The parliament of the Democratic Republic of Congo today approved a new cabinet that takes over the urgent task of finding a way to bring peace in the country's strife-torn east. The cabinet headed by the prime minister Adolphe Muzito was approved by 294 lawmakers, with 67 voting against it while seven abstained, said the parliament speaker Vital Kamerhe. "Consequently, the National Assembly approves the programme presented by prime minister Adolphe Muzito and gives power to the government which immediately takes over," he said.
The new government was approved after two days of debate that focused on the conflict in the east of the country, where fighting between the military and rebel forces led by renegade general Laurent Nkunda resumed in August. The president Joseph Kabila named Mr Muzito as prime minister on October 10, replacing 83-year-old Antoine Gizenga, who resigned in September citing his old age. Mr Kabila has presented the new cabinet as "a combat team to which vital security and reconstruction missions were assigned." It is the third government since Mr Kabila won the country's first free elections in four decades in 2006.
The former defence minister, Chikez Diemu, and interior minister, Denis Kalume, were sacked after failing to pacify the east. The new defence chief is Charles Mwando and Celestin Mbuyu takes over the interior ministry. The rebels declared a unilateral ceasefire Wednesday after reaching the doorsteps of Goma, the capital of Nord-Kivu province. The United States, France and Britain have rushed top diplomats to the region to prevent a humanitarian disaster.
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by the conflict in a region unstable since Rwanda's 1994 genocide. *AFP