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Tension as DR Congo Recalls Ambassadors, Summons Kenya’s Envoy after Opposition Leader Launches Alliance with Rebels to ‘Save Country from Tshisekedi’

Kenya Responds to Diplomatic Uproar Happening Days to DR Congo Election

Corneille Nangaa and Felix Tshisekedi. Courtesy Photos
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Kenya’s government has responded to concerns by DR Congo government over an opposition leader who launched the Congo River Alliance, a political-military coalition in Kenya, giving way to a diplomatic row ahead of Kinshasa’s December 20 general elections.

On December 15, former DR Congo Electoral Commission Ceni president Corneille Nangaa, the man who presided over the 2018 poll won by Felix Tshisekedi, declared the formation of the  Congo River Alliance, a political-military coalition that comprises political figures and rebel groups, mainly the M23 Movement.

As he made the announcement at a hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, Nangaa, an exiled DR Congo opposition figure, was flanked by M23 President Bertrand Bisimwa. Nangaa boasted that his Congo River Alliance had the backing of at least nine rebel groups.

Nangaa said Tshisekedi had failed to restore peace, security and stability in DR Congo

KINSHASA’S REACTION

DR Congo immediately summoned its ambassadors to Kenya and Tanzania, where the East Africa Community (EAC) sits, for what the interior ministry called ‘consultations’ on the thorny issue.

It has also emerged that DR Congo’s interior minister Peter Kazadi also summoned the Kenyan envoy to Kinshasa for a meeting in which he expressed the “indignation of the Congolese Government that a new rebel movement with the objective of destabilizing the DRC was created and announced from Kenyan soil.”

Minister Kazadi added: “Kenya’s attitude violates the charter which governs the East African Community and which prohibits member states to maintain or shelter in their respective territories armed groups which destabilize the member states of the community.”

KENYA’S RESPONSE

Kenya’s chief cabinet secretary and foreign affairs minister Musalia Mudavadi issued a statement in which he sought to project Nairobi as a beacon of democracy but also to reassure DR Congo that Kenya would maintain a non-interventionist policy in the affairs of regional partners.

“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,” said Mudavadi.

“Kenya strongly dissociates itself from any utterances or activities likely to injure the peace and security of the friendly nation of DRC and has commenced investigation to determine the identities of the makers of the statement and the extent to which their utterances fall outside constitutionally protected speech.

“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.”

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