Kenya’s former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka is attempting to mediate between two wrangling sides in the ruling coalition in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kalonzo, also a former Foreign Minister in Kenya, arrived in the DRC on Tuesday evening and went into separate meetings with former President Joseph Kabila, and later with his successor Felix Tshisekedi.
Sources in the Kinshasa State House told The EastAfrican that Kalonzo had arrived in the DRC as a “special envoy of Kenya” to try and help steady the ruling coalition.
He met with Kabila at his Kingakati farm on the outskirts of Kinshasa and later President Tshisekedi at the State House in Kinshasa. He was accompanied by Dr George Masafu, Kenya’s Ambassador to the DRC.
His Twitter feed later confirmed the meetings, but only said he had held “discussions” with the two leaders, without going into details about what was discussed.
President Tshisekedi has been at odds with his predecessor Kabila, despite their parties belonging to the same coalition. They formed the coalition after Kabila’s Party Common Front for Congo (FCC) and Tshisekedi’s Cap for Change (CACH) agreed to share power last year.
While the arrangement helped Tshisekedi establish his first government, the two sides have differed in public over key issues. The FCC accuses CACH of violating the constitution while CACH claims FCC is sabotaging the government.
Talks to end the wrangles have often failed.
Last month, President Tshisekedi launched a consultative programme to help iron out their differences. The final session was due on Wednesday this week, but the FCC has refused to take part in the sessions ever since they were launched.
Kabila’s FCC had let it be known that it “remains open to dialogue with President Félix Tshisekedi, but only within the framework of the coalition.”
The FCC notified Tshisekedi that it would not respond to the president’s invitation for consultations, arguing that the ultimate proposals were meant to weaken the party in the coalition.
Kalonzo is not the only emissary to attempt mediation.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently sent special envoys who met both leaders separately.
It came after an exasperated Kabila last month wrote to some African Presidents, including Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, to complain about “the violation of the constitution and the governance agreement” by Félix Tshisekedi.
In his letter, Kabila stated that Tshisekedi’s repeated violation of the provisions could have “incalculable consequences and could take the country back 50 years.”