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Congo President Kabila Announces Cabinet Changes - 2004-07-12

One year after Congo's transitional government was put in place, President Joseph Kabila has announced his first major cabinet changes. But many in Congo were disappointed, saying the changes do not go far enough.

Two weeks ago, President Kabila marked the first anniversary of the establishment of Congo's transitional government by announcing that some members of the government were not performing and, therefore, in the near future, there would have to be changes.

The declaration sparked several weeks of debate and speculation in the media, which has become highly critical of the government.

Announcing the changes on state television Sunday evening, President Kabila's spokesman said the positions of eight ministers and nine vice ministers had been changed in the cabinet of 36 ministries.

However, analysts say that none of the high profile ministers have been changed. They also point out that several of those who have lost their jobs had to be replaced because they have been promoted to senior positions in their political parties or nominated to be provincial governors.

The news was also greeted with skepticism in the Congolese press, whose editors delivered scathing attacks on President Kabila, accusing him of failing to deliver on his promise of a government shake up after he admitted that there were problems.

The editor of the Kinshasa daily Le Potentiel wrote Kabila "promised to turn the governmental team upside down but, in the end, the reshuffle the Congolese got was a joke."

Some diplomats and members of the government say that another, more serious reshuffle, could come soon. Congo's transitional government has been bogged down in infighting, and has been unable to stop continuing clashes between former rebels and government soldiers in some areas. The government was established last year as part of a series of peace accords that ended five years of civil war. It is supposed to lead the vast African country to elections in June of next year.