DR Congo names Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde new prime minister after power struggle

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Jean Michel Sama Lukonde.
Jean Michel Sama Lukonde.
Twitter/Kis24info

DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi on Monday named Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde Kyenge, head of the state mining giant Gecamines, as prime minister following a prolonged tussle for power with allies of his predecessor.

Sama Lukonde, 43, whose appointment was announced in a decree read on nationwide TV, succeeds Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, who was forced out after a coalition between supporters of Tshisekedi and former president Joseph Kabila broke down.

The months-long crisis was seeded in the outcome of elections in December 2018 that led to the first peaceful transition of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo's history.

Tshisekedi, the son of a veteran opposition leader, was declared the winner but was forced into a governing coalition with Kabila supporters who at the time wielded a huge majority in parliament.

Tensions boiled over last year when Tshisekedi declared that power-sharing was blocking his agenda for reform, vowing to seek a new majority in parliament.

In a series of moves, he won over many Kabila legislators, enabling him to force out Ilunga as well as the pro-Kabila speakers of the National Assembly and Senate.

A vast country the size of continental western Europe, the DRC has a notorious reputation for corruption, poor governance and inequality, despite its mineral riches.

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