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Cablegate: Kabila Makes Local Government Appointments

VZCZCXRO6945
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #0832 2761225
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 021225Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8530
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 000832

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM CG
SUBJECT: KABILA MAKES LOCAL GOVERNMENT APPOINTMENTS

1. (U) President Joseph Kabila signed three ordinances September 24
appointing nearly three hundred individuals to sub-provincial
government positions. The list included both new political
appointees and incumbents, as well as non-partisan civil servants at
the district commissioner, mayor and deputy mayor levels, as well as
burgomasters and deputy burgomasters. The Senate is considering
legislation, which will define the status of these positions in the
context of the DRC's decentralization process.

2. (U) The Ministry of Interior, Decentralization, and Security
claimed the move will improve government administration. The
Independent Electoral Commission echoed the Interior Ministry,
hailing the appointments as a step towards improving the functioning
of the DRC state.

3. (SBU) In February 2008, the Presidency forced hundreds of
magistrates to retire, replacing them with successors who were close
to the government. Critics characterized the appointments as an
attempt to stack the system with Kabila supporters before the
implementation of a new oversight body for the administration and
judiciary, the Council of Magistrates (the CSM - "Conseil superieur
de la magistrature" in French). Parliament established the CSM in
July 2008, but is awaiting implementing action by the Ministry of
Justice.

4. (SBU) Comment: The recent appointments reflect the same level of
political maneuvering as the February 2008 decision to handpick
magistrates. The appointments establish pro-government incumbents
in positions that will likely be contested in the 2009 local
elections. At the same time, if the GDRC is uncertain whether it
will be able to hold local elections in 2009, these appointments may
be the government's attempt to improve stability at local government
levels. Given the absence of a functioning state authority in most
parts of the country, the DRC could indeed benefit from a more
stable and representative local government. End Comment.

BROCK

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