President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) announced the appointment of Judith Suminwa Tuluka as the country’s first female prime minister on Monday. This landmark decision fulfills a campaign promise made by President Tshisekedi and marks a significant step towards gender equality in the nation’s political landscape.

Judith Suminwa Tuluka, a former planning minister, steps into her new role at a critical juncture for the nation, particularly in the strife-torn eastern region. The area, known for its abundance of minerals and resources, has been ravaged by persistent violence, resulting in the displacement of millions of civilians and earning the dubious distinction of being one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

In her inaugural address aired on state television, Prime Minister Tuluka pledged to prioritize peace and development efforts, particularly in the conflict-ridden eastern provinces. She expressed deep concern for the plight of those affected by the ongoing violence and reaffirmed her commitment to finding sustainable solutions to the crisis.

However, Prime Minister Tuluka’s appointment comes amidst the daunting task of forming a new government, a process expected to involve extensive negotiations with various political factions. Despite the challenges ahead, her appointment symbolizes a significant breakthrough in Congolese politics and offers hope for greater inclusivity and representation in governance.

The situation in eastern Congo remains dire, with numerous armed groups vying for control and perpetuating a cycle of violence and instability. Both local and international peacekeeping efforts have struggled to contain the conflict, further exacerbating the suffering of the civilian population.

President Tshisekedi, who secured reelection for a second term last December, has reiterated his commitment to addressing the root causes of the violence. He has accused neighboring Rwanda of backing rebel groups operating in eastern Congo, allegations vehemently denied by Rwandan authorities.