before the Francophonie games which are scheduled for July this year in the DRC.