DR Congo sacks more than 250 magistrates

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Democratic Republic of Congo's President Joseph Kabila addresses the nation [Photo- Reuters]

President Joseph Kabila has cracked the whip on unbefitting individuals who work at the judiciary. On Monday, 250 magistrates who did not have a law degree or were accused of corruption were sent packing.

Through a televised event Justice Minister Alexis Thambwe said President Joseph Kabila has “sanctioned more than 200 individuals who do not fulfill the conditions to function as magistrates.”

Press reports indicate 256 people were either suspended or sacked.  Two others resigned while another was put on retirement.

The sprawling country counts some 4,000 magistrates.

“One cannot enter the judiciary with the objective of making money,” the justice minister said, describing the targeted individuals as “adventurers” who entered the judiciary without a law degree or others who took bribes to deliver a favourable ruling.

“It is evident that there are other magistrates who escaped this dragnet,” he said, adding that a law would be introduced to raise the bar for aspiring magistrates.

This is not the first time that President Kabila has taken such action against the judiciary. In 2009, he sacked 96 judges accused of corruption, a scourge in the mineral-rich country, including within the government.

Thambwe Mwamba also rapped the slow judicial system and said arrests and detentions were used as “an instrument of intimidation and terror against the accused to strip them of their assets

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