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Cablegate: Political Ties Mark New Parastatal Boards

VZCZCXRO4857
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0147 0421407
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111407Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7512
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS KINSHASA 000147

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV ECON EMIN ENRG EFIN KDEM CG
SUBJECT: Political ties mark new parastatal boards

Ref: 07 Kinshasa 185

1. (SBU) Summary. Although many senior parastal executives
appointed by President Kabila January 12 were vetted through a
public examination process, connections with the ruling coalition or
senior political figures were highly influential in appointments of
most governing board members. End summary.

2. (U) President Kabila appointed nearly 300 senior executives and
board members of 37 Congolese parastatal firms January 12 in the
mining, energy, transport, financial, industrial, education,
communications, public works, scientific research, environmental,
agricultural and commercial sectors. Some of the firms are
inactive. The appointees, drawn from recommendations by the
ministry of public enterprises, included governing board chairmen
and members, CEOs, deputy CEOs and finance and technical directors.


3. (U) Many of the executives qualified through a new
examination-based vetting process championed by Minister Jeannine
Mabunda and jointly organized by the government and the Steering
Committee for Public Enterprise Reform (Copirep). However,
governing board positions were set aside for other appointees,
generally associated with parties of the ruling coalition or those
with personal connections to Kabila, Prime Minister Gizenga or other
senior figures. These include former ministers or deputy ministers,
but also a number of new names from Katanga or Maniema, respectively
the home provinces of Kabila's parents, or from Gizenga's Bandundu.


4. (SBU) Among the prominent appointees: Eugene Serufuli, former
RCD governor of North Kivu and head of the paramilitary group TPD
(Tous pour la Paix et le Developpement) implicated in the 2004 siege
of Bukavu by General Laurent Nkunda and Colonel Jules Mutebusi, as
chairman of the electricity parastatal SNEL; Honorius Kisimba Ngoy,
a former justice minister notorious for his fraudulent
recommendation of a "phantom" candidate for trade minister in
Gizenga's first government (reftel), as chairman of the public debt
agency Ogedep; Georges Minsay, PALU-nominated justice minister in
the first Gizenga government, as chairman of the tourism agency ONT;
Enoch Ruberangabo, a South Kivu Muyumulenge politician and former
Transitional senator, as chairman of the defunct Kinshasa steelworks
Sosider; Telesphore Tsakala, a former deputy labor minister and CEO
of the standards regulator OCC, as chairman of the gold mining
parastatal Okimo; and Alain Lubamba, former secretary-general of
Mobutu Nzanga's Udemo party and deputy foreign minister in the first
Gizenga government, as chairman of the gemstone evaluation and
certification agency CEEC.

5. (SBU) Elected officials appointed to parastatal governing boards
will not be obligated to resign, as neither parliamentary work nor
board meetings require daily attendance. For example, Come
Sekimonyo and Marthe Bashomberwa, named respectively to the boards
of the social security agency INSS and the vocational training
institute INPP, will remain National Assembly deputies.

6. (SBU) Not all senior executive positions were evidently reserved
for those qualifying by examination. Wolf Kimasa, a nephew and
informal political adviser of Gizenga, was named deputy CEO of OCC.
He has extensive background in private industry. However, former
PALU secretary-general Robert Makina, named deputy CEO of INPP, is a
historian by training. Martine Cishambo, named finance director of
the Office des Routes, is the sister of Kabila's senior political
and diplomatic counselor Marcellin Cishambo.

7. (SBU) Comment. Non-technical qualifications for board members is
nothing new in the corporate world. However, credible reports
dating to early 2007 indicate Mabunda, a protege of key Kabila
adviser Augustin Katumba, had initially sought to require candidates
for all senior parastatal positions -- executives and board members
alike -- take the new examination. She came under strong pressure
from Katumba and others to back down, but was supported by Gizenga.
In the end, the May 2007 decision to create the ministry's vetting
system exempted candidates for board positions from the process.
End comment.

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