BY: MWANGI in Kinshasa
East African Community member states’ leaders are set to meet on Saturday in Bujumbura, Burundi, for a special summit over the rising tensions in the DRC.
The regional leaders are expected to review the progress made towards achieving peace through the EAC-led peace initiative, which seems to be in tatters.
The summit will be chaired by EAC Chairman Evariste Ndayishimiye, who is also the Burundi President.
A diplomatic source revealed that the meeting will be attended by all regional heads apart from South Sudan’s Salva Kiir who is engaged with Pope Francis visit in Juba. He arrived on Friday from a similar visit in the DRC.
This meeting comes days after Kinshasa deported three Rwandan soldiers attached to the EAC regional force command in Goma, making a bad situation worse.
EAC Secretariat has shared its concerns.
In a letter sent to the Congolese Foreign Minister, EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki, sought clarification on Congo’s deportation decision, which seemingly breaches the Heads of State resolutions specified in the Status of the Force Agreement, which DRC signed.
‘’The EAC has learned with concern that on 30th January, 2023 of the deportation of 3 officers deployed by Rwanda at the EAC Regional force Headquarters in Goma…’’
‘’…you may recall that the deployment of the officers at the East African Community Regional Force Headquarters in Goma to support the regional command Centre, was a decision of the Heads of state at their meeting on the peace process in eastern DRC…,’’ Mathuki said.
The Secretary General notes that the force personnel were supposed to enjoy the privileges and immunities specified in the agreement and the bloc’s protocol on Cooperation in Defence.
Rwanda did not deploy ground boots in the DRC.
Tomorrow’s High-Level meeting will be a prelude to a mid-February mini-summit that will bring together leaders from the Great Lakes Region in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
A diplomatic invitation sent by the Angolan embassy in Ethiopia to missions of the DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda confirms the nature and agenda of the meeting which will be held on the sidelines of the AU summit.
It will focus on peace and security in eastern Congo and also assess the progress of the Luanda and Nairobi processes, including the implementation of the joint plan for the pacification of the eastern region of the DRC, adopted in Luanda, Angola last year.