President Ruto highlighted the remarkable achievements made by the EACRF in the troubled eastern region of the DRC within a short span of time. Kenya, along with Burundi, Uganda, and South Sudan, plays a leading role within the EACRF.
In an interview with France 24, Ruto responded to the backlash from DRC leaders who have criticized the EACRF’s intervention, particularly accusing them of failing to combat the M23 rebel group.
During his visit to Botswana in May this year, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi expressed concerns that there seems to be harmony between M23 and the EACRF forces, except for the Burundian forces.
He questioned the relevance of the current mandate and suggested a thorough evaluation to be conducted at the end of the EACRF’s mandate in June. Consequently, Tshisekedi sought support from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to assist in the fight against M23.
However, during the recent EAC summit held in Bujumbura, the mandate of the EACRF was extended for an additional six months.
President Ruto has reiterated the commitment of the EAC to stand by the Congolese people, despite the criticism from their leaders. He emphasized that the challenges in DRC are specific to the region and that the EAC took the initiative to deploy its own resources and restore peace.
He acknowledged that the EACRF’s efforts may not be fully recognized, but he highlighted the notable accomplishments made in recent months, including the cessation of hostilities by the M23 and the inclusion of the rebellion in a disarmament process.
EAC countries recently visited the base where M23 fighters will be housed after surrendering their weapons.
Despite acknowledging the ongoing challenges,Ruto expressed the EAC’s unwavering determination to restore peace in eastern DRC and conveyed his satisfaction with the progress achieved so far.