The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has expressed its disappointment with the progress
of peacebuilding efforts by the East African Community (EAC) since joining the regional
The DRC’s Information and Communication Minister, Patrick Muyaya, voiced concerns that the
peace they had hoped for in the troubled eastern region of the country is taking too long to materialize. He pointed out that some Congolese citizens are questioning why they joined
Muyaya acknowledged that the initial goal of joining the EAC was to connect the DRC with the
region and promote peacebuilding. However, he noted that there has been limited progress in
achieving these objectives.
Despite this, he emphasized that the DRC remains committed to its membership in the EAC
because their primary aim is reconstruction and not further conflict.
The EAC had established the East African Community Regional Force (EACRF), a
peacekeeping force, to act as a buffer between the warring factions in the eastern region, including government forces and the M23 rebel group.
The hope was to reach a political settlement and end the violence. Unfortunately, ongoing
violence persists, even in the face of ceasefire agreements linked to the Nairobi and
Luanda peace processes.
The lack of progress and continued insecurity in the region has led to a loss of faith in the
EACRF among the Congolese government and its people. Many now desire the withdrawal
of the regional force from the country when its mandate ends on December 8.
Muyaya has expressed the government’s reluctance to further extend the EACRF’s stay. The
DRC’s decision was conveyed to the EAC through Deputy Defence Minister Jean-Pierre Bemba
during a Sectoral Council on Defence Cooperation meeting held in Arusha.
Muyaya challenged political leaders to stop imposing hardships on their citizens by closing
borders due to political differences, as this hampers intra-Africa trade. He emphasized the need for politicians to facilitate cooperation with neighboring countries rather than erecting
Muyaya highlighted the importance of economic cooperation in the subregion to enable the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The integration of the EAC has been hindered by non-tariff barriers imposed by member states, leading to border closures. For example, DRC and Rwanda closed their common border in a diplomatic crisis triggered by the M23 rebellion, with each side accusing the other of supporting armed groups.
Muyaya criticized the West for imposing their ideals on the African continent and stressed the importance of Africans taking ownership of their own narrative. He advocated for an Africanized democracy that respects the continent’s values and culture.
Regarding the perception that the business environment in the DRC is unfavorable for investment, Muyaya encouraged investors to look beyond historical challenges, emphasizing that Africa can find solutions to its problems. He welcomed the presence of a Kenyan media group in the DRC as a positive step in showcasing investment opportunities in the country.