Democratic Republic of Congo President Felix Tshisekedi will form a new governing majority as tension fosters between his ruling party and political allies of his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.
The political tensions have left the country in what Tshisekedi refers to as a state of “persistent crisis.”
Tsishekedi’s new move was announced in a nationwide broadcast on Sunday, and is his latest attempt to break with Kabila, whose supporters still control the Senate and the National Assembly, as well as most provincial assemblies and governorships.
The two long-time opponents formed a governing coalition after a disputed election in 2018, in which another opposition politician, Martin Favulu, initially claimed victory.
The coalition “has not succeeded in avoiding a situation of persistent crisis and unacceptable distrust between the republic’s institutions,” Tshisekedi said. “The current parliamentary majority having crumbled, a new majority is needed.”
He also decried how the crisis has hurt the government’s efforts to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Tensions between the two Tshisekedi and his predecessor came to a head in October when three judges considered loyal to the president were installed in the country’s top court. Kabila’s supporters called the appointments unconstitutional and boycotted the inauguration.
After the bitter judicial fight, Tshisekedi launched several weeks of consultations with political, religious and civil society leaders inside and outside the country to rally support.
“These consultations highlighted, by an overwhelming majority, the rejection of the coalition” currently governing the country, the president said.
Tshisekedi’s attempt to create a parliamentary majority marks a new phase in the battle for control of the government between the current and former president, Fred Bauma of the Congo Research Group at New York University said by text message from Goma in eastern Congo.
“We are far from seeing the end of the political crisis,” he said.
Last week, leaders from both the United Nations and African Union urged Congo’s government to resolve the political impasse peacefully, with the chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, meeting with both Tshisekedi and Kabila in the capital, Kinshasa.