President of DRC Absent from East African Community Summit in Arusha

Soukaina Sghir
Soukaina Sghir
2 Min Read

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) did not participate in the 23rd summit of the East African Community (EAC), which opened on November 24 in Arusha, Tanzania.

The agenda included discussions on the admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia to this sub-regional organization and the revitalization of the peace process in the East of the DRC. Félix Tshisekedi was expected, especially as the departure of the EAC Force from this part of the Congo was to be discussed.

At the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC in Arusha, Félix Tshisekedi is represented by his Vice Prime Minister in charge of Defense, Jean-Pierre Bemba, and his Minister of State in charge of Regional Integration, Antipas Mbusa Nyamwisi.

According to a government source, he prioritized the ongoing electoral campaign, as the presidential election is scheduled for December 20 in the DRC. The campaign, which began on November 19, requires the head of state to travel to up to 26 provinces. Yesterday, he was in Kindu, in the Maniema province. Tomorrow, he is expected to go to Mbandaka, in the Equateur province.

However, the objective of this trip has not changed, according to a member of the Congolese delegation in Arusha. It is about defending the Congolese dossier and formalizing the non-renewal of the mandate of the EAC Regional Force.

Kinshasa considers this force ineffective and has formally requested its departure, no later than December 8, the end of its mandate. It is deployed in the East of the DRC, in the North and Northwest of Goma, in the North Kivu province, where the M23 rebels are present and have gained ground in recent weeks.

This request was made last month, and the procedure requires it to be endorsed at a summit of heads of state. This could prove more complicated than expected, as some members, notably Kenya, which is at the head of this EAC force, see this withdrawal as a failure.

Soukaina Sghir

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