Search is on for DR Congo’s ‘next’ Prime Minister

Search is on for DR Congo’s ‘next’ Prime Minister

Current Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Prime Minister, Augustin Matata Ponyo, may be on his way out and may not be part of the soon-to-be announced government of national unity, according to various media reports and sources close to the ruling PPRD.

The government of national unity – known here as government of national cohesion – is an initiative of DRC President Joseph Kabila that will include members of various opposition forces.

This government is believed to be put in place to solve the political crisis that has been choking this nation of 80 million people since the 2011 elections.

Kabila might have succeeded to ‘crush’ the M23 rebellion with the help of the United Nations ‘blue helmets’, but he has been unable to unite the deeply-divided country torn apart by the 2011 hotly-contested presidential elections that put him back in power.

And now Ponyo, a close ally of the president, is about to be ‘sacrified’ in the sake of national reconciliation. “Yes, he will definitely not head the next government,” a reliable source told Moon of the South by telephone from the capital Kinshasa.

“It’s a pity because he has been doing well as a PM,” the source added.

Ponyo, a University of Kinshasa-trained economist, has been praised by various circles for putting the country’s ailing economy back on track. DRC’s ‘small’ economy is set to grow by 8.7% in 2014, according to official statistics.

But Ponyo’s critics disagree, saying he is a lame duck PM lacking the political clout to lead a crisis and conflict-hit country of such magnitude. Ponyo’s enemies, some of whom are believed to have been lobbying for his sacking in the past year or so, are reportedly happy to quickly see the back of his head

While the opposition is said to have been putting pressure to get this post, which is unlikely to happen in the current hostile economic climate, France-based Afrikarabia reported this week that Kabila could finally decide to name a member of his ruling party.

The favourite candidate is none other than Parliament Speaker Aubin Minaku, followed by PPRD President Evariste Boshab, Afrikarabia said, adding that others include Albert Yuma, one of DRC’s richest men and Ponyo’s fierce critic, as well as Jean-Claude Masangu, economist and former Central Bank boss.

Despite Kabila’s good gesture to smoke the peace pipe with the opposition, the country’s main opposition political party UDPS and his popular president, veteran politician Etienne Tshisekedi, say they will not be part of any government as long as Kabila remains the head of state .

Photo: DR Congo ‘outgoing’ PM Augustin Matata Ponyo. Credit: C Rigaud/Afrikarabia

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