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The BBC's Mark Dummet
"(The people) will expect change"
 real 28k

Thursday, 5 April, 2001, 14:53 GMT 15:53 UK
Kabila sacks DR Congo cabinet
Joseph Kabila sworn in
A cabinet change has been expected since Kabila took power
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has sacked his entire cabinet, according to a statement from cabinet chief Theophile Mbemba.

Outgoing ministers will remain in their posts, "charged with carrying out current business" until the nomination of a new cabinet, according to the statement, read out on state television.

The sacked ministers will be subject to a government audit and will be required to prove their innocence of any administrative wrong doing.

No reason was given for the sackings but the news has not come as a surprise to people in Kinshasa.

Strong move

Ever since Joseph Kabila succeeded his assassinated father as president in January there has been an expectation that he would stamp his own mark on the cabinet.

These are the first significant cabinet changes that President Kabila has made.

Joseph Kabila and French President Jacques Chirac
Kabila has been meeting many world leaders
The BBC correspondent in Kinshasa says that Mr Kabila is now trying to assert his authority.

The sackings coincide with the first tangible moves towards an end to DR Congo's two-and-a-half year war.

The United Nations is preparing to monitor a 15 km withdrawal from the frontline by government and rebel troops.

Diplomacy

The cabinet reshuffle was made public only hours before Mr Kabila flew to Germany for a two-day official visit starting on Thursday.

Germany is expected to raise its concerns over human rights in DR Congo.

A BBC correspondent in Berlin says Germany sees no prospects yet for resuming structural aid to Kinshasa.

This will be the latest trip in Mr Kabila's diplomatic offensive which has seen him meet many of the world's top leaders.

Mr Kabila took power on 26 January after the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila, who was killed by a presidential guard on 16 January.

Since then he has been keen to stamp his identity on the government of the troubled republic.

Mr Kabila replaced some of his father's key officials in March, appointing a new cabinet director and security advisor, and nominating several new leaders for the country's security forces and army.

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See also:

29 Mar 01 | Africa
UN troops begin Congo mission
26 Mar 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe hosts Kabila
28 Feb 01 | Africa
Troops withdraw from DR Congo
16 Jan 01 | Africa
DR Congo's troubled history
26 Jan 01 | Country profiles
Country profile: Democratic Republic of Congo
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