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Congo PM Pledges Good Governance, Justice

VOA News - February 22, 2007

The prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo has told parliament good governance and justice will be his government's guiding principles. Franz Wild attended his speech and files this report for VOA from Kinshasa.

Antoine Gizenga
Antoine Gizenga
Prime Minister Antoine Gizenga said the government has five main aims: to consolidate peace, re-establish state authority and unity, promote economic growth, reduce poverty and return to a firm values system. He was presenting his recently appointed 60 member government's program to parliament.

Mr. Gizenga said his priorities are justice and curbing corruption, starting with Congo's leaders, who, he said, are no longer above the law.

He said, a judiciary, which is not only independent, but also purges corruption, would help the government instill a sense of ethics into this society. He said this would start with Congo's leaders.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last week criticized Congo's corruption record, especially in its mining sector. Mr. Gizenga said this area in particular would be a "zero-tolerance zone" on corruption, as it is crucial to rebuilding Congo's economy.

Mr. Gizenga also emphasized the need to attract private investment from abroad to rebuild an economy ruined by three decades of misrule and five years of civil war, which ended in 2003. He said Congo will privatize its state-owned companies, which control water, electricity, transport, housing and public works.

He said his government is depending a lot on direct private investment and public-private partnerships to set Congo's development into motion. He said he would put an end to what he called useless monopolies.

President Joseph Kabila appointed Mr. Gizenga prime minister on December 31, after receiving his backing in last year's run-off vote in Congo's first elections in four decades.


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