A few weeks after the integration of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into the East African Community (EAC), the heads of states have called for cessation of hostilities in that country.
Militant groups in the DRC have been asked to participate unconditionally in the political process to resolve their grievances.
The proposed mechanism is aimed at facilitating the implementation of the country’s political and military and security enforcement tracks.
The proposal was delivered Thursday by five Heads of State namely; Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Everiste Ndayishimiye of Burundi and their DRC counterpart Felix Tshisekedi at ‘The Heads of State Conclave on the Democratic Republic of Congo’ convened in Nairobi, Kenya.
In a statement, the leaders were categorical that all foreign armed groups in the DRC must disarm and return unconditionally and immediately to their respective countries of origin.
The leaders further resolved to meet within one month to evaluate progress on the implementation of work.
Additionally, the leaders resolved to mobilize other East African Community leaders to join the conclave with a view to engage them in future sittings. they are also intent on welcoming the participation, in observer status, of a representative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), Secretary-General of the ICGLR, the Secretary-General of the East African Community, as and when called upon to participate by the DRC.
The meeting further resolved to bring on board bilateral interlocutors such as the United States and France in observer status, and that a Secretariat be formed to oversee the implementation of the agreements arrived at the meeting.
in their communique, the leaders indicated that the Secretariat set up to look into the matter will be spearheaded by the Special Envoy in the Office of the President of the DRC, and the Special Envoy in the Office of the President of Kenya (the Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya is designated to play this role ad interim) with the participation of representatives from the Executive Offices of the other Heads of State of the East African Community.
At the same time, the leaders committed to progress the work of the meeting along two tracks;
On the Political Track, the meeting agreed that a political process should be commenced under the leadership of President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya to facilitate consultations to be undertaken between the DRC and local armed groups in the DRC.
As agreed in the meeting, President Uhuru Kenyatta will host and provide logistical support for the consultations in Nairobi that will be chaired by the President of DRC.
In the second track which is the Military/Security Enforcement Track, the meeting directed that planning the establishment of a regional force to help contain and, where necessary, fight the negative forces commence with immediate effect with the full consultation of relevant authorities in the region.