DR Congo justice minister arrested in crisis over judicial reforms

KINSHASA: DR Congo's justice minister was arrested on Saturday (Jun 27), the latest twist in a crisis over proposed judicial reforms that have triggered violent street protests.

The action against Celestin Tunda Ya Kasende came a day after he clashed with President Felix Tshisekedi over the contested legal changes, according to a ministerial source.

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The reforms, proposed by supporters of the still influential former president Joseph Kabila, has caused a damaging rift in the fragile government coalition.

Tunda Ya Kasenda, a lawyer by profession, had told AFP by phone shortly before his arrest that about a dozen officers had surrounded his Kinshasa home.

"I am serene. I'm a member of the government and I have immunity," said the minister, a supporter of Kabila.

He was taken to the prosecutor's office, according to lawmaker Felix Kabange Numbi.

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The controversial reforms include proposals to define the powers of judges, which critics say is a ploy to muzzle the judiciary.

They were put forward by the Common Front for Congo (FCC), a coalition close to Kabila, who remains a behind-the-scenes force in national politics.

The FCC sits in an uneasy coalition with Tshisekedi's Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) and it accounts for most of the 66 government ministers as well as the prime minister.

Over two days this week, angry demonstrators, mainly UDPS supporters and somRead More – Source