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Mar 24, 2023
Congo President Appoints Former Militia Leader as Defense Chief
(Bloomberg) -- Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi appointed a new government as he prepares to fight elections in December.
Tshisekedi named former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba as vice prime minister of defense, and ex-Chief of Staff Vital Kamerhe as vice prime minister of the economy, according to a statement read on national television by Tshisekedi’s spokeswoman, Tina Salama. The ministers of mines, finance, environment, foreign affairs and hydrocarbons all remained in their posts, she said.
Bemba, a former rebel leader, was runner-up to Joseph Kabila in Congo’s 2006 presidential election, the country’s first in 40 years. He was acquitted by the International Criminal Court in 2018 for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Central African Republic by his Movement for the Liberation of Congo rebels in 2002-03. He was convicted in 2018 at the ICC for obstructing justice, fined and sentenced to a year in prison.
Kamerhe, a previous National Assembly president and presidential candidate, was acquitted of corruption charges on appeal last year after spending two years in prison.
Congo is the world’s biggest cobalt producer and Africa’s biggest miner of copper.
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