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DRC Minister of Higher Education Bonaventure Tchelo: One Gaffe Too Many

Posted on the 22 November 2013 by Aengw @alexengwete

DRC Minister of Higher Education Bonaventure Tchelo: One gaffe too many

(PHOTO: Professor Bonaventure Tchelo Lutsima, DRC Minister of Higher Education & Scientific Research.)


News of the abrupt sacking of Minister Bonaventure Tchelo Lutsima hit the airwaves Wednesday, November 20, in the evening, in a terse presidential decree that didn't specify the reason of the firing, except saying that it was for a "serious breach."

People in the Congolese capital city--especially Kinshasa residents hailing from Orientale Province--were shaking their heads in disbelief at the stupidity of Tchelo, also from Orientale, from the helm of the DRC Ministry of Higher and University Education and Scientific Research ("ESURS," as it is familiarly known from its French acronym).

Everyone knew that Tchelo was a reckless man--including the guy who's rumored to have pulled the strings to get him that ministerial job, MP Médard Autsai Asenga, erstwhile unpopular governor of Orientale Province and, like the fired minister, a native of Aru in the district of Ituri.

But to pull what turns out to be not an isolated breach, but the string of gaffes that Tchelo just did when all the hungry pols in Kinshasa are sharpening their knives in attempting to position themselves in the upcoming "National-Cohesion" government reshuffle was far beyond reckless. It was plain dumb and idiotic.

After the announcement by President Joseph Kabila on Wednesday, October 23, in his state of the nation address, of an upcoming "national cohesion government," Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo followed up with an official circular to cabinet ministers instructing them that henceforth they only had to deal with current business and to no longer issue any ministerial decree.

Oddly, Tchelo thought he'd somehow weasel out of those strictures by backdating 52 ministerial decrees promoting his family and friends to key managerial positions in the university system. One of those decrees appointed the minister's own eldest son and senior advisor, Jean-Claude aka J-C, as Budget Administrator at Université Pédagogique Nationale (UPN) in Kinshasa!

After the publication of the first dozen of the batch of the backdated ministerial decrees, Tchelo was asked by the premier to explain himself and to stop issuing those illegal ministerial decrees in the meanwhile.

Apparently to no avail, as Tchelo went ahead and released some more decrees. Sources at the ESURS ministry claim that Tchelo, a high-functioning alcoholic and a womanizer, had of late become alarmingly delusional, telling subordinates he'd be the next "cohesion" prime minister!

Four days ago, face with such blatant acts of insubordination,  PM Matata went to see Kabila just as the latter was about to embark on his eastern Congo tour: he wanted Tchelo fired without further ado.

Among other Tchelo's malfeasances: transferring himself as a tenured professor from Kisangani to Kinshasa University; appointing his girlfriends in higher education institutions; selling plots for a Chinese shopping mall on the ground of UPN; etc.

And, by the way, the shopping mall under construction at UPN was razed to the ground yesterday.



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