DR Congo appoints new prime minister

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Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa on January 24, 2019. He has appointed Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba, a career politician and ally of former President Joseph Kabila, as prime minister. PHOTO | AFP
Democratic Republic of the Congo President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa on January 24, 2019. He has appointed Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba, a career politician and ally of former President Joseph Kabila, as prime minister. PHOTO | AFP

Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba, a career politician and ally of former President Joseph Kabila, was appointed as Democratic Republic of Congo’s prime minister on Monday, the government said in a statement.

Ilukamba was previously the head of Congo’s national railway company, known as the SNCC, and has served in various government posts since the 1970s, according to an official biography released on Monday.

Felix Tshisekedi won long-delayed presidential elections in December 2018, defeating a candidate officially backed by Kabila, whose own term limit was up.

Opposition politicians say the result was rigged in a secret deal between Kabila’s and Tshisekedi’s camps under which Kabila would officially step down but maintain control, a charge they both denied.

Forming a new government has taken months, in part because of disagreements over the appointment of a Prime Minister. Kabila had wanted Tshisekedi to appoint Albert Yuma, a Kabila ally and chairman of state mining company Gecamines, but Tshisekedi refused because of Yuma’s checkered history, sources familiar with the matter said.

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