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Christian Tshiwewe Appointed New Chief of General Staff of FARDC

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President Félix Tshisekedi appointed Lieutenant-General Christian Tshiwewe Songesha as the new Chief of Staff of the FARDC.

Lt.Gen.Tshiwewe’s appointment was effected this Monday.He succeeds General Célestin Mbala Munsense, who has been in office since 2018.

These orders on advancement in rank and new appointments within the FARDC were read on Congolese public television, RTNC, by the deputy spokesperson for the President of the Republic, Tina Salama.

Félix Tshisekedi also named, in this series of ordinances, General Major, Ephraim Kabi Kiriza, commander of the Republican Guard. He was before his appointment the number 3 of this unit responsible for protecting the head of state and his family.

For his part, General Ishaligonza Nduru Jacques was promoted to Deputy Chief of Staff in charge of operations and intelligence.

The brigadier generals, Shiko Shitambwe, Kisezo Thomas, Kipongo Bora, Kabikiriza Euphaim, Jules Banza were elevated to the rank of “major general”.

While senior officers Jean Mulumeoderhwa, Patrick Lusaka Nzita, Mbuyu Kongolo, Mulumba Kabanangi Désire, Muyunga Kennedy, Bakati Herison were elevated to the rank of “Brigadier General”.

The overall strength of FARDC was variously estimated to be from 100,000–150,000 troops, with 60,000 troops at or close to retirement. In trying to determine exact strength it is important to keep in mind the Congolese military tradition of exaggerating – and sometimes doubling – numbers.

The traditional practice of Zairian / Congolese commanders skimming funds from the payroll, leaving little or no money to actually pay the troops, encouraged inflated claims of troop strength.

According to critics, the Congolese military suffers from low morale, weak command and control, widespread corruption, haphazard administration, poor operational planning, limited training and equipment, and questionable military capability.

FARDC units throughout the country are also accused of regularly engaging in illegal taxation and extortion of civilians. They set up checkpoints to collect “taxes,” often stealing food and money and arresting individuals who could not pay bribes.

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