Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi has appointed Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde as Prime Minister.
Sama Lukonde Kyenge, aged 43, was until Monday the General Director of the state mining company Gécamines (General Quarries and Mines), the country’s mining flagship project, a position to which he was appointed by Tshisekedi in June 2019.
Lukonde was also once a sports minister and a former party member of the ex-Katanga governor and wealthy businessman Moïse Katumbi. He had switched allegiance from Katumbi to Tshisedi led the party in 2018.
Katumbi, who has in turn supported Tshisekedi in recent months, welcomed the appointment of the new Prime Minister, wishing him every success in his duties.
The largest country in sub-Saharan Africa with a turbulent political history, the DRC experienced its first peaceful transition at the top of the state on January 24, 2019, when former President Kabila handed over power to former opponent Felix Tshisekedi, who was declared the winner of the controversial presidential election of December 2018.
Tshisekedi, who took office in January 2019 but has been frustrated by a coalition government with Kabila’s allies, who won parliamentary majorities in the same election.
By controlling a majority in Parliament, President Tshisekedi would be able to nominate a cabinet of his choosing after two years in which Kabila’s allies have dominated the major ministries.
Tshisekedi now hopes to form a new majority in parliament by winning over members of Kabila’s coalition.