KINSHASA: Democratic Republic of the Congo President Joseph Kabila appointed the head of his political party as interior minister on Tuesday to oversee security in the face of rising militia violence and unrest over delayed elections.
Henri Mova Sakanyi, secretary-general of Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD), replaces Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, another senior PPRD 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.
Ramazani 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.
Security forces have killed dozens of anti-Kabila protesters over the past two years and uncertainty about Kabila’s future has fuelled militia violence, particularly near DR Congo’s eastern borders with Rwanda and Uganda.
Ramazani was sanctioned last May by the European Union over alleged human rights abuses committed by security forces under his authority. DR Congo’s government denies any systematic abuses.
Ramazani’s predecessor as interior minister, Évariste Boshab, was also hit with both EU and US sanctions for alleged human rights abuses by Congolese forces.