Nangaa arrest dispute: Kenya-DRC tension persists

By Esther Muhozi
On 27 December 2023 at 08:06

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has declared its dissatisfaction with President William Ruto of Kenya’s decision not to arrest Corneille Nangaa. Nangaa, who recently established a political party in Nairobi named the Alliance de Fleuve Congo (AFC), aims to oppose the regime of President Félix Tshisekedi.

Nangaa officially announced the formation of the AFC on December 15, 2023, with notable political figures in attendance, including Bertrand Bisimwa, the President of M23. The DRC government has expressed concerns that such an opposition movement was inaugurated in a friendly country, which had played a crucial role in facilitating peace talks for the Congolese in Nairobi.

In response, the DRC government requested an explanation from the Kenyan Ambassador and urged the Kenyan government to apprehend Nangaa, Bisimwa, and other politicians present at the ceremony. President Ruto, however, defended his government’s stance on December 17, 2023, stating that Kenya upholds freedom based on political choices and would not imprison individuals for expressing their opinions.

In a press conference on December 26, Nicolas Kazadi, Congolese Minister of Interior, voiced concerns about the group’s origin in Kenya, emphasizing the international obligations binding member states. Kazadi expressed worry that a friendly country, instrumental in conflict resolution in the east of the DRC, would allow the birth of an armed group threatening the peace and security of their nation.

Kazadi declared that the explanation provided by Kenya was insufficient, and the DRC government demanded more information. He emphasized the importance of understanding why such an event occurred on Kenyan soil.

Following Nangaa’s announcement, his brother, Christophe Baseane Nangaa, the Governor of Haut-Uele province, contacted Kinshasa to provide an explanation. However, Minister Kazadi clarified that he was not personally contacted for this matter. Nangaa did not specify when the military group affiliated with the AFC would commence operations or where it would operate.