Congo's Kabila sacks ministers over graft, absence

Sat Mar 12, 2011 6:18pm GMT

* Government says sackings were unrelated

* PPRD seen keen to reduce influence of allies

By Jonny Hogg

KINSHASA, March 12 (Reuters) - Congolese President Joseph Kabila has fired two ministers from junior coalition partners in what analysts believe is part of a bid by his party to assert itself before elections in November.

Information Minister Lambert Mende confirmed on Saturday that Vice Prime Minister Nzanga Mobutu, son of the late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, had been sacked on Thursday for spending more than three months in Europe.

The minister for rural development, Philippe Undji, lost his job on Friday and is facing corruption charges, Mende said.

Both men were part of the coalition that has backed Kabila since 2006, when he was elected in Democratic Republic of Congo's first democratic vote.

"The two cases are quite different," Information Minister Lambert Mende told Reuters by telephone.   Continued...

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