Uhuru Closer To Ending DRC Conflict As Tasked By Ruto

The discussions between Uhuru and Kagame were viewed to be a key highlight in ending the conflict.

Uhuru Closer To Ending DRC Conflict As Tasked By Ruto
Former President Uhuru Kenyatta after arriving in Goma, Tuesday, November 15, 2022. /YAHOO NEWS

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is Kenya's peace envoy to the Great Lakes region and the Horn of Africa, made significant progress towards peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

A statement from the East African Community (EAC) on Friday, November 18 indicated that the former Kenyan Head of State called Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame who committed to assisting him to negotiate with M23 leaders for an urgent ceasefire and withdrawal from captured territories.

Kagame and Uhuru also both agreed on the need to implement and adopt the recommendations of the EAC Chiefs of Defence (CDFs).

Particularly highlighted is the need for the regional force to immediately take over and secure recently captured areas by the M23 in the north Kivu region and ensure peace, stability and safety for civilians are restored in the area.

Former Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta arrives in Kinshasa. /DRC PRESIDENCY

"President Kagame also agreed to assist the EAC facilitator to urge the M23 to ceasefire and withdrawal from captured territories in line with the proposals given by the regional CDFs in their meeting in Bujumbura," a statement from the EAC read in part.

The discussions between Uhuru and Kagame were viewed to be a key highlight in ending the conflict.

The former president further briefed Kagame on his last visit to Goma and Kinshasa, where he interacted with Internally displaced persons (IDP) and opinion shapers. 

Uhuru then reached out to United Nations (UN) secretary general, Antonio Guterres where he appealed to the UN to enhance humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons in Ituri, South Kivu and North Kivu provinces of the eastern DRC.

He also initiated talks with President Ndayishimiye of Burundi and the EAC chairperson, President Tshisekedi, to provide an update on his conversations with President Kagame and Guterres, to which both were agreeable on the need for hostilities to end and the enhancement of humanitarian efforts in the regions 

"President Ndayishimiye and President Tshisekedi also stated to the EAC facilitator the need to request the united nations to assist in the vetting and repatriation of DRC refugees in Rwanda and Uganda, to which the EAC facilitator, H.E (Rtd) President Kenyatta said he will communicate to the secretary general of the United Nations," the statement added.

The two heads of state also agreed to participate in the Luanda-II in the coming week that shall be held in Luanda, Angola to discuss amongst other issues;

  1. Modalities of the security operations as proposed by the EAC-CDFs.
  2. The humanitarian situation in eastern DRC.
  3. To work towards a permanent cessation of hostilities and the establishment of a road map for a political solution to the problems of eastern DRC, in accordance with the principles set out in the Nairobi process

A few days ago, Kenya's 4th president complained of the humanitarian crisis in Goma hampering his duties in the peacekeeping role, indicating that it was impossible for him to realise the potential of his role when the fighting and displacements were ongoing.

"On his way to the camp of internally-displaced people near Goma, the former President was confronted with tens of thousands of internally displaced persons on the roadsides. The EAC Facilitator noted the misery the cycle of conflict had inflicted on innocent people.

"He held a roundtable with reps of EAC Regional Force and other stakeholders and observed the adverse effect of the violence of M23 rebels and other armed groups amounted to grave human rights violations and displacements of millions in Eastern DRC," the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under CS Alfred Mutua, announced.

The peace envoy further noted that the situation required urgent intervention by the international community, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

If successful, it will be the second assignment he has successfully completed after he delivered in his first international assignment as envoy in Pretoria, South Africa where he, alongside other delegates, secured a truce between Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the leadership of Tigray, ending a civil war in the neighbouring country that lasted two years.

Uhuru was appointed by President William Ruto as the peace envoy to Ethiopia and the Great Lakes Region and was tasked with resolving conflicts in DRC and Ethiopia. 

Former President Uhuru Kenyatta hands over the instruments of power to Kenya's fifth President William Ruto at Kasarani Stadium. /TWITTER