As Congo Siasa readers will know, the new cabinet was officially announced yesterday, comprising 2 deputy prime ministers, 25 ministers and 11 vice-ministers. I have pasted the cabinet below. Here are my first impressions:
Where is the opposition? While Prime Minister Matata had suggested that he was open to including the opposition in his cabinet, and after many diplomats had pushed Kabila to be conciliatory with the opposition, it seems like their entreaties made little difference. Perhaps the president realized that the opposition is relatively weak and divided, so he does not need to reach out to them for the moment. The strange exception seems to be Jean-Paul Nemoyato (now minister of economy), who elected for Gilbert Kiakwama's CDC party, which was in staunch opposition to Kabila.
Few big names: Very few heads of political parties made their way into government. For example, the head of the MSR party, Pierre Lumbi, which did well in elections, is nowhere to be seen. Instead his party, which is the third largest in the presidential coalition, is represented by a minister (civil service and agriculture) and a vice-minister (decentralization). Olivier Kamitatu is also absent, but his ARC party has at least one ministry (social and humanitarian affairs). On the other hand, some of the most powerful positions have gone to people who have been relatively unknown politically. For example, both deputy prime ministers are technocrats, with Daniel Mukoko having been UNDP's governance advisor for many years (before working as a technocrat in government), and Alexandre Luba having worked for the national security council.
The cabinet has shrunk: From 48 to 38 positions. This, along with the absence of opposition members and heavyweights, seems to contradict the impression that Kabila has emerged weakened from the elections. Rather, it seems like he doesn't feel the need to give too many concessions, either to his own allies or to the opposition.[view whole blog post ]