Democratic Republic of Congo’s constitutional court on Tuesday swore in an electoral commission chief whose contested nomination threatens to weaken President Felix Tshisekedi’s ruling coalition.
Denis Kadima takes over as president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), with the heavy task of organising the next elections by 2023.
His appointment has not been an unanimous decision, with religious groups – who are supposed to nominate CENI members by consensus – disagreeing.
Six out of eight religious groups voted for Mr Kadima – with the Catholic church and the largest Protestant group, the ECC, opposing it on grounds that the nomination process was irregular.
Their argument is supported by opposition MPs who did not endorse him in parliament.
The DR Congo parliament approved Mr Kadima’s nomination on 16 October despite the lack of consensus by the religious groups.
Last weekend, President Félix Tshisekedi confirmed the appointment of Mr Kadima and 12 members of the commission, despite the dispute.
Three members expected to represent the opposition have not yet been appointed but Mr Tshisekedi said he was optimistic that they would join the team.
Members of the electoral body must come from the parties represented in the national assembly and from the civil society, according to the law.