President Felix Tshisekedi has appointed Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba as the new prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The appointment comes after a political agreement was reached between the Central African nation’s leader and his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.
According to an official biography released this week, Ilukamba who was previously a professor at the University of Kinshasa since 1979, has had a long political career that dates back to the 1970s.
Prior to his appointment to the office of the PM, the career politician, experienced public servant and technocrat, as well as an ally of Kabila, was the Secretary-General of Congo’s national railway company – the SNCC.
Having held a number of ministerial cabinet posts and serving in several government positions, Ilukamba was the finance minister under former President Mobutu Sese Seko, who for over three decades headed a corrupt administration.
The appointment comes almost five months after Tshisekedi was declared the winner of a delayed December 30 election which observers said was marred by irregularities and opponents denounced as rigged.
Since the inauguration of the new president, there have been disagreements over the selection of a Prime Minister and ultimately, the formation of a new government. As reported by the East African, the ex-president wanted Tshisekedi to appoint his other ally, Albert Yuma, the chairman of state mining company Gecamines. Albeit, the current leader disagreed due to Yuma’s history.
Moreover, as DRC’s constitution dictates, the candidate for the office of Prime Minister must come from the party with a parliamentary majority, while the president makes the final decision on who is appointed.
Going by the law, Ilukamba is from Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC), which dominated the December legislative elections by winning 342 of the 485 seats in the parliament.
A joint statement issued in March by Tshisekedi and Kabila which confirmed “their common will to govern together as part of a coalition government” is what led to the appointment of Ilukamba.