Fate of DRC stability in hands of Kenya’s outgoing President

EAC says its new partner state will be a liability if left as it is

MONDAY July 25, 2022

New look of the map of the East African Community after the admission of its 7th member, Democratic Republic of the Congo. PHOTO | FILE

By Patty Magubira

The Tranquility News Reporter, Tanzania

The East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit has appointed the outgoing Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta facilitator of the Inter-Congolese Dialogue.

The Congolese-led dialogue aims at stabilising the youngest EAC partner state to safeguard security of all the bordering states and to ensure the process of integrating DRC into the bloc succeeds.

During the 22nd Ordinary Summit held in Arusha, Tanzania, on Friday July 22, 2022, four heads of state from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and representatives of heads of state of DRC, Rwanda and South Sudan decided to mainstream the dialogue initiated in Nairobi, Kenya.

The heads of state invoked provisions of Article 4 of the EAC Protocol on Peace and Security. Article 4(1) of the protocol empowers partner states to develop an EAC conflict prevention, management and resolution mechanism.

Article 4(2) says the EAC partner states shall manage and seek to resolve any dispute or conflict within and between two or more partner states or with foreign countries by peaceful means.

Burundi President Everiste Ndayishimiye takes over the chairmanship of the East African Community from his Kenya’s counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta during the 22nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State held in Arusha, Tanzania, on Friday July 22, 2022. PHOTO | EAC

Article 4(3) says the community may, in consultations with the UN Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, offer to mediate in disputes or conflicts within and between two or more partner states or with foreign countries.

The appointment of President Kenyatta is based on the modality for the establishment and function of the EAC Panel of Eminent Persons and for the Deployment of Special Envoys.

The Summit directed that a special fund be established to support implementation of the dialogue and directed that a joint regional force be deployed to the eastern DRC.

DRC is at loggerheads with Rwanda it accuses of backing M23, a Congolese Tutsi group with over 120 armed groups roaming eastern of the country.

But Rwandan has denied involvement. Government spokeswoman Yolande Makolo was quoted as saying the country had no intention of being drawn into an internal matter of the DRC.

Outgoing Kenya President and Chairman of the East African Community Uhuru Kenyatta (Left) and Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan unveil a plaque to officially launch the EAC Arusha Bypass in Tanzania on Friday July 22, 2022. PHOTO | EAC

M23 resumed fighting shortly before and after the DRC was admitted to the EAC, accusing the Congolese government of failing to respect a 2009 agreement to incorporate its fighters into the army.

A high-level meeting involving three heads of state in the region admitted early in April this year that if Democratic Republic of the Congo is left as it is, it will impede the integration gains the region aspires for.

Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Kenyatta met immediately after the DRC had signed an accession treaty in Nairobi, Kenya, in April this year.

They initiated a two-track methodology for the Inter-Congolese Dialogue, targeting both armed groups within the eastern DRC and foreign armed groups also operating in the country to bring about a peaceful and voluntary disarmament.

The first round of dialogue was concluded in the last week of April in Nairobi hosted by Kenya government. Over 140 armed groups from North and South Kivu were facilitated to participate in the dialogue. A second conclave was slated for South Sudan and Tanzania in June.

Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta (Fifth Left), Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (Third Left) and Tanzania’s late John Magufuli (Fourth Left), jointly launch the construction of Sakina-Tengeru Road in Arusha, Tanzania, part of the multinational Arusha-Holili Road in Tanzania and Taveta-Voi Road in Kenya, in March 2016. The presidents believed with a population of 160 million then, the East African Community Common Market Protocol would benefit the citizens when they rise above colonial administrative boundaries to trade together. PHOTOS | AGENCIES

A 24-month plan to disarm, demobilise and reintegrate armed groups within DRC; to resettle refugees and to disarm and repatriate foreign armed groups has been developed.

The process would also see the Congolese law enforcement organs supported to restore authority of state in areas that have been predominantly provided security by the armed groupsΩ

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