Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, chosen by DR Congo President Joseph Kabila as his successor in upcoming elections, is widely seen as a hardliner and close ally of the long-time leader.
He oversaw a period of political crisis and widespread instability in the country as a deputy prime minister and interior minister from 2016 until February this year.
During that time, dozens of Congolese were killed by government forces in anti-Kabila marches.
As a result, Shadary was among a group of Congolese officials sanctioned by the European Union in 2017 for violations of human rights.
In his role as minister, the 57-year-old was responsible for the police and security services and coordinating the work of provincial governors.
“In this capacity, he is responsible for the recent arrests of activists and opposition members, as well as the disproportionate use of force,” the EU said in its executive decision in May last year, adding he was “therefore involved in planning, directing, or committing acts that constitute serious human rights violations in DRC”.
Born on November 29, 1960 in the eastern province of Maniema, Shadary was educated in Lubumbashi and in Kinshasa.
He was a co-founding member of President Kabila’s People’s Party for Reconstruction (PPRD), and was campaign chairman during 2006 and 2011 elections.
Described in his official biography as “the man you need for difficult times”, the father of eight was named secretary-general of the party by Kabila in 2015.
“Shadary has no special qualities other than absolute loyalty to the current head of state,” an analyst at a political NGO, based in Kinshasa, told AFP on condition of anonymity.