President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo has appointed the leader of his political party as interior minister to oversee security in the face of rising militia violence and unrest over delayed elections.
Secretary-General of Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy, PPRD, Henri Sakanyi, replaces Emmanuel Shadari, another senior party official, who had served in the post since December 2016.
The reason for the change, announced in a communique read on national television, was not immediately clear.
Shadari is considered a staunch Kabila loyalist and has overseen the security forces’ deadly crackdowns on protesters who have demonstrated against repeated delays to a presidential election meant to choose Kabila’s successor.
Kabila’s second and final constitutional term expired in December 2016 but he has refused to step down or commit to not changing the constitution to allow himself to stand for a third term in an election currently scheduled for this December.