Kenyatta meets UN envoy, urges confidence in DRC peace process

Friday April 14 2023
Uhuru Kenyatta meets UN envoy Huang Xia

Former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta (right) the facilitator of the EAC-led Nairobi Peace Process, meets with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Huang Xia (centre) on April 13, 2023. PHOTO | COURTESY | OFPP


United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region Mr Huang Xia on Thursday met with the facilitator of the East African Community on the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, former Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, for talks ahead of a session at the UN Security Council next week.

Mr Kenyatta leads the Nairobi Peace Process, which seeks to bring together the government of DRC and armed groups fighting over various grievances in the eastern parts of the country. 

A dispatch from Kenyatta’s office said the UN envoy noted that though significant progress has been registered in eastern DRC, there is need to work on long-term peace for the region which the UN will support.

The East African Community has been playing two tracks — dialogue and military means — to convince parties to negotiate. It deployed the East African Community Regional Force early this month to boost security in eastern DRC.

It also plans more rounds of dialogue led by Mr Kenyatta in eastern DRC in the coming weeks.

Work on trust deficits


Mr Kenyatta said parties need to work on trust deficits, citing this as one of the reasons some armed groups are reluctant to lay down arms.

“The issue of trust remains fundamental to resolving the challenge of insecurity in the eastern DRC. Therefore, it was clear that the Nairobi Process would have to intensify its confidence-building actions,” the facilitator said in the statement.

Mr Kenyatta said the Nairobi Process that is set to kick off in a few weeks will focus on the plight of the refugees, the internally displaced persons and building the trust lost between various parties.

“The East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) must continue to enjoy the confidence of all parties if it is to be successful in its mandate,” he cautioned.

On Wednesday, EACRF troops thwarted a planned attack by gang members of a local armed group in Kibumba area where Kenya Defence Forces and South Sudan People’s Defence Forces troops are deployed.

The gang is reported to have fired several rounds in the area, prompting a Quick Reaction Force to respond, successfully repulsing them and containing the situation.

“The troops have since enhanced patrols within the areas to deter any further threats especially to the local population who have since been sensitised to continue with their normal activities,” read a statement from EACRF.