Kenya and DRC Diplomatic Ties Gets Sour

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DRC
DRC

Kenya said Sunday it has launched an investigation into the activities of a new alliance from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that has sparked a diplomatic spat between the two countries.

On Friday, Congolese nationals including the M23 rebels, who have seized territory in eastern Congo, and Corneille Nangaa, a former Congolese election commission chairman, launched the Congo River Alliance in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Nangaa told journalists during the launch of the alliance that it also targets the military, civil society organizations, and the diaspora community, and is motivated by the desire to save the DRC from danger and restore the dignity of the people of Congo.

The former electoral chief, who was accompanied by M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa, noted that the formation of the alliance was informed by the “hijacking of the electoral process at all levels by President Felix Tshisekedi’s administration and his decision to carry out an electoral coup d’etat.”

The formation of this military alliance prompted the DRC government to recall its ambassadors from Tanzania which hosts the headquarters of the East African Community (EAC) and Kenya for consultations Saturday.

Musalia Mudavadi, the prime cabinet secretary who is also the cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Foreign and diaspora affairs, disassociated Kenya from such an alliance.

“Kenya strongly disassociates itself from any utterances or activities likely to injure the peace and security of the friendly nation of DRC and has commenced an investigation to determine the identities of the makers of the statement and the extent to which their utterances fall outside constitutionally protected speech,” Mudavadi said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He said Kenya, whose former president Uhuru Kenyatta is the EAC bloc’s facilitator and African Union envoy to the conflict in the eastern DRC, is an open and democratic state where freedom of the press is allowed.

“As such, nationals and non-nationals may engage the Kenyan media without reference to the government,” Mudavadi said.

Kenya further affirmed its noninvolvement in the internal affairs of DRC and commits to continue supporting the peace, security, and democratic consolidation of the country, he added.

The M23 has staged a major offensive this year, seizing territory and sparking a diplomatic row between the DRC and Rwanda.

The diplomat spat comes as the DRC is due to hold its general elections on Dec. 20 in which more than 1.5 million people will not be able to vote in areas of active conflict.

The elections are held to elect the president, members of national and provincial parliaments, and local offices.

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