President Felix Tshisekedi appoints Ilunga Ilunkamba as PM

President Felix Tshisekedi (R) named Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba to lead his government. (Courtesy)

Four months after his inauguration, DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi has appointed,  Sylvestre Ilunga Ilunkamba, as the next prime minister.

Ilunga Ilunkamba was appointed under "the political agreement" between Tshisekedi and his predecessor Joseph Kabila "regarding the creation of a coalition government," presidential spokesman Kasongo Mwema Yamba Yamba said.

Illunga Ilunkamba, whose government career spans decades, replaces Bruno Tshibala, who had been appointed by Kabila in 2017. Ilunga Ilunkamba's aides gave his age as 78.

Tshisekedi was sworn in on January 24 after elections that marked the Democratic Republic of Congo's first peaceful transition of power since the vast country gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

But the vote was marred by allegations of rigging, and Tshisekedi is struggling to push through with pledges of reform.

The country's politics remain overshadowed by Kabila, who amassed extensive clout after 18 years in power.

His political allies retain the upper hand in parliament, provincial assemblies and governorships across the unstable country. His men also play a major role in security services.

Ilunga Ilunkamba, speaking to the press after meeting Tshisikedi, said, " I would like to thank his excellency, Joseph Kabila Kabange, who proposed me as prime minister and assured me of his trust."

He vowed to throw himself into ensuring the "harmonious governance of the coalition."

Tshisekedi told him the priorities would be "social, meaning education, health, security and establishing peace," he said.

A PhD in economics from the University of Kinshasa, Ilunga Ilunkamba began his political career under former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, who was overthrown in 1997.

His long record in government includes four spells as vice minister and two as minister for planning and finance. Prior to his new appointment, he was director general of the DRC's railway corporation, the SNCC.