Kenya: Strained Diplomatic Relations Emerge as Kenya Further Disconnects from DR Congo Militants’ Coalition

Kenya has distanced itself  has distanced itself from Congolese opposition figure Corneille Nanga, who formed an alliance with militants in Nairobi, leading to a diplomatic dispute with Kinshasa.

On December 17, the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a strong disassociation from the political-military alliance and pledged to investigate the matter after the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) recalled its ambassador in protest.

The Congo River Alliance, launched on December 15, 2023 in Nairobi, include DR Congo politicians and entities like M23 militants, known for taking control of territories in eastern DRC, and Nangaa, a former chief of the DRC election commission, according to reports.

The new alliance, which Nangaa said aims to string together various Congolese armed groups, militias, and social and political organisations, is an additional concern in a region where insecurity has persisted for decades, fuelled by ethnic rivalries and a tussle over resources.

On December 15 President William Ruto said he rejected a demand to arrest politicians from the Democratic Republic of Congo who launched an alliance with M23, calling it “undemocratic”, BBC News.

“Kenya is a democracy. We cannot arrest anybody who has issued a statement. We do not arrest people for making statements; we arrest criminals,” Ruto stated.

The action sparked a strong reaction from the Congolese government, which cautioned Kenya about potential “consequences” for hosting M23 leader Bertrand Bisimwa.

In response to the Congolese government summoning the Kenyan ambassador in Kinshasa and recalling its ambassador to Nairobi for “consultation,” Ruto affirmed DR Congo’s right to do so. He emphasised, “I cannot arrest anybody merely because they issued a statement. That is undemocratic, and that is not how Kenya is.”

Kenya’s foreign ministry had earlier expressed strong disassociation from DR Congo’s internal affairs and announced an investigation into the matter.

Meanwhile, DR Congo is preparing for elections on December 20, 2023 amid escalating insecurity in the eastern region, home to over 100 armed groups, including M23.

According to the Human Rights Watch, more than 1.5 million Congolese will be unable to vote in zones affected by the conflict and millions more internally displaced people will face the same challenge.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More