In response to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) decision to recall its ambassador on Sunday, Kenyan President William Ruto addressed the matter during a televised interview with various Kenyan media outlets. The escalating tension between Kenya and the DRC follows the announcement by Corneille Nangaa, the former president of the National Independent Electoral Commission (Céni), regarding the formation of the Alliance Fleuve Congo. This political-military group, which includes several armed factions like the M23, has positioned itself as anti-Tshisekedi.
President Ruto clarified Kenya’s stance, stating, “The DRC wanted to know if we could stop these individuals. I responded: Kenya is a democracy; we cannot arrest every person making a statement.” He emphasized that the country only apprehends individuals involved in criminal activities. Regarding public statements, he noted, “Making declarations is part of democracy. How many people make statements against me in Kenya? It happens every day!”
Addressing the recall of the Kenyan ambassador by the DRC, President Ruto acknowledged it as their right. However, he affirmed his commitment to democratic principles, stating, “I cannot arrest a person simply because they made a statement. That is undemocratic.”
On Sunday, the Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement. The communication highlighted Kenya’s dissociation “from any activities that could undermine peace in the DRC” and announced the commencement of an investigation into the organizers and content of the press conference.
President Ruto’s remarks underscore Kenya’s adherence to democratic values while navigating the diplomatic challenges arising from recent geopolitical developments. The Kenyan government’s commitment to investigating the circumstances surrounding the press conference demonstrates a proactive approach to maintaining diplomatic relations and regional stability.