Lawmakers pass a motion of no confidence against the prime minister, collapsing the government amid a power struggle.
Lawmakers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) voted to impeach Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, collapsing the government and giving President Félix Tshisekedi a chance to appoint worshipers to key ministries.
Wednesday’s vote marks the latest episode in a power struggle that has rocked the largest nation in sub-Saharan Africa for months, pitting Tshisekedi against the loyalists of former President Joseph Kabila, who ruled the DRC for 18 years.
Last month, Tshisekedi decided to end a coalition formed with Kabila that has limited his authority since taking office in January 2019.
This culminated in Wednesday’s vote of no confidence against the prime minister, one of the last vestiges of Kabila’s grip on the government. It was adopted with 367 votes out of 377.
Under the DRC’s constitution, parliamentary censorship requires the prime minister to resign within 24 hours.
“One of my missions is to control the executive which, if it does not respond to the concerns of the people, should be removed from office,” the deputy and author of the censure motion told Reuters news agency. , Cherubin Okende.
Kabila’s allies, including Ilunga, boycotted the vote, saying the interim speaker of parliament lacked the constitutional authority to oversee a no-confidence motion.
Tshisekedi’s new political alliance, known as the Sacred Union, has yet to be formally formed, but will likely be made up of more than 20 parties, giving him an overwhelming majority to pass legislation.
However, political analysts say Tshisekedi might also find it difficult to juggle the competing interests of his coalition.
Tshisekedi won a controversial presidential election in December 2018 on a platform promising to fight corruption, reduce inequality and improve government.
But he says his reform campaign has been thwarted by Kabila’s lieutenants, who represent two-thirds of the vast 65-member coalition government.
At only 49 despite his 18 years in power, Kabila retains his influence thanks to his allies in politics, the army and business.
He took charge of the DRC in 2001, succeeding his father, Laurent-Désiré Kabila, assassinated by a bodyguard.
The reign of young Kabila has been sharply criticized for corruption and bad governance.
But it ended peacefully when he resigned, during the DRC’s first bloodless transition since its independence from Belgium in 1960.