Saturday, July 24, 2004

DRC: foreign minister sacked

Foreign Minister Antoine Ghonda has been replaced by Raymond Ramazani Baya, a close aide to Jean-Pierre Bemba, head of the MLC.
... [There has been] several weeks of speculation in Kinshasa's media and political rumor mill that Mr. Ghonda's dismissal had been called for by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, M.L.C's main supporter during Congo's war.

Mr. Museveni was said to have been upset by Mr. Ghonda's resistance to greater Ugandan involvement in various parts of the Congolese peace process, in particular a joint border verification mission with Rwanda, and wanted the minister to be sacked.

[...] Diplomats and analysts say that the sacking suggests that Mr. Museveni still carries considerable weight within the party. But they stress that Mr. Bemba has wanted to see the foreign minister gone for some time, and Mr. Ghonda's close working relationship with President Kabila may also have contributed to his downfall. (source)
MLC = Mouvement de Libération du Congo = Congolese Liberation Movement