The secretary-general of the Rassemblement congolais pour la democratie (RCD-Goma) rebel group, Azarias Ruberwa Manywa, has been named as his movement's candidate for the fourth and final vice-presidential post for a two-year national transition government in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), RCD-Goma announced on Tuesday.
Ruberwa, 39, joins the three vice-presidential candidates already named: Jean-Pierre Bemba, leader of the Mouvement de liberation du Congo rebel group; Abdoulaye Yerodia Ndombasi, a close ally of DRC President Joseph Kabila; and Arthur Z'ahidi Ngoma, a representative of the unarmed political opposition. However, Z'ahidi Ngoma's candidacy has been opposed by elements of the unarmed political opposition who have put forth veteran opposition politician Etienne Tsishekedi wa Mulumba of the Union pour la Democratie et le Progres Social as their nominee.
The four vice-presidents are due to take the oath of office on 28 May in the DRC capital, Kinshasa.
A power-sharing accord reached in December 2002 in South Africa agreed to maintain Kabila as president, assisted by four vice-presidents: one from his own political movement; one from each of the two main armed rebel groups; and one from the unarmed political opposition.
Ruberwa is serving as president of the political subcommittee of the follow-up commission for the inter-Congolese dialogue. A lawyer by profession, he has until now been second-in-command to RCD-Goma leader Adolphe Onusumba Yemba. He is a founder of the Rwandan-backed RCD-Goma rebel movement, and an ardent advocate for the recognition of the Banyamulenge - Congolese of Rwandan origin - as Congolese citizens.
Other RCD-Goma nominees for the transitional government include Onusumba as second deputy president of the National Assembly, former RCD-Goma leader Emile Ilunga Kalambo as first deputy president of the Senate and Gen Jean-Pierre Ondekane as defence minister, according to a report on Wednesday by RCD-controlled RTNC radio in Goma.