Kenya ex-president Kenyatta expected in Goma to assess peace progress

Wednesday July 12 2023
Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenya's former president Uhuru Kenyatta (R) convenes a consultative meeting in Nairobi to deliberate on the ongoing Nairobi Peace Process aimed at establishing a lasting peace and stability in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


The facilitator of the peace process in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uhuru Kenyatta, is expected in Goma on Wednesday July 12, 2023.

He will be received by Congolese Minister for Regional Integration-Mbusa Nyamwisi and the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of defence-Jean-Pierre Bemba.

Together with members of the Congolese government, the former Kenyan president is expected to assess the peace process in the eastern part of the DRC, where the ceasefire between the FARDC (DRC army) and the M23 rebels is still fragile, and where armed groups have been imposing their law for years.

Read: M23’s ceasefire fails to hold in east DRC

Kenyatta's arrival comes at a time when the ceasefire is beginning to break down, with sporadic fighting between the M23 and the 'Wazalendo' armed groups who claim to be defending Congolese territory.

The agenda for the Goma meeting includes a discussion on the cantonment of the M23 in the Rumangabo camp in North Kivu, in the east of the country.


After nearly four months of deadlock, positions are once again becoming more radical between the rebels and the Congolese government, raising fears of a renewed military escalation in the Kivu.

The Congolese government is accusing the rebels of strengthening their position, while the M23 claims not to have made a commitment to disarm. 

"It shall be noted that our organisation did not make any commitment regarding the pre-cantonment, cantonment, disarmament programs", Benjamin Mbonimpa, M 23 secretary executive said on July 7 in a press release.

The rebel movement is still calling for "direct dialogue", which Kinshasa has refused for over a year now.

Less than a fortnight ago, Kenyatta brought together the stakeholders in the Congolese crisis to urge everyone to play their part in bringing back the much-needed peace in Congo.

Read: Kenyatta: DRC peace talks to resume

"We have done good job so far...but, I strongly believe that we will not be able to achieve that unless we work together, unless we have one singular common objective," Kenyatta said.

In front of representatives of the United Nations, the Congolese government, the African Union, the Great Lakes region and the East African community, Uhuru insisted: "We must find way of encouraging all the armed groups, all armed groups to lay down their weapons and join in the peace process".

On his arrival in Goma on Tuesday, Minister Nyamwisi declared that "the government is in action to negotiate the turnaround needed to restore the peace so longed for here... Kenyatta is arriving tomorrow, and politics and diplomacy are on board to discuss the turnaround needed to obtain cantonment in Rumangabo".