Democratic Republic of Congo Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga’s government collapsed after lawmakers passed a motion of censure against his administration.
The vote Wednesday in the capital, Kinshasa, marks another victory for President Felix Tshisekedi.
He’s been trying to cut ties with former President Joseph Kabila, whose political allies controlled parliament and most government ministries in the cobalt- and copper-rich central African nation.
Ilunga’s dismissal comes a little over a month after another Kabila ally, Jeanine Mabunda, was removed as president of the National Assembly. Tshisekedi has begun the process of forming a new majority in parliament that would lead to a new government.
Ilunga, a Kabila ally, declined to attend the parliamentary proceedings, saying they signaled the country’s democracy was in “regression,” according to a statement published on his office’s website.
“The infamous motion against my government is nothing but a political maneuver without factual foundation and in contempt of the rule of law,” Ilunga said. He defended his government’s record, saying it was successfully guiding the country through the coronavirus pandemic and was set to secure a new loan from the International Monetary Fund this year.
High copper prices and assistance from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank have helped Congo weather the pandemic and stabilize the economy after a volatile 2020, when inflation rose almost 16% while the Congolese franc weakened 15% against the dollar, according to the central bank. Congo is the world’s main source of cobalt and Africa’s biggest producer of copper.