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02 Jul 2003 08:57
The son of Patrice Lumumba, the assassinated first prime minister of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), on Tuesday said the ethnic nature of the country’s new transition government would lead the vast central African state back into war.
“It can only reignite the civil war and further accentuate the already advanced decomposition of the state,” warned Francois Lumumba, leader of the Congolese National Movement-Lumuba (MNCL), which was given no posts in the interim government announced on Monday.
He said in a statement that the designation of ministers “was based on provinces and even tribes”.
This set a bad precedent, he said, because such tribalisation could be extended to the appointment of civil servants and diplomats as well as jobs in the army and police in DRC, the former Zaire.
It also wants the meritocratic ideals upheld by his party, based on his father’s political views, he added.
Patrice Lumumba, a key figure in Congo’s liberation from 75 years of Belgian colonial rule, was overthrown after just four months in office.
The socialist leader was murdered shortly afterward in detention in 1961 at the age of 35, in a Cold War conspiracy widely blamed on the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
His body was never recovered, but he is remembered as the only leader of his country to have been democratically elected.
On Monday, President Joseph Kabila named an interim government to lead the country out of a civil war that has killed millions, urging citizens to put aside tribal and ethnic differences and unite the mineral-rich but impoverished nation.
Jobs in the new government—due to lead the DRC to democratic elections in two years time—were divided between Kabila’s current government, rebel groups, the political opposition and civil society groups.
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