He was due to head a transitional council under a deal for President Joseph Kabila to step down this year.
Mr Tshisekedi served as a minister under autocratic ruler Mobutu Sese Seko in the country then known as Zaire before helping to set up the UDPS.
During the 1990s he was named prime minister four times but did not remain in the position after clashing with Mobutu, who was eventually forced out in 1997.
“This so-called government is a bad idea, that was the opposition brought up by Tshisekedi before his death and his followers still believe in this claims. As you know, Kabila does not want to leave power. All these are tactics that are going on around the announcement of Tshibala’s (current prime minister) government or a Badibanga (former prime minister) government. All these are distractions that they are using to stay in power. There is nothing new,” said one resident Theo Tshamala.
“I don’t know how a new government will handle the two biggest problems in just eight months, namely organising the elections and also tackling the challenges that the people are facing,” added another Kinshasa resident, Jean Claude Mputu.
Despite resistance to Kabila remaining in power, he has successfully co-opted large portions of the opposition.
The new prime minister, Tshibala, named last month, is a former member of the country’s largest opposition party and other opposition leaders received ministerial posts too.
Ruling majority spokesperson Alain Atundu Liongo dismissed the critics, saying that the new government is ready to work with the opposition.
“The ruling majority is invested in the success of this government, especially regarding two major objectives. We need to finish with the process of organising elections as agreed. We also need to ensure that the Congolese people live in the best social conditions as well as security for their own wellbeing. We also need to pursue at
“We also need to ensure that the Congolese people live in the best social conditions as well as security for their own wellbeing. We also need to pursue at national level, policies that will improve the country’s economy,” Liongo added.
The roughly 60 ministers and vice-ministers that were named are mainly holdovers from the previous government and key ministries – including foreign affairs, interior, justice and mines – remain in the hands of Kabila loyalists.
Political tensions are high after security forces killed dozens during protests over election delays last year. Worsening militia violence in recent months has also raised fears of a backslide toward the civil wars of the turn of the century that killed millions.
Kabila’s opponents suspect he intends to repeatedly delay elections until he can organise a referendum to let himself stand for a third term, as his counterparts in neighboring Congo Republic and Rwanda have done.
Kabila denies those accusations, saying the election delays are due to challenges registering millions of voters and budgetary constraints.
“The accord legitimized our institutions, but that’s no longer the case today. All that is happening at the moment is just a distraction, and when the time comes there will be consequences, I can promise you that. As someone who is responsible for UDPS, I can tell you that Kabila is responsible for all of these..