President William Ruto and former President Uhuru Kenyatta shared a podium during the East African Community (EAC) – led Nairobi Process – 3rd Inter-Congolese dialogue in Nairobi.
President Ruto during his inauguration in September this year appointed his predecessor, Uhuru Kenyatta as his peace envoy for the Great Lakes Region and the Horn of Africa.
At the talks, dubbed Nairobi III, Ruto recounted how Uhuru ended up leading the peace process.
“You may wish to know that my predecessor and myself were on different sides of the political contest two months ago, and the competition was stiff. But after the election, I met his excellency the President, looked him in the eye and told him ‘Mr President, you have started a very important process in EAC, I would like you to continue that process’, and he told me he was ready to do it,” said Ruto.
Ruto was quick to acknowledge Uhuru Kenyatta’s role in facilitating the peace process in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Despite all that had gone on, because of the interest of our nation, region and continent, and because peace is important to Kenya, DRC and to our region, President Kenyatta has done a wonderful job as he facilitates this process. Because collectively as a country we value peace,” said Ruto.
Uhuru and Ruto are among other leaders attending the Nairobi Peace Process at Safari Park Hotel. EAC Summit Chair and Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye, and former President Uhuru Kenyatta are the officiators of the event.
Ruto has in the past noted that Kenya will continue being a dedicated partner to peace, security and prosperity in the East African region, while still playing a critical role in international diplomacy at the bilateral and multilateral levels.
“Kenya is firmly persuaded that our well-being and destinies as peoples and nations of this region are intimately and intensely inter-connected. Our security, stability and progress, therefore, are dependent on that of our region and indeed on the rest of the African continent.
“Consequently, the pursuit of peace and stability is not only desirable and beneficial, but it is also the inevitable pre-condition for socio-economic transformation and shared prosperity,” said Ruto.
Under the administration of the former President, Kenya moderated various peace initiatives in the region including chairing the African Union Peace and Security Council- the standing decision-making organ of the continental body for the prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa.
Kenya has been representing Africa at the United Nations Security Council since January 2021 for one year and will be succeeded by Mozambique for the year 2023.
Having been able to speak on behalf of Africa to come up with reform policies that favour the African continent, Kenya assumed presidency of the global security organ in October 2021.
President William Ruto officially opened the event which is being attended by the African Union and United Nations observers, as well as other invited diplomats in the country.
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s head of state is expected to address the participants virtually.
According to the government’s press statement released on Sunday evening, the consultations are a follow-up to the other talks held before.
“These consultations are a follow-up to the inaugural inter-Congolese peace consultation (Nairobi I) that was held in April 2022, the second inter-Congolese peace consultations a scoping and mapping mission in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu (Nairobi II) which took place in May 2022,”
A day after the arrival of Kenyan troops in Goma, North Kivu, former President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Kinshasa for a two-day visit.
He was accompanied by East African Community Secretary General Peter Mathuki.
And held talks with President Felix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa.
Last Monday, November 21, President Ruto flew to Kinshasa for talks with Tshisekedi before proceeding to South Korea.
Kenya has deployed troops to the eastern part of DRC as part of a larger East African Community stabilisation force in a geopolitical matrix complicated by Kishasa's mistrust of Rwanda and Uganda which it accuses of supporting rebels.
A fortnight ago a DRC jetfighter landed at a Rwandese airport and took off.
President Ruto challenged the EAC region to focus on peace and stability so as not to be left behind by other nations globally.
“It will be the biggest shame for us if while our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the globe are holding huge conferences in big tents to discuss investment and trade, our people are in tents as refugees and displaced persons. It will be an indictment on us the leaders of this continent and that is why this is an assignment we must not fail to discharge and resolve,” said Ruto.