Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi has finally named veteran technocrat Prof Sylvestre Ilunkamba Ilunga as the prime minister but his choice has not only brought friction within the ruling coalition but also raised doubts among the opposition. First, Prof Ilunga, who has worked with former presidents Mobutu Sese Seko, Laurent Kabila and Joseph Kabila is seen as a frontman for the younger Kabila. Prince Buloko, a member of Congolese civil society, told The EastAfrican that Prof Ilunga will be likely to take orders from Mr Kabila and not President Tshisekedi, with the potential of derailing most of the reforms the new president had planned. Second, there is friction within the Common Front for the Congo (FCC) coalition of President Tshisekedi and former president Joseph Kabila the latter’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) is taking all leadership positions without considering smaller partners. Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo (AFDC) officials said Mr Kabila’s PPRD has taken the Speaker of the National Assembly, the PM and is now angling for the presidency of the Senate without considering other partners in the FCC Coalition. With only the Senatorial presidency remaining, Mike Nendaka of AFDC asserted that his party is the second largest political force in the country and deserve to be considered for one of the three leadership potions. In the opposition, Eve Bazaiba, the secretary general of Jean Pierre Bemba’s Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) expressed doubts about the ability of Prof Ilunga to bring change
For some Congolese who watched anxiously as the election was delayed amid sometimes deadly protests over Kabila’s extended stay in power, it will be enough to finally stand in line at polling stations and move on.
“The voting machine is not a big problem,” said Salomon Bagheni, a member of Beni’s civil society. “Use it or not, the essential thing is holding the elections on Dec. 23 to bring new leadership to this country.”
Congo’s deputy prime minister said on Saturday that tablet-like voting machines for December’s election had been made to order and will finish arriving this month, despite suspicions by diplomats and the opposition that they may enable fraud.
“A hundred and eighty containers from South Korea with the machines in them are on the sea,” Vice Prime Minister and Security Minister Henri Mova Sakanyi said in a statement, adding that 15 had already arrived and the rest would arrive by the end of October.
President Joseph Kabila is due to step down after 17 years in power after a long-delayed vote scheduled for Dec. 23 to choose his successor.