President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) this week met with Joseph Kabila, the former president and current leader of the FCC political coalition, at the presidential residence N’Sele. Officially, the meeting was held to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic, but Jeune Afrique quotes sources who say the two politicians also talked about delicate political matters during the four-hour meeting.
Tshisekedi and Kabila are said to have also discussed plans for a cabinet reshuffle.
The discussion is alleged to have begun with the fate of Vital Kamerhe, Thisekedi’s chief of staff and leader of the UNC opposition party, who was arrested on April 8 for misappropriation of funds. Kamerhe’s arrest risks rupturing the already tenuous FCC–CACH alliance.
Tshisekedi and Kabila are said to have also discussed plans for a cabinet reshuffle, a move that had been delayed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other discussion points included unrest in the Upper Katanga province, where several towns had been attacked by the Bakata Katanga militia, adding to existing strife in the country’s eastern North and South Kivu provinces.
A Bold Step
Perhaps one of the biggest developments explored during this encounter was the news that Tshisekedi had dismissed the head of the 10,000-strong Republic Guard, General Ilunga Kampete, who had been under sanctions by the European Union and United States for violent suppression of public demonstrations in December 2018. General Kampete has been a close ally of Joseph Kabila, who appointed him in 2014, indicating that Tshisekedi may be stepping into a bolder direction and could begin chipping away at the inordinate influence Kabila maintains in Congolese politics through his FCC coalition.