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Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi reshuffles the army and the judiciary amid a political crisis
By on July 21, 2020
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Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi reshuffles the army and the judiciary amid a political crisis
Experts are dubious about the effectiveness of these changes.
The most significant information that emerged from the many changes made by the Congolese president in the military apparatus is the removal of General John Numbi. Until then Inspector General of the FARDC, the Congolese armed forces, Numbi had been Joseph Kabila's confidante. He's under American and European sanctions since 2016, for alleged violations of human rights involving the killings of civilians, use of rape as a weapon of war, mutilations and summary executions... The Congolese president also announced the lifting of the COVID19 state of emergency. All vital activities will return back to normal, but Churches will remain closed until August 15, 2020. Félix Tshisekedi signals he wants to regain control of the army and the justice system in a country ravaged by a civil war and scarred by civilian killings and lawlessness. The Congolese president has appointed new officials to posts hitherto held by personalities loyal to former president Kabila without consultation with the Prime Minister Ilunga Ilunkamba, a member of the FCC, Kabila's party. Ilunga Ilunkamba has expressed his disagreement regarding the reshuffle, while the vice Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Gilbert Kankonde agrees with the president. Since taking office in January 2019, Félix Tshisekedi has not sought to change the command of the congolese army as he has been able to do vis-à-vis civilian institutions. But today, although cautious, this change made by the Congolese president proves his change of strategy. For Christoph Vogel, researcher specializing in the Congo and former member of the UN group of experts on the DRC, opinions are divided on the challenges of this reshuffle within the army. Tshisekedi has thus sidelined Army General John Numbi who is the subject of US and European sanctions. John Numbi was replaced as Inspector General of the Army by General Gabriel Amisi, also under sanctions from the European Union. The new Inspector General of the Armed Forces, Gabriel Amisi, will have General Muhindo Akili Mundos as deputy, also under European Union sanctions. Both will be kept away from field operations. These appointments come in the midst of a political crisis within the ruling FCC-CACH coalition. Will this new organization be solid enough to support a new defense governance. Experts remain dubious. People are waiting to see if this will bring real change in military governance. There are several generals who have been withdrawn from operations and given new, more administrative positions, including inspection. The president's other battle, according to those around him, is control of the judiciary. Here too, Félix Tshisekedi made several changes, in particular within the Constitutional Court.


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Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi reshuffles the army and the judiciary amid a political crisis

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