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Cablegate: Drc Cabinet Reshuffle: Doing the Same with Less?

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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7182
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SIPDIS

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SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM PHUM PREL CG
SUBJECT: DRC CABINET RESHUFFLE: DOING THE SAME WITH LESS?

REF: Kinshasa 1307

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED -- PROTECT ACCORDINGLY

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The GDRC's long-awaited cabinet reshuffle was
announced November 25 (reftel). The new cabinet gives President
Kabila provincial/ethnic balance without weakening his ruling AMP
alliance. The biggest change is a reduction in the number of
ministers from 60 to 45, as a number of previously autonomous
ministries have been merged. Although reducing ministries was the
hallmark of the reshuffle, one new Ministry, Parliamentary
Relations, was also created. Two Cabinet "Commissions" have been
established: one for Political, Social and Cultural Affairs, and
another for Economic and Infrastructure Affairs. Each is to be
chaired by a Minister of State. The selection of the new cabinet
reaffirms once again President Kabila's primacy over Prime Minister
Gizenga, and sends a message that merely cooperating with the AMP is
not enough to hold on to a cabinet portfolio. Stricter control over
ministers by Kabila and reduced expenditures would seem to flow from
the reshuffle. Although the cabinet's size has already been
reduced, even further reductions are likely. Also likely is the
prospect that trimming fat alone will have little impact on the
Kabila government's lack of efficiency, due in large part to poor
internal coordination. END SUMMARY

The reshuffle: a long time a'coming
-----------------------------------

2. (SBU) Rumors of a cabinet reshuffle have persisted since the
President's statement, during an interview in June of this year, "Do
we need 60 ministers in a cabinet? We are going to see, by
September." Indeed, the President's first cabinet, which took
office in February, was criticized as an elephant-like body funded
through a budget dependent on international aid in the region of 50%
of total revenue. Reducing the size of the cabinet, however, was
not a simple exercise as all members of the alliance and its
coalitions had to be satisfied to ensure national unity. The new
cabinet is the result of delicate negotiations whereby the President
achieved provincial balance without damaging his "Alliance for the
Presidential Majority" bloc (AMP in French) with a number of
regional or personality-based parties including the Social Movement
for Renewal (MSR) led by Pierre Lumbi, from the province of Maniema;
the Coalition of Congolese Democrats (CODECO), led by Jean-Claude
Muyambo of Katanga; the Union of Mobutiste Democrats (UDEMO), led by
Francois Nzanga Mobutu from Equateur; and the Christian Democratic
Party (PDC), led by Jose Endundo,from Equater. Kabila also
safeguarded his coalition with the Lumumbist Unified Pary (PALU) led
by Antoine Gizenga from Bandundu.

3. (SBU), In fact, the reduction in size is clearly the most
significant change in the new government: the former Ministries of
Human Rights, Trade, Research, Small and Medium Enterprises,
Tourism, and Social Affairs lost their autonomy and were folded
into, respectively, the Ministries of Economy, Justice, Higher
Education, Industry, Environment, and Humanitarian Affairs. Five
women, specifically four Ministers and one Vice-Minister, are in the
new cabinet. (Note: There were nine females in the previous
cabinet. End note.)

4. (SBU) A new portfolio, the Ministry for Parliamentary Relations,
has been introduced to serve as a bridge between the executive and
legislative branches. The intent is to ensure cohesion and to avoid
discord between the President and the Parliament as occurred, for
example, during the August 2007 investigations into the alleged
occupation of Kahemba by Angolan troops. Another innovation is the
creation of two Cabinet "Commissions." The first, to handle
Political, Social and Cultural Affairs," will be chaired by the
Minister of State for Internal Affairs, Denis Kalume. The second,
to deal with Economic and Infrastructure Affairs, will be headed by
the Minister of State for Agriculture Nzanga Mobutu (son of the late
dictator). It is anticipated that the commission chairs will serve
as coordinators between the 15 or ministries in each commission.
(Note: In the DRC, a Minister of State is more powerful that a
simple minister. End note.)

Kabila Prevails yet again
-------------------------

5. (SBU) The selection of the November 25 cabinet reaffirms
(although few doubted otherwise) that Joseph Kabila has prevailed in
his ongoing tug or war with Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga. Due in
large measure to his advanced age (he is 83) and diminished energy
levels, Gizenga has proven ineffective in persuading the younger and
more politically powerful Kabila to accept the Prime Minister's
choices for ministries. State Minister Nzanga Mobutu also suffered

KINSHASA 00001328 002 OF 002


greatly as two of his party's members were adversely affected by the
reshuffle. Sylvain Ngabu was downgraded from Minister of State to
Minister, and Alain Lubamba, deputy foreign minister, was removed
from the government altogether. Ngabu made the costly mistake of
having his security guards beat up some pesky journalists, while
Lubamba took clumsy initiatives and issued official statements at
odds with Kabila's policies while serving as acting minister.

6. (SBU) Another important loser in the reshuffle was Foreign
Minister Antipas Mbusa, who was demoted from "Minister of State" to
"minister." His cousin and protege Nelson Paluku was also removed
as Vice-Minister of Defense. There are no readily apparent
explanations for Mbusa's (minor) fall from grace and rumors are
rife. Mbusa, who is from North Kivu, has longstanding personal ties
to insurgent general Laurent Nkunda and his Tutsi guerillas, as well
as to Nkunda's nemesis, the Hutu-led FDLR insurgency. Finally,
Mbusa may be a scapegoat for the November 9 Nairobi communique,
which is generally viewed in Kinshasa as favorable to Rwanda at the
expense of the DRC. Although Kabila himself approved Mbusa's
recommendation to sign the agreement, Mbusa is clearly disliked by
many of Kabila's hawkish, anti-Rwanda, confidants and advisors.

Striking regional, ethnic balance
---------------------------------

7. (SBU) One of Kabila's greatest goals in selecting a new cabinet
was to maintain regional and ethnic balance. This appears to be the
reason for the departure of Environment Minister Didace Pembe, who
was given high marks for his performance, and Justice Minister
Georges Minsay (a newcomer in politics), who are from Bandundu,
having given their jobs to natives of Equateur and Kasai-Occidental,
Jose Endundo and Mutombo Bakafwa respectively. Endundo and Bakafwa
are not newcomers; both are former cronies of Joseph-Desire Mobutu.
Other well-known figures have reemerged as Ministers in the new
cabinet, four of them from Mobutu's regime, but none from Laurent
Kabila's period as president. They are Minister of Environment and
Tourism Jose Endundo, Minister of Culture and Arts Esdras Kambale,
Minister of Transportation Mwando Nsimba, and Minister of Justice
and Human Rights Mutombo Bakafwa Nsenda. The new Vice-Minister of
Research is a Tutsi, Zachee Nsengiyumva Rugabisha, a little-known
figure prior to the reshuffle.

8. (SBU) Comment: Stricter control over the Cabinet by Kabila and
reduced budget outlays would seem to flow naturally from the
reshuffle and the reduction of portfolios. Even with 45 members,
however, the cabinet remains huge and further reductions would seem
likely. Also likely is the prospect that trimming fat alone will
have little impact on the Kabila government's lack of efficiency,
due in large part to poor internal coordination. End comment.

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