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The BBC's Alan Little in Kinshasa
"Joseph Kabila has inherited his father's civil war"
 real 56k

Ernest Wamba Dia Wamba, Congolese Democracy Rally
"It is important that we meet and discuss [the situation]"
 real 28k

The BBC's Jane Standley
"Few people want to be seen to be stepping out of line in public here now"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 24 January, 2001, 20:02 GMT
Congo vote for new leader
Joseph Kabila
Joseph Kabila (second from left): Caretaker leader
The Congolese parliament has voted unanimously that Joseph Kabila should be sworn in as the country's new head of state.

He will succeed his father, Laurent Kabila, who was assassinated in Kinshasa last week.


We consider this day Major General Joseph Kabila is invested with all constitutional powers

Parliamentary motion
The interim president of the 300-member assembly, Philomone Omatuku, said Joseph Kabila would be officially sworn in on Thursday, one day later than had been planned.

Our correspondent says the parliamentary vote was probably called in order to try to overcome constitutional and popular objections to Joseph Kabila taking over.

Joseph Kabila was chosen by the government last week, after the assassination of his father.

Joseph Kabila
Shy 31-year-old soldier
Head of armed forces since 1997
Preferred languages: English, Swahili
Family man
Educated Tanzania, Uganda

In a second motion passed by the parliament, Laurent Kabila was proclaimed a "national hero".

It is unclear how much support the 31-year-old military man has in a country wracked by a war in which several other regional powers have become involved.

Support

Since assuming power on a caretaker basis, Joseph Kabila has held talks with the presidents of Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia, all of whom have troops stationed in Congo supporting the government.

Laurent Kabila
Laurent Kabila: Gunned down in his office
It was soldiers from those countries who were seen guarding General Kabila at his father's funeral - a sign that the leader has little confidence in the Congolese armed forces.

The older Kabila is believed to have been gunned down in his office by a member of his own presidential guard.

A correspondent in Kinshasa says Joseph Kabila appears more dependent than ever on his father's backers, who have sent several thousand extra troops to Congo in the past few days.

The Congolese parliament has met irregularly since it was formed last year under the control of Laurent Kabila and his allies.

He selected 60 of its members himself. The remainder were picked by panels of people close to him.

Peace talks planned

The United Nations Security Council has announced a meeting of foreign ministers of the countries involved in the war in DR Congo, in an attempt to restart the moribund peace process.

DR Congo war
Pro-government:
Angola
Namibia
Zimbabwe
Anti-government:
Rwanda
Uganda
In addition to the countries backing the Congolese Government, Rwanda and Uganda are backing the rebel forces who control about half of DR Congo.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said the meeting would take place in New York on 21 and 22 February.

French UN Ambassador Jean-David Levitte said he wanted the meeting to consider UN deployment along the Rwanda-Congo border, which he described as "the heart of the problem" for Rwandan security.

Rwanda has defended its involvement in Congo on the grounds that militia linked to the 1994 genocide are based in eastern Congo, and pose a security threat to Rwanda.

Angolan soldiers
Angolan soldiers were in evidence at the funeral
Adversaries fighting in the Congo signed a peace accord in August 1999, but it has had little effect in practice, with both sides accusing each other of ceasefire violations.

Laurent Kabila was accused by negotiators of obstructing the implementation of the peace deal, and some observers have seen the change of leadership in Kinshasa as opening the way to a new round of talks.

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See also:

19 Jan 01 | Africa
Mugabe attends Kabila memorial
17 Jan 01 | Africa
Belgium prepares Congo evacuation
18 Jan 01 | Africa
Summit silent for Kabila
22 Jan 01 | Africa
Massacres in eastern Congo
23 Jan 01 | Africa
Kabila's last interview
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