DR Congo justice minister resigns after brief detention

Sunday July 12 2020

Celestin Tunda Ya Kasende sent his resignation

Celestin Tunda Ya Kasende sent his resignation to Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba following "a personal examination of the situation", he said in a video message released to media. AFP PHOTO 

By AFP

DR Congo's justice minister resigned Saturday, two weeks after he was briefly detained against a background of political crisis in the country.

Celestin Tunda Ya Kasende sent his resignation to Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba following "a personal examination of the situation", he said in a video message released to media.

He was the first minister to resign from a fragile coalition government that includes allies of President Felix Tshisekedi and his predecessor, Joseph Kabila.

It took eight months of talks before the government was finally presented in late August, 2019.

"I am leaving the government with the conviction that my work within the justice ministry has helped consolidate the rule of law in our country," Kasende said.

He was briefly detained and questioned two weeks ago, a day after he clashed with Tshisekedi at a cabinet meeting over judicial reforms proposed by Kabila's supporters.

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Kasende's detention provoked outrage among Kabila's supporters, with several sources saying Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga had threatened to resign over the issue, which would have ended the coalition.

Kabila stepped down in January 2019 after 18 years, following elections that ushered in the Democratic Republic of Congo's first-ever peaceful transition of power.

Despite leaving office, Kabila wields political influence behind the scenes, and his supporters have a huge majority in parliament, forcing Tshisekedi into an uneasy coalition.

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