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Congo's Kabila Fires Top Ministers in Cabinet Reshuffle

  • David Lewis

Six ministers in Congo's transitional government were sacked late Monday after they were named in an investigation in corruption in the vast mineral rich country. There were five other changes in the broad-sweeping reshuffle in the power-sharing government.

The six ministers names were made public late last year when a parliamentary report accused them of financial malpractice. They were then suspended from their jobs as pressure mounted on President Joseph Kabila to clean up his government.

And, late on Monday evening, Congo's ministers of mines, energy, trade, transport, higher education and public works were finally sacked in a wide-ranging government reshuffle that brought changes at the head of a total of eleven ministries.

The six ministers had been suspended alongside a dozen heads of state owned companies after corruption investigations found rampant fraud and financial irregularities in ministries and businesses charged with leading Congo to elections in June this year.

Presidential spokesman Kudura Kasongo said Tuesday that the changes were part of Mr. Kabila's attempts to deal with corruption in the vast mineral rich country. Business and politics in Congo are both closely related and reportedly corrupt.

But further changes in Monday evenings reshuffle also saw the ministers of defense and economy replaced by their own party in what is being seen as internal housekeeping.

The ministers had fallen out with the RCD-Goma leadership during months of wrangling within the party - a former Rwandan backed rebel group that is now part of the country's fragile transitional government set up as part of a 2003 peace deal.

The peace deals that brought Congo's five-year war to an end are as complex as the war itself and led to former belligerents, the political opposition and representatives from civil society forming a government led by Mr. Kabila and his four vice presidents.

Most analysts say it is too early to say what impact the changes will have in trying to unite war ravaged country the size of Western Europe with little infrastructure to speak of.

But skeptics argue that with just six months before the government is due to hold elections and few preparations having already been made, the is little hope for radical change and serious progress in a faltering transitional process.

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