Congo PM hits out at arrest of justice minister

Elias Hubbard
June 30, 2020

The Democratic Republic of Congo's prime minister has chastised President Felix Tshisekedi over the "arbitrary" arrest of the justice minister in a deepening government rift over proposed judicial reforms.

Authorities did not immediately explain the reason for Tunda's detention, which comes at a time of discord in the ruling coalition between President Felix Tshisekedi and allies of his long-serving predecessor, Joseph Kabila, who stepped down past year.

Tunda was questioned by prosecutors for numerous hrs at the courtroom of cassation immediately after surrendering to law enforcement at his property on Saturday afternoon.

Justice Minister Celestin Tunda Ya Kasende was detained for several hours on Saturday after clashing with Tshisekedi over the legal changes, which set off two days of violent protests in Kinshasa last week.

"No member of the government can be prosecuted for opinions expressed during deliberations of the council of ministers", Ilunga said referring to Friday's meeting where Tshisekedi and Tunda reportedly quarreled over the judicial changes.

"He is been released", mentioned Kinshasa's law enforcement main, Sylvano Kasongo.

The controversial reforms include proposals to define the powers of judges, which critics said is a ploy to muzzle the judiciary.

The feud has pitted Tshisekedi loyalists against supporters of his predecessor Joseph Kabila, who still wields huge behind-the-scenes influence 18 months after standing down from the presidency.

The FCC sits in an uneasy coalition with Tshisekedi's Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) and it accounts for most of the 66 government ministers as well as the prime minister.

Tshisekedi, earlier an opponent of Kabila, arrived to energy in January 2019 immediately after now being declared the victor of an election that Kabila was ineligible to contest following 18 decades in ability.

Former parliament speaker Aubin Minaku, one of the people behind the proposed amendments, said this week the aim of the reforms was "to define the authority the justice ministry exercises over the judges".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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