DRC: Political crisis as Tshisekedi moves to dissolve ruling coalition
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi has sparked a political crisis in the volatile country after moving to dissolve the ruling coalition government.
Tshisekedi replaced former president Joseph Kabila in 2018 in the DRC’s first peaceful transition of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960. But his supporters insist the ruling FCC coalition and Kabila’s retained influence restrain Tshisekedi from implementing the political change they want to see in their country.
Tshisekedi moces to dissolve ruling coalition
With Tshisekedi’s authority coming under constant scrutiny since he replaced Joseph Kabila in 2018, the president on Sunday suggested that he could dissolve the ruling coalition or hold fresh elections to form a new coalition.
The FCC on Monday responded by calling Tshisekedi’s suggestion “a flagrant and intentional breach of the constitution” and reminding the president that FCC holds more than 300 seats in the DRC’s 500-seat parliament.
Analysts suggest Tshisekedi may have a difficult time generating enough support to legitimise any power shift and his success could hang on gaining the support of key figures, including Jean-Pierre Bemba, Modeste Bahati, and Moise Katumbi.
Tshisekedi has said that, should he fail to create a new coalition, he could call for fresh elections and allow the “sovereign people” to choose their leaders. However, this opens up another problem for Tshisekedi: the fact that he didn’t win the 2018 election outright himself and the fact that he was seen as a puppet replacement for Kabila before voters even entered the polling booths.
Kabila’s power of influence remains large in the DRC, after ruling for more than 18 years, and the former president retains the support of the national army – as well as the FCC majority.
Before Tshisekedi even assumed office in 2018, it was expected his success would largely depend on not opposing Kabila too much during his time in office – predictions that could be put to the test.
Featured image: “Africa CEO Forum | Kigali, 26 March 2019” flickr photo by Paul Kagame https://flickr.com/photos/paulkagame/33596221678 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license