Uhuru rejects newly formed Congolese alliance, restates support for ceasefire 

Uhuru Kenyatta

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta (left) and Serge Tshibangu Nzenza, special envoy and advisor to the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo displaying an agreement during the East African Community-led Nairobi Process at Safaripark hotel in Nairobi on December 6, 2022.

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Congolese opposition figure Corneille Nangaa last week announced the creation of a political-military alliance with M23.
  • Kenya has distanced itself from the alliance and has promised to investigate the matter after DRC recalled its ambassador in protest.

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta has denounced the Congo River Alliance Declaration that is being pushed by Congolese opposition figure Corneille Nangaa.

Mr Kenyatta, the facilitator of the East African Community (EAC) led Nairobi Peace process, has said he supports the US-brokered ceasefire, stating that he continues to seek its indefinite extension to facilitate the peace-building process, put an end to the senseless killing and suffering of the people of the eastern DRC.

Last week, Mr Nangaa announced the creation of a political-military alliance with M23 rebels and other armed groups to "save the country."

“The Facilitator repudiates these developments and in particular their military character, and the accompanying politically charged and provocative rhetoric,” Mr Kenyatta said.

The retired president said he watched with “shock and dismay at the developments” as individuals claiming to be pursuing the interest of greater peace and stability in the DRC initiated yet another political and military alliance to challenge the legitimate political status quo in the troubled country. 

Kenya has also distanced itself from the alliance and has promised to investigate the matter after DRC recalled its ambassador in protest.

Prime Cabinet Secretary, who is also the Foreign Affairs CS Musalia Mudavadi on Sunday said the government had nothing to do with the statements issued by Mr Nangaa.

“The Ministry wishes to note that Kenya is an open and democratic state where freedom of the press is vouchsafed. As such, nationals and non-nationals may engage the Kenyan media without reference to the government,” Mr Mudavadi said in a statement.

The Prime CS said the government was investigating the whole matter with the aim of determining the identities of the makers of the statement.

“Kenya further affirms its non-involvement in the internal affairs of DRC and commits to continue supporting the peace, security, and democratic consolidation of the country,” said Mr Mudavadi.

Soon after the formation of the alliance, DRC recalled its ambassador to Kenya, Mr John Kalunga.

Also recalled is the envoy to Tanzania as Dar es Salaam hosts the headquarters of the East African Community, which Congo is also a member.

On Monday, Mr Kenyatta said he hopes that the US backed ceasefire will also set stage for a resumption of the Nairobi peace process, so that the troubled region could have a lasting peace.

Mr Nangaa, who was president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), DRC’s electoral commission, in the 2018 polls but now lives in exile, called for "the union of all political, social and military forces" to "rebuild the state" and "restore peace" in the impoverished, conflict-torn nation.

The former head of the country’s electoral commission made the announcement in Nairobi ahead of the December 20 elections, a move that is likely to cause more tension for the country that has for years been hit by insecurity, fueled by ethnic rivalries. 

Mr Nangaa said he was coalescing with other political movements, civil society and armed groups like M23.

The DRC heads to the polls tomorrow (Wednesday) and the US has brokered a 14-day ceasefire in the eastern parts to help civilians participate in the polls.