Democratic Republic of Congo’s prime minister protested on Sunday over the brief arrest of the justice minister, saying the coalition government could resign over the issue and calling on the president to guarantee cabinet members’ legal protections.
Justice Minister Celestin Tunda was detained by police on Saturday evening and released following several hours of questioning by prosecutors at the court of cassation, triggering a political storm within the ruling coalition.
“This serious and unprecedented incident is likely to weaken the stability and the harmonious functioning of institutions, and to cause the resignation of the government,” Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga said in a statement.
Tunda has clashed with President Felix Tshisekedi over judicial changes proposed by Tunda’s party that would give the justice ministry more control over criminal prosecutions. Opponents of the change say it would undermine the independence of the judiciary.
The disagreement has highlighted strains in the ruling coalition between Tshisekedi and allies of his long-serving predecessor, Joseph Kabila.
(With input from Reuters)