He was speaking at a joint press conference in Gaborone with Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi on May 9th, 2023 where he addressed the mandate of the EACRF.
Tshisekedi warned that if the EACRF’s mission results are unsatisfactory by their June mandate deadline, the force would have to leave the DRC permanently.
The Congolese President cited "operational problems" with the regional force, referring to statements made by EACRF military officials who claimed they were not sent to fight the M23.
While the East African Community is satisfied with the work done by their forces, the DRC has criticized them for not executing their mandate, which they consider offensively based.
Tanzanian President Samia Suhulu Hassan recently reminded the public of the non-offensive nature of the troops, while Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni reiterated that the mission of his country’s contingent was to enforce agreed-upon regional agreements, not to do the DRC’s job.
Kenya’s Foreign Minister, during a visit to Kinshasa, reminded everyone of the mandate’s nature as a "buffer force," led by Major General Alphaxard Kiugu.
As the M23 rebels gradually withdraw from strategic locations, the regional force’s military continues to play a crucial role in maintaining peace and security in the region.
However, tensions remain high between the DRC and the EAC, and a gradual and voluntary withdrawal of the M23, where the soldiers of the regional force continue to play a crucial arbitration role, appears to be a sustainable but unachievable option.
The regional force military serves as a reliable and trustworthy force in an area where abuses are also committed by the Congolese government’s security forces.