Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) president Joseph Kabila has, against all expectations, appointed a new Prime minister to lead the transition toward elections. The new prime minister, Samy Badibanga, is a lawyer and a former diamonds dealer, who once was a member of Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party founded by veteran Etienne Tshisekedi. He was expelled from the party when he joined the parliament, against UDPS's directives. Immediately after the nomination, UDPS leaders have declared Samy Badibanga's appointment as a "non-event."
Etienne Tshisekedi and his supporters claim that Etienne Tshisekedi is the country's "president elect" since the last presidential poll in 2011.
What is most surprising about the nomination is that most expected that Vital Kamerhe, the leader of Union for the Congolese Nation (UNC) would be the
next Prime Minister, following the October political agreement between the government and fringe opposition groups, that would allow Joseph Kabila to remain in office beyond the term allowed by the constitution and scheduled to end on December 19, 2016. Under the deal, Kabila's term will extend to late 2017 or mid-2018.
Until today, sources close to both Joseph Kabila and Vital Kamerhe had informed AfroAmerica Network that the two had an agreement since mid-Summer 2016, that if Vital Kamerhe would join the political negotiation, he would be appointed the next Prime Minister (see Political Dialogue Opens in DRC: Vital Kamerhe, the Next Prime Minister?, Political Dialogue in DRC: Vital Kamerhe To Become Next Prime Minister, Sources in Kinshasa Say, and DR Congo: Vital Kamerhe's to set up new government; US Investigating Joseph Kabila's Close Aides for Kleptocracy).
According to the sources, until Tuesday, November 15, 2016 evening , Joseph Kabila had reassured Vital Kamerhe. Then, on Wednesday, Joseph Kabila cut all contacts. On Thursday, Vital Kamerhe learned from the Congolese National Television news cast that Joseph Kabila had appointed Samy Badibanga, instead.
After the announcement, Vital Kamerhe reacted to to the appointment saying that "I have taken note of the appointment. I never hid that my ambitions have always been beyond the post of prime Minister." Maybe that is what Joseph Kabila had in mind, when he decided to choose an alternative candidate, with lower ambitions.
AfroAmerica Network is still investigating the reasons of the apparent sudden change of heart by Joseph Kabila. However, early indications are that Joseph Kabila may not have changed his true intentions, after all, but rather may have outplayed Vital Kamerhe, all along. Only didn't Vital Kamerhe, too confident to the point of naivety, know how or seek to read Joseph Kabila's intentions to backstab him.