© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Congo Prime Minister Resigns
Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Augustine Ponyo, has resigned.
Ponyo said his resignation was in order to make way for an opposition figure to take his place following talks aimed at averting a political crisis in the country.
“I have just handed in my resignation and that of my government to the president of the republic in line with the spirit of the political accord signed on October 18.”
Tension had risen in the DRC after a presidential election that ought to have held before the ending of the year was postponed to April 2018.
The government cited logistical problems in registering millions of voters and a lack of financing as reasons for the postponement, but the Opposition said it was a ploy designed by President Joseph Kabila to illegally hold on to office.
The decision to delay the vote was reached in October by the government and some opposition groups during a “national dialogue” which was boycotted by major opposition parties.
Ponyo’s departure could pave the way for a government with posts for some of those opposition figures who agreed to the election delay.
However, the main opposition bloc has rejected the accord and more than 50 people died in street protests in September aimed at increasing pressure on Kabila to step down.
Kabila’s critics say his aim is to change the constitution, which limits him to two terms in office, in order to secure a third.
The country’s constitutional court has given the go-ahead for the rescheduling of the election.
Kabila became president following the assassination of his father in 2001 and won disputed elections in 2006 and 2011.